Clifton Area Guide
An Introduction to Clifton…
Where else, in an area of less than two square miles, could you find an awe-inspiring gorge, on the sides of which grow plants and trees, unknown elsewhere in the world, spanned by Brunel’s world-famous suspension bridge, under which flows a river with one of the highest rises and falls of tide in the world? Add to this rolling Downs, some superb examples of Georgian and Victorian architecture, an observatory and camera obscura, a grotto, a renowned public school and one of the world’s oldest and most attractive zoos and you begin to get some idea of the richness of Clifton.
Clifton – Interesting Facts
Facts about Bristol
- Bristol is the 7th largest city in England outside of London and the Economic capital of the South West.
- Bristol has a population of 421,300 people.
- More than a third of the UK owned FTSE 100 companies have a significant presence in the Bristol area.
- In 2006 Bristol was voted the happiest place to live in England by a government poll.
Historical Facts about Clifton
- Cabot Tower was built in 1897 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of John Cabots voyage to Newfoundland in 1497.
- Bristol City Museum was a gift to the City from Sir William Henry Wills in 1905.
- Bristol Zoo is the fifth oldest zoo in the world and the oldest outside of a capital city.
- The Downs, which is situated at the top of Whiteladies Road and is over 400 acres, has won the prestigious Green Flag Award; a recognition and reward for the best green spaces in the country, high environmental standards and a benchmark of excellence in recreational green areas.
- Sir Ranulph Fiennes the explorer practiced on the Avon Gorge before climbing Everest.
- The Bristol Old Vic is the oldest continually working theatre in the country and has been staging productions since 1766.
- Clifton was mentioned in the Domesday Book as covering 861 acres inhabited by tenant farmers.
- We have William Vick, a Bristol Wine Merchant to thank for the Clifton Suspension Bridge. In 1753 he left £1,000 in trust in order that when the fund had grown to £10,000 it should be used to build a bridge.
- Sarah Ann Henley threw herself off of the Clifton Suspension Bridge in 1885 following an argument with her boyfriend and survived!
Clifton Local Attractions
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.
Clifton Suspension Bridge Visitor Centre
The Clifton Suspension Bridge, spanning the beautiful Avon Gorge, is the symbol of the city of Bristol. For almost 150 years this Grade I listed structure has attracted visitors from all over the world. Its story began in 1754 with the dream of a Bristol wine merchant who left a legacy to build a bridge over the Gorge.
The Downs consists of Clifton Down and Durdham Down – two large, historic, adjacent grassed green spaces of about 400 acres. Although on the edge of the city, the Downs feels like open countryside, with their wide views of the Avon Gorge, Leigh Woods, north Somerset, the Severn estuary and across to south Wales. The Downs are one of Bristol’s most historic and popular open spaces, used for sport, big public events, wildlife spotting and healthy exercise by residents throughout Bristol.
Bristol Zoo Gardens is a 12 acre site in Clifton that is run by the The Bristol, Clifton and West of England Zoological Society Ltd
Bristol City Museum
Bristol’s major museum and art gallery houses an outstanding and diverse range of objects, from sea dinosaurs to magnificent art. A visit to the region’s largest museum and art gallery is guaranteed to inspire you!
Clifton – Places to Eat, Drink & Hotels
Cosmo – The Pavillion, Triangle West, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1ET (0117 934 0999)
Wagamamas – 63 Queens Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1QL (0117 9221188)
Browns Bar & Brasserie – 38 Queens Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1RE (0117 9304777)
Pizza Express – 31 Berkeley Square, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1HP (0117 926 0300)
Zizzi – 7-8 Triangle South, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1EY (0117 929 8700)
Be At One – 55 Queens Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1QQ (0117 929 4323)
The Park – 37 Triangle West, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1ER (0117 940 6101)
Illusions Magic Bar – South Triangle, 2 Byron Place, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1JT (0117 909 3405)
The Berkeley Square Classic Hotel – 15 Berkeley Square, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1HB (0117 925 4000)
Rodney Hotel – 4 Rodney Place, Clifton, Bristol BS8 4HY (0117 973 5422)
The Clifton – St Paul’s Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1LX (0117 973 6882)
Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel – College Green, Bristol BS1 5TA (0117 9255100)