Near the Clifton suspension bridge, the Clifton observatory was built in the 18th century as a snuff mill (I assume tobacco). An artist bought the mill, and built a camera obscura which overlooks the Avon Gorge, and now the bridge. It’s an OK building to look at, in quite nice grounds.

Moon photo – no, just a lack of understanding of physics, Clifton Observatory, Bristol

There are a couple of places to pay to enter at the observatory. The first is the camera obscura at Clifton observatory which was £2 to visit when I went, but the price has gone up to £2.50 now. It is apparently very good on a bright, sunny day, but when I visited, it was cloudy. I’ve included the photo for comic effect, as I forgot to turn off the flash! You can see the suspension bridge and the Avon gorge, although to be brutally honest, you can see both of these much more clearly from just outside the observatory, or even through its windows…

Cave, Clifton Observatory, Bristol

The other, which is Giant’s cave, otherwise known as St. Vincent’s cave, is accessed from the Clifton observatory, for the princely sum of one pound (now £2.50 as well; combined ticket is £4 rather than £5). I’m not sure why it’s called Giant’s cave, as the nearly 200 year old man-made tunnel to get there is very small, involving banging your head several times. It’s down a large number of steps, some of which are wet and hazardous (ie. I slipped!). The cave itself is pretty tiny, highlighting the misnomer. I think I’d almost have rather hurled a quid off the bridge into the water than have visited this place, and should I be given the choice in future, I’ll let you know how big the splash was.

Address: Litfield Road, Clifton Down, Clifton, Bristol BS83LT
Telephone: 01179741242

Clifton Observatory, Bristol