Open Hours: Summer: 11:30a-5p M-F, 10:30a-5p Sa, 10:30a-5p Su, Winter: noon-4p
Very close to the Clifton Suspension Bridge , the Clifton Observatory houses a camera obscura, a rotating mirror in the roof ... More
Clifton Observatory and Caves
Very close to the Clifton Suspension Bridge , the Clifton Observatory houses a camera obscura, a rotating mirror in the roof that reflects panoramic views of the area down onto a dish-shaped screen. For a different view, visit the adjoining caves. You have to walk down a narrow passage with steep steps to get to the Giant's cave at the end, through which you arrive at the cliff-face. Here you can stand on a platform, suspended over the gorge.
I had no idea what the camera obscura was but I dutifully followed instructions to go see it and I'm so pleased I did! It's so unique and totally captivating. I tell everyone going to Bristol that they simply must go. So simple yet entirely fascinating. I didn't care much for the caves but that's because I didn't realize you'd pop out on the side of a cliff, which is a rather unpleasant surprise when you're afraid of heights!
The Clifton Observatory and Caves has always been one of my favourite places to take guests - never busy and always fascinating! The view over the Avon Gorge from St. Vincent's Cave is breathtaking, and you can even see the cars on the Portway directly beneath your feet (there are small square holes in the metal floor). The Camera Obscura itself works in an incredible way to allow you to see a moving tableau not only of the grassy area directly surrounding the observatory, but also of Clifton and the central area of Bristol beyond. Certainly different to a trip to the cinema but fascinating for all ages (and, dare I say it, far more educational!). Excellent value for money with very reasonable admission costs, will fill 40 mins or more if you are captivated by the Camera Obscura.
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