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Clifton Suspension Bridge

Both striking and practical, this bridge has long been the symbol of the city of Bristol.

The Clifton Suspension Bridge spans the River Avon and links Clifton, a shopping district in Bristol, to Leigh Woods in the county of Somerset. Opened in 1864, the bridge is the brainchild of renowned mechanical and civil engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. It has become a major landmark of the area, and is worth visiting even if you don’t need to cross it.

Brunel was just 24 when he won the commission to build the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Although construction began on the bridge in 1831, the project was abandoned 12 years later, due to poor funding and political issues. Only following Brunel’s death in 1859 was it decided the bridge would be completed as a memorial to him.

The Clifton Suspension Bridge is held up by 81 wrought-iron rods. The towers at either end are made from local pennant sandstone. The bridge is 1,352 feet (412 meters) long, and hovers 245 feet (75 meters) above the Avon. The bridge can only carry a limited weight at any one time, and is closed for major annual events. Still, more than 8,000 vehicles cross it every day.

The bridge has its own visitor center, on the Leigh Woods side. Here you can see exhibits and a film about the bridge’s construction. There’s also a gift shop. Free guided tours of the bridge are given weekend afternoons and bank holidays. There’s no need to book. The visitor center is open daily, except for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

It’s fairly easy to get to the bridge by public transport. Buses run regularly from the main station, Bristol Temple Meads. Cycle lanes are on the approach to both sides of the bridge. By car, the bridge is a 15-minute drive from the center of Bristol. It’s free to walk or cycle across the bridge, but there is a toll for cars. Parking is much easier on the Leigh Woods side.


Guide to Exploring around Clifton Suspension Bridge


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Best Lodging Options Near Clifton Suspension Bridge

See all 1,109 Properties near Clifton Suspension Bridge
Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin $94
Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin

Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin

Sion Hill, Clifton, Bristol, England
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Clifton, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Clifton Downs and Observatory, Clifton Suspension Bridge, and University of Bristol. Bristol Zoo and SS Great Britain are also within 1 mi (2 km). Bristol Clifton Down Station is 23 minutes by foot.

    Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel $98
    Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel

    Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel

    College Green, Bristol, England
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Harbourside, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of St Nicholas Market and University of Bristol. Cabot Circus Shopping Centre and Clifton Suspension Bridge are also within 2 mi (3 km). Bristol Temple Meads Station is 19 minutes by foot and Bristol Clifton Down Station is 21 minutes.

      Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel $33
      Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel

      Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel

      Broad Street, Bristol, England
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Bristol City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of St Nicholas Market, Bristol Hippodrome Theatre, and O2 Academy. University of Bristol and Cabot Circus Shopping Centre are also within 15 minutes. Bristol Temple Meads Station is 15 minutes by foot and Bristol Clifton Down Station is 21 minutes.

        The Bristol Hotel $88
        The Bristol Hotel

        The Bristol Hotel

        Prince Street, Bristol, England
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Bristol City Centre, this romantic hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Queen Square and Bristol Hippodrome Theatre. We The Curious and St Nicholas Market are also within 10 minutes. Bristol Temple Meads Station is 15 minutes by foot and Bristol Bedminster Station is 19 minutes.

          Rodney Hotel $55
          Rodney Hotel

          Rodney Hotel

          4 Rodney Place, Clifton, Bristol, England
             
            3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Clifton, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Clifton Downs and Observatory and Clifton Suspension Bridge. University of Bristol and Bristol Hippodrome Theatre are also within 1 mi (2 km). Bristol Clifton Down Station is 18 minutes by foot and Bristol Redland Station is 29 minutes.

            Future Inn Bristol $71
            Future Inn Bristol

            Future Inn Bristol

            Bond Street South, Bristol, England
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in the heart of Bristol, this hotel is steps from Showcase Cinema De Lux and Cabot Circus Shopping Centre. Bristol Hippodrome Theatre and University of Bristol are also within 1 mi (2 km). Bristol Temple Meads Station is 14 minutes by foot and Bristol Montpelier Station is 18 minutes.

              Bright One Bedroom Clifton City Pad
              Bright One Bedroom Clifton City Pad

              Bright One Bedroom Clifton City Pad

              Clifton Down House, Suspension Bridge Ro, ad, Bristol, England
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Clifton, this apartment building is within a 15-minute walk of Clifton Suspension Bridge and Bristol Zoo. University of Bristol and SS Great Britain are also within 1 mi (2 km). Bristol Clifton Down Station is 22 minutes by foot.

                Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa $131
                Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa

                Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa

                53-55 Corn St, Bristol, England
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Bristol City Centre, this spa hotel is steps from Baldwin Street and St Nicholas Market. Bristol Hippodrome Theatre and O2 Academy are also within 10 minutes. Bristol Temple Meads Station is 15 minutes by foot and Bristol Clifton Down Station is 22 minutes.