Follow our Audio Trail
Smartphone users: look out for the QR codes on the south (city side) footway where you’ll be able to hear about the history, engineering and unique features of the surrounding views.
Book a Hard Hat Tour of the Leigh Woods Vaults
In 2002 twelve vaulted chambers were discovered inside the Leigh Woods Abutment, the red sandstone structure underneath the Leigh Woods tower. Designed by Brunel, the chambers were lost to history until their accidental discovery. Find out more and book your tour on our events pages.
Try our Children’s Trail
Priced at £2.75 our Children’s Trail is packed with activities which will help our younger visitors learn about the bridge, Bristol and Brunel. It has plenty of useful information in it to help with school projects and comes with pencil crayons, stickers and a tear-out postcard. Pick one up from the Visitor Centre shop.
Feel the Bridge Move
Suspension bridges are designed to be flexible and this bridge is always on the move! Look up and you may see the hangers (the long iron poles which hold the bridge deck) vibrating. Look down and you may see the bridge deck moving up and down as cars enter and leave the bridge under the tower arch. Stop in the middle and close your eyes – or line up a building in the distance with the safety rail – and you may experience the bridge swaying!
Discover the rare plants of the Avon Gorge
The Avon Gorge is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. On the Clifton side of the bridge you’ll find the Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Trust’s award-winning flowerbed planted with some of the rare plants that grow in the Avon Gorge. Venture further afield to explore the Downs: acres of Common Land filled with wildflower meadows popular with walkers, dog owners and kite flyers.
Watch the Peregrine Falcons
The Gorge is home to Peregrine Falcons and in the summer months you may spot them hunting or their new chicks fledging and learning to fly. Find the peregrine watchpoint and information board on Clifton Down.
Climb Observatory Hill
There is a spectacular view of the bridge from Observatory Hill in Clifton. Follow the footpaths to the top – and if you’re feeling brave zoom back down on the Rock Slide, polished smooth by Bristolian bottoms over hundreds of years! For a small fee you can also visit the Camera Obscura and Giant’s Cave at Clifton Observatory.
Watch the River Rise and Fall
The River Avon is a tidal river, rising and falling by 13 metres. There are high tides twice a day. Look out for the wooden jetties of the White Funnel Paddle Steamers which used to run pleasure trips to Newport in Wales in the bank on the Clifton side.
See the bridge from Below
The Avon Trail is a popular route for walkers, joggers and cyclists. Strap on your hiking boots and ramble through Leigh Woods, then stroll along the riverside underneath the bridge and climb back up to the bridge through Nightingale Valley or continue following the river to Pill or Portishead. Pick up some directions from the Bridge Visitor Centre.
Stay for the Illuminations
The bridge illuminations can be seen each night – beginning half an hour before sunset and finishing at midnight. Our 3,072 LED bulbs provide an award-winning display and have been designed to reduce energy consumption and minimise light pollution. Enjoy spectacular views of the bridge from the White Lion Terrace at the Avon Gorge Hotel. On a long summer’s evening, this is a popular spot to relax with a cold beer or cream tea while you watch the sun set.
Explore the Nearby Attractions
Planning a Longer Visit?
Visiting these websites to see what else is happening in our area:
If you’re planning a trip from the US, take a look at England 101, who offer assistance in planning trips to trace your ancestry. Find out more about English language, history, culture and literature.