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Clifton Suspension Bridge
Holiday Travel Guide

Clifton Suspension Bridge which includes a sunset, a bridge and a river or creek

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.

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Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin
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Located in Clifton, this hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Clifton Downs and Observatory, Clifton Suspension Bridge and University of Bristol. Bristol Zoo and ...
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Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin
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