The Top 10 Things To Do And See In Clifton, Bristol

Clifton Suspension Bridge| © Kristoffer Trolle/Flickr
Clifton Suspension Bridge| © Kristoffer Trolle/Flickr
Photo of Milan Cater
9 February 2017

Clifton village is one of the most beautiful suburbs of Bristol, lined with 18th and 19th-century terraces and home to majestic Georgian architecture and picturesque streets lined with independent shops, boutiques and cafés. Clifton is brimming with things to do and see. Whether you have an affinity for outdoor activities or a keen eye for fashion and trends, Clifton has more than enough to keep you occupied for more than just one visit.

Clifton Suspension Bridge

Map View
Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol
Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol | © Stu Smith / Flickr
The Clifton Suspension Bridge has been open to the public since December 8th, 1864, and has since become a distinctive symbol for the city of Bristol. Connecting Clifton to Leigh Woods, Somerset, the majestic bridge spans the River Avon and the Avon Gorge, providing majestic views of the city. Beautifully designed by William Henry Barlow and John Hawkshaw in Victorian fashion, this bridge is often featured in films and television programmes, and is often a venue for cultural events, from the first modern bungee jump in 1973 to a handover of the Olympic Torch relay in 2012.

Lido Spa

In need of some rest and relaxation? The Lido in Clifton is the perfect place to treat yourself to a spa day in one of the oldest Lido’s in the UK, dating back to 1849. The best spot for all year round swimming, the Clifton Lido is well equipped with ample facilities. A 24-meter outdoor heated swimming pool, a spa tea room, a sauna and a steam room with poolside restaurants, bars and even a terrace building to compliment it. Often used as a venue for parties and events, this is one of the top things to do as part of a relaxing vacation.

Opening hours: Mon-Sat 8am-11pm, Sun 9am-10pm

Oakfield Pl, Bristol, UK, +44 0117 933 9530

SS Great Britain

Take a journey through time and climb aboard Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s SS Great Britain, the first iron steamship to complete a transatlantic journey in 1845. The ship has been restored and conserved, now serving as a museum telling the tales and adventures of years past. Well advanced for her time, SS Great Britain was built for the Great Western Steamship Company’s passenger service form Bristol to New York, and was the longest passenger ship of her kind for a decade. Alongside the ship is the Brunel Institute and David MacGregor Library where you can sift through passengers’ original diaries and letters, scale models, and drawings made by Brunel himself. This is one of the top things to see in Clifton and it’s not to be missed.

Opening hours: daily 10am-4:30pm

Great Western Dockyard, Gas Ferry Rd, Bristol, UK, +44 0117 926 0680

Victoria Rooms

Building, University
Map View
The Victoria Rooms is an established Bristol landmark which first opened in 1842 and has served as one of the most important and lively cultural centres in West England. Apart from the 700-seater auditorium, inside you can find a recording studio, two bars and an elegant recital room. The ‘Vic’ Rooms has seen the likes of renowned soprano Jenny Lind and the talented Charles Dickens grace its stage with musical and literary performances and continues to be an excellent site for concerts and exhibitions. As part of the Department of Music at the University of Bristol, the Victoria Rooms is a top attraction in the Clifton borough.

Birdcage Walk

While Clifton is graced with many idyllic streets and parks perfect for a leisurely stroll, the Birdcage Walk is one of the top spots for a quiet moment off the beaten track in Clifton, Bristol. Birdcage Walk is the graveyard of the St Andrews church, which served the village of Clifton as far back as 1154 until it was destroyed, rebuilt, and destroyed again in the World War II blitz. A beautiful sunken graveyard with ornate tombstones and a beautiful shady tree-tunnel is an ideal backdrop for reflection and a peaceful stroll in Clifton.

Birdcage Walk, Clifton, Bristol, UK

Clifton Observatory

The Clifton Observatory started out as a corn mill in 1766, was transformed into a tobacco grinding house, and now serves as the best place to get a photo-ready panoramic view of Clifton and the surrounding areas. From the Clifton Observatory, you can gaze upon the majestic Avon Gorge, the Clifton Suspension Bridge, and the Clifton Downs. Truly a sight to behold, the artist William West placed a camera obscura in the observatory in 1829, which still operates today projecting the panoramic view onto a white surface in a dark room.

Opening hours: Mon-Sun 10am-5pm

Litfield Rd, Bristol, UK, +44 0117 974 1242

The Coronation Tap

More than just a bar, The Coronation Tap is an experience not to be missed. As local Bristolians would put it, getting ‘corried’ entails having a great night out while knocking back a few drinks at the oldest and only cider house in Bristol. Their world-famous exhibition cider only served at The ‘Cori’ Tap in half pints is a must-try when in Clifton. Frequent live music nights and an impressive selection of ciders guarantee entertainment into the late hours of the night and has cemented The Coronation Tap as a frequent haunt for Bristol’s students and Clifton visitors.

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 5.30pm-late, Sat 7pm-late, Sun 7pm-late

8 Sion Place, Clifton, City of Bristol, UK, +44 0117 973 9617

M Shed Museum

The M Shed Museum presents Bristol’s history in a colourful array of exhibits detailing the history of the city and its people in a 1950s dockside transit shed. The museum explores three areas of Bristol in interactive and captivating exhibits. The Bristol People gallery, the Bristol Life gallery and the Bristol Places gallery. Home to amazing film and photography and a large store of rare and quirky historical items, entry to the M Shed museum is free. The museum also frequently organises historical walks through different areas of the city, which one of the best ways to sightsee while taking in Bristol’s history and culture in every capacity.

Opening hours: Tues-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat-Sun 10am-6pm

Princes Wharf, Wapping Rd, Bristol, UK, +44 0117 352 6600

Redgrave Theatre

Stand-up comedy, music concerts, dance pieces, opera, theatre – you name it, it’s on tonight at The Redgrave Theatre in Clifton. Part of Clifton College, this 315-seater auditorium has been open to professional and local amateur dramatic groups since the 1970s, whose performances have since been growing in popularity amongst the locals. Seasonal specials, especially the Christmas dramas are a firm favourite for Bristolians looking to get into the holiday spirit. Check the schedule regularly for renditions of your favourite plays and exciting originals at the Redgrave Theatre.

2 Percival Road, Bristol, UK, +44 0117 315 7000

The Clifton Arcade

Whether a big spender or a window shopper, the Clifton Arcade is one of the top things to do in the neighbourhood. This unique shopping district contains several independent boutiques selling quality antiques, jewellery, vintage clothing, furniture and more. The shops’ wonderful Victorian architecture is attributed to the self-taught architect Joseph King, who built the area in the late 1800s. The charming shops are just as ideal for perusing knick knacks and finding originals as they are for enjoying some of the best Victorian architecture Clifton has to offer.

Boyce’s Ave, Bristol, Avon, UK, +44 07831 166979

By Milan Cater

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