World Pinhole Day - Justin Quinnell


On 8th December 2014, the Clifton Suspension Bridge celebrates 150 years since its grand opening. In celebration of this, we are planning a number of events to run throughout the year.

If you would like to know more about what was happening 150 years ago, you can read all about it in the following document: 1864 - Key events in the History of the Bridge (PDF, 136KB)




Tour group

 Free Tours

Clifton Toll Booth, Clifton Suspension Bridge

5th April - 2nd November


FREE GUIDED TOURS are provided for the public on Bank Holidays and Saturday and Sunday afternoons from Easter Saturday to the end of October.

Meet at 3.00pm at the toll booth at the Clifton end of the Bridge where you will spot a guide in an orange jacket.

There is no need to book - just turn up and allow one hour for the tour and remember you'll be outside so dress for the weather! (Please note these free tours are intended for individuals and small family groups; they are not suitable for coach tours or for large organised groups for whom separate arrangements apply.)



John Lewis 150

150 Years Celebration Competition

Closing Date: Saturday 20th September 5pm

John Lewis and the Clifton Suspension Bridge are both 150 years old this year. Joining forces to celebrate our unique histories and success, we would like to offer you the chance to take part in a competition to win some great prizes by capturing the essence of the suspension bridge using what ever art form you choose.

Finalists artwork will be exhibited in the Place to Eat Restaurant at John Lewis Cribbs Causeway during October.

5yrs -10yrs £30.00 John Lewis Gift Voucher
11yrs -14yrs £50.00 John Lewis Gift Voucher
15yrs -18yrs £75.00 John Lewis Gift Voucher
18+ - £100.00 John Lewis Gift Voucher

John Lewis and Clifton Suspension Bridge - 150 years

To find out more, download this competition flyer





Architecture Centre

Bridge 150! Festival

The Architecture Centre - Various Locations

12 July - 9 December

December 2014 marks the 150th anniversary of Bristol’s world-famous Clifton Suspension Bridge – one of Brunel’s greatest engineering achievements. Inspired by this anniversary, Bridge150! presents 150 days of exciting activities to inspire, inform and involve everyone in the art and science of engineering. Structural engineers are working with the Architecture Centre team to co-curate the Festival, sharing their creativity and expertise to inspire the Brunels of tomorrow.

A major exhibition at the Architecture Centre in October and November will reveal the stories behind some of today’s most innovative bridges and links these with Brunel’s vision and achievements. Family activities, walks, talks and a Festival blog will be complemented by schools activities and resources.

As Bristol prepares for European Green Capital 2015, the Festival will also encourage debate about the contribution engineering can make to creating a more sustainable future.

Check the Architecture Centre events pages for regular updates.

Bridge 150! is supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Ingenious Fund.




Drawing an Icon

Clifton Suspension Bridge Visitor Centre, BS8 3PA

Wednesday 23rd July, 1.00 - 3.00pm

£3 (materials) payable to tutor

This course will offer an opportunity to use the Clifton Suspension Bridge as a source of inspiration to produce drawings in a range of materials and using a variety of techniques.

Whether you're a beginner or a bit more experienced, try your hand with pastels, pencil, charcoal, pen and ink, watercolour or mixed media on this three week course. Fine Art tutor William Smith has been teaching at beginner and intermediate levels for 16 years.

You'll work from life and historic images, learn how to find the best viewpoint, understand perspective and work with your materials. By the end of the course, you'll have a completed piece to take home with you, as well as a piece you could enter into our competition to win £100 of John Lewis vouchers.

Register for a place





Creative Writing: Prose and Short Story

Clifton Suspension Bridge Visitor Centre, BS8 3PA

Wednesday 23rd July, 7.00pm - 9.00pm


Join author Glenn Carmichael for an evening course on prose and short story writing. Learn new skills and techniques - or improve old ones!

Glenn is a published novelist. Based in Bristol, Glenn teaches novel writing, short story writing and poetry to a wide range of age groups throughout the UK. The novel 'STILL SEARCHING FOR THE BIG CITY BEATS' won the Eastside Writers award in 1998, and was published in 2000. Glenn's first solo novel is 'SLAM!' and his latest, 'JOHN' is a comedy.

Book a ticket




New building 

Meet the Builder Open Day

Clifton Suspension Bridge Maintenance Yard, BS8 3PA

Saturday 26th July, 10.00 - 4.00


If you've been wondering what's been happening behind the hoarding on Bridge Road, now is your chance to find out! On Saturday 26th July, we'll be opening the site to the public and giving you the chance to meet the team from Rydon Construction who have been hard at work making our new Heritage and Learning Centre a reality! Drop by and take a look at some of the plans we have for what's going to be inside - or book on a hard hat tour and explore the building!

(Tours are suitable for age 7+. Sturdy footwear MUST be worn: no sandals or open-toed shoes please!)

Take the tour at 11.00

Take the tour at 12.00

Take the tour at 3.00





Creative Writing: Poetry

Clifton Suspension Bridge Visitor Centre, BS8 3PA

Wednesday 30th July, 7.00pm - 9.00pm


Join author Glenn Carmichael for an evening course on poetry. Seek inspiration from the breathtaking beauty of the gorge and the spectaular Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Glenn has been writing poetry all of his life. In the late 1980s, he became half of the 'Big City Beats'.  He embarks on regular tours to perform his own poetry and hosts the Bristol Poetry Slam.

Book your place




Bristol doors open day

Doors Open Day

Clifton Suspension Bridge

Saturday 13th September, 10:00 - 4:00


Visit us on Doors Open Day and speak to our Explainers, who will be stationed on the bridge in orange high-vis jackets. Each Explainer will tell you a different story about the hidden history of the bridge or the parts which are hidden from view. Learn about the arguements, riots and finiancial problems which meant it took 33 years to build, find out how the bridge was designed and constructed and how it works - and hear some of the famous stories about its visitors.





 Poetry Walks

Clifton Toll Booth, Clifton Suspension Bridge

Saturday 21st September, 11:00 - 12:00 and 2:30 - 3:30

FREE, Booking Recommended

Join the IsamBards for a fact filled poetry tour of the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Beginning at the Clifton Toll Booth, you'll be treated to some brand new poems composed especially for this event, along with some old favourites and some historical context provided by the bridge's own tour guides.

The tour will end in the Visitor Centre, where there will be a chance to enjoy a 15 minute poetry performance and an opportunity to pick up a souvenir booklet containing the poems performed on the day - plus others from the IsamBards' Brunel back catalogue.

Book a ticket for Walk 1: 11:00 - 12:00

Book a ticket for Walk 2: 2:30 - 3:30




Architecture Centre

The Bridge: Spanning Art and Science

The Architecture Centre, Narrow Quay, Bristol, BS1 4QA

Wednesday 1 October - Sunday 16 November 2014

Wednesday to Friday, 11am – 5pm , Saturday and Sunday, 12 – 5pm

From Isambard to the Eye – discover the art and science behind the creation of some of the world’s most fascinating structures in this major exhibition, part of the Architecture Centre’s Bridge 150! Festival.

As Bristol celebrates the 150th anniversary of Brunel’s world-famous Clifton Suspension Bridge, this exhibition looks at the stories behind the creation of some of today’s most innovative structures and links these to Brunel’s vision and achievements. The exhibition will include audio-visual interviews with engineers; models, photographs and drawings; interactive family activities; and information resources.

Produced in collaboration with the Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust and supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Ingenious Fund.




Architecture Centre logo

The Great Debate: Who Owns Bridge Design?  Engineers vs Architects

Arnolfini,  16 Narrow Quay, Bristol, Avon BS1 4QA

Wednesday 8 October, 18:30

£6/£4 - Booking: 0117 917 2300

Since the 1990s architects have been increasingly involved in bridge design, but where has this left the engineer, and does it matter? Find out how engineers and architects feel about their changing roles and the effect it has on bridge design. Chaired by Tanya Ross (Buro Happold) and featuring Jim Eyre, Julia Elton, Hugh Pearman and Ian Firth – the gloves are off for what promises to be a lively debate!



Architecture Centre logo

Bridging Disciplines (Lecture and discussion)

The Architecture Centre, Narrow Quay, Bristol, BS1 4QA

Thursday 23 October, 18:30

£8/£6, including refreshments

Join us for an evening with leading engineer Alan Baxter as he discusses other dimensions of
engineering. Sharing the stage with architects Martin Knight and Renato Benedetti, this trio
of designers will discuss their collaborative approach to bridge design, from the resolution
of Knight Architects’ beautifully conceived structures to the interest in urbanism and place
making underpinning the inspired bridges of McDowell + Benedetti.




New Bristol Sinfonia

150th Anniversary Concert

Victoria Rooms, Queen's Rd, Bristol BS8 1SA

Saturday 22nd November (Time TBC)

Ticketed Event

New Bristol Sinfonia will mark the 150th anniversary of the opening of the bridge with a special concert featuring a new composition by Chris Williams, winner of a competition for post-graduate composers to create a new piece of music inspired by the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

The competition attracted entries from postgraduate music students from across the country who each submitted 2-3 of their recent compositions as a portfolio of their work. The judges were the composer Eleanor Alberga; John Pickard, professor of composition at Bristol University; and the new Musical Director of NBS, Jonathan Lo.

NBS is Bristol's most dynamic and prestigious symphony orchestra.  Founded in 1997 and directed, for the last 10 years by James Lowe, they have also worked with conductors such as Jason Lai and Geoffrey Paterson, performing music from the late 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. 




bristol museum 

Bristol Museums and Art Gallery Winter Lecture series
Francis Greenacre: The Clifton Suspension Bridge and the Avon Gorge: a visual history of the site and of the bridge
Tyndall Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, Tyndall Avenue, Bristol, BS8 1TL
Thursday 4th December, 7.30pm

Exploring the extraordinary variety of alternative designs and architectural styles proposed by Brunel himself and by other engineers, architects and amateurs; the laying of the foundation stone; dramatic photographs of the bridge's construction and of its opening 150 years ago on 8th December 1864, and more recent images of the bridge as the emblem of Bristol.