Bristol Stories and Tips

Clifton

Clifton Photo, Bristol, England

Clifton Village is a suburb of the city of Bristol. We visited the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge which spans the Avon Gorge from Clifton on one side to Leigh Woods on the other side. We decided to have a stroll around this area, and were very pleased we had done so. It is a lovely place to wander and soak up the very genteel atmosphere.

Clifton was actually once an aloof spa resort. Now it is perhaps one of the most elegant quarters of Bristol.

We found free parking on the street, left our car there and just wandered. Everything centres on the Mall, close to Royal York Crescent. This is actually the longest Georgian crescent in the country. The buildings are all beautiful, a bit reminiscent of nearby Bath. Lots of stone terraces and wonderful Georgian design, it all felt very civilised and grand.

There are lots of quirky and unusual shops. Clifton is well known for its boutiques, antique shops and smart craft shops. There are lots of little lanes and squares to explore, each one with its own identity and wealth of unusual shops.

As well as all the Georgian buildings, there is a lot of green space and parkland in Clifton. We found a lovely playground for our son to run around and let off some steam, before we climbed to the top of the hill for wonderful views of the Clifton Suspension Bridge. If you follow the signs to the Camera Obscura, you get to the top of the hill.

It is also definitely worth paying a visit to the Camera Obscura and the Giant's Cave. We paid £8 for 2 adults and a child to go inside. There are 65 steps up to the Camera Obscura, once in the darkened room, you get a unique view of Clifton and the bridge. It is fun and unusual and we all enjoyed this.

We then walked back to the entrance and walked down 135 steps underground to the Giant's Cave. It is a real cave, but was once only accessible by scaling down the sheer cliff face. Nowadays you visit via a tunnel. The steps are extremely uneven, steep, very slippery and it is a narrow walk. At one point I wondered just what we were doing here. When you emerge at the cave, and then go outside to look at the bridge from yet another angle, it makes it worthwhile. Only tackle this though, if you are wearing sturdy shoes and I would not bring young children here.

We spent half a day in Clifton enjoying the sights. I would definitely recommend a visit here if you are staying in Bristol. It gives another side to this wonderful city.

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