If you’re planning a visit to Bristol, the Clifton Suspension Bridge is probably already on your itinerary. Spanning the Avon Gorge and the River Avon, the Clifton Suspension Bridge has been open since 1864. Based on designs by Isambard Kingdom Brunel it is now a Grade I listed building and remains one of Bristol’s most popular attractions.
That said, plenty of people still fail to make the most of their visit, so we’ve broken things down for you to make sure you do make the most of it.
Start by heading to the Visitor Centre in Leigh Woods. Entry is free, and you’ll find exhibitions covering the history of the bridge and the people who worked on it. There are even special activities for the kids.
When you fancy taking a closer look, arrange a free tour. They kick off 3pm every Saturday, Sunday, and Bank Holiday between Easter and October, and there’s no need to book. As you walk across the bridge, wait for a gust of wind. Like all suspension bridges, this one is designed to be flexible, so you should be able to see it move up and down as cars enter and leave. Try closing your eyes or lining up a building in the distance to better experience the bridge swaying.
Once you’re finished, why not head below the bridge? A hard hat tour of the Leigh Woods Vaults shows the hidden chambers of the Leigh Woods Abutment that support the tower and hold up the bridge itself.
Next, stretch your legs on the Avon Trail. Popular with walkers, joggers, and cyclists, it rambles through Leigh Woods and lets you see the bridge from below. If you’d rather take in a bird’s-eye view, climb Observatory Hill for spectacular views.
Whatever you do, don’t leave before the bridge is lit up. Lights are turned on every night half an hour before dusk and stay on until midnight. You’ll enjoy a stunning view of the bridge, with Bristol itself glittering in the backcountry.
There is so much to do in Bristol that you just can’t do it all in one day. Check out Beech House serviced apartments for your unique Bristol stay.