Leigh Woods cover the south west side of the gorge, stretching in both directions from the bridge. Walk down Burwalls Road to find a route through the woods to the Avon Trail, or up North Road to discover Nightingale Valley, the Stokeleigh Camp iron age hill fort and marked trails for walkers and mountain bikes. See bluebells in the spring, orchids in the summer and fungi in the autumn.
Continue your journey past the Visitor Centre and walk to the end of Bridge Road to find Ashton Court Estate, 850 acres of park and woodland which is free to explore. There's a golf course, mountain bike trails, disc golf and a miniature railway as well as two herds of deer: red and fallow.
Clifton and Durdham Downs
The historic Clifton and Durdham Downs cover almost 400 acres of grassland. You'll find a children's playpark at the base of Observatory Hill, as well as the famous rock slide. Enter the gully to see goats grazing, get a great view of the river from Sea Walls, or join the locals and fly a kite!
Smartphone users can download 'The Downs App' free of charge. Created by the Friends of the Downs and Avon Gorge, it's a brilliant way to explore using your phone! The app includes a map with lots of points of interest and information about them, photos and events information. Download now from Google Play or the Apple Store.
You can't miss Clifton Observatory! Perched on top of the hill, it overlooks the bridge and was originally built as a corn mill - but after burning down in 1768 it was quickly rebuilt as a snuff mill. In 1828, artist William West rented the Observatory as a studio, adding a Camera Obscura to the top of the tower, and tunnelling down through the rock to create access to the Giant's Cave beneath. The Camera Obscura is the only one open to the public in England, with spectacular panoramic views of Bristol. The building is open to the public 10am-5pm 7 days a week, and has a small entry fee.
Avon Trail and River Avon
The Avon Trail runs 23 miles from Pill in North Somerset to Pulteney Bridge, Bath. Suitable for walkers and cyclists, it's a great way to see the bridge from beneath. Follow the trail toward the city centre for more great views from Cumberland Basin and emerge by Brunel's ss Great Britain and M-Shed.
Clevedon Pier was opened in 1869 to receive paddle steamer passengers from Devon and Wales. The pier has been beautifully restored and provides a lovely day out for all the family. There are wonderful views of the Severn Estuary, the islands Flat Holm and Steep Holm, the two Severn Bridges, and the best sunsets in the West Country. Take a boat trip aboard the paddle ship Waverley or the MV Balmoral, rent a fishing rod, and check out the brass plaques along the pier, all engraved with words requested by sponsors. The plaques come in various sizes and have names of loved ones, anniversaries, club names, and more. You could even get one of your own! Refreshments are served in the Pagoda cafe and the gift shop is well stocked with ice creams and gifts.
Eat, Drink and Shop
If you're in need of a bit of refreshment after your visit to the bridge, it's just a short walk into Clifton Village where you'll find a wide selection of pubs, cafes and coffee shops. Explore the beautiful boutique shopping, where you're likely to find something special made by a local artist.
A popular spot to enjoy the bridge illuminations with a glass to drink is the White Lion Bar and Terrace on Sion Hill. It's open from mid-morning throughout the year.
The Avon Gorge Hotel is an iconic hotel offering unparalleled views of Brunel’s Suspension Bridge and the Somerset countryside. Whether you choose a classic or contemporary room, Gorge or Village view, you’re sure to enjoy your stay. The Bridge Café, open from mid-morning, serves tea and cake, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner each day. Popular with locals and guests alike; the modern British menu changes daily, offering a selection of light bites through to hearty dishes, depending on the season. Floor to ceiling windows open out onto a terrace, allowing you some of the best views in the city.
The Clifton Hotel Group is a Local Hotel Group in Bristol which provides a range of accommodation to all.
The Clifton Hotel: The Clifton is a Café Hotel with a vibrant atmosphere focusing on fun and indulgence.
The Rodney Hotel: A beautiful quaint hotel located in Clifton Village. Able to provide conference facilities.
The Berkeley Square Hotel: Bristol’s first art hotel. The Berkeley Square offers luxury club king rooms with spectacular views of Bristol.
'Burwalls', the red brick house, was constructed in Victorian Gothic style in 1872 for a businessman who sold it to the Wills family (of tobacco fame) in the 1890s. It remained a family home until it was donated to the University of Bristol in the late 1930s. The house was used for military purposes during WW2, since when it has been used by the university as a hall of residence, and more recently for training, conferences and events.
'Alpenfels' overlooks the Bridge and has the appearance of a large Swiss cottage. It too was constructed in the 1870s as a private home but is now divided into 4 apartments.
For more information...
Whether you're interested in great days out with the kids, museums and galleries or snapping up some bargains in the shops, Visit Bristol's website is packed full of information on where to stay, where to eat and what to see and do. You'll find information on events, festivals and special offers along with apps to download and practical information to help you plan your visit.