What could be better when visiting a new city than admiring the skyline from up high? After nearly a decade of exploring Bristol after moving here for work, Scott and I thought it was about time we finally shared what we think are the best views in Bristol.
With these 13 different views, you can admire Bristol’s most famous landmarks, rooftops for miles, picturesque sunsets and more.
Of course, as Bristol is one of the trendiest cities in the UK, you can also enjoy various unique views. Sound good? Here are our favourite viewpoints in Bristol.
Where To See The Best Views in Bristol
1. Clifton Observatory
At the Clifton Observatory, the clue is in the name. From here, you’ll get unparalleled views of the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Avon Gorge and the Bristol city skyline.
For the best view, make sure you come on a clear day so you can see for miles. This is easily where you’ll get the best view of the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
Although you can pay to go up to the top of the Clifton Observatory itself, you can also see amazing views from the lawn in front of the observatory… for FREE!
Insider Tip: This is also one of the best places to come if you want to see the hot air balloons from the International Balloon Fiesta without actually going to the festival itself.
2. Giant’s Cave
Found on the Clifton Observatory plot, you can head inside Giant’s Cave for as little as £3 each (or £5 each to gain access to the cave and Clifton Observatory).
Once you’ve climbed down the 200+ steep (and very narrow!) steps to the bottom, you’ll be able to get panoramic views of the Clifton Suspension Bridge and Avon Gorge.
It’s safe to say that heading to Giant’s Cave offers some of the more unique views of the Clifton Suspension Bridge compared with what you usually see plastered across Instagram.
And if you’re wondering about the name, well legend has it that Bristol was once home to two giants, Goram and Ghyston, and this cave was supposedly their home.
3. Cabot Tower
Cabot Tower, found in Brandon Hill Park and not far from the city centre, is free to go up and has 360-degree views across the Bristol skyline and further afield.
There are over 100 narrow steps to climb up the winding staircase. But the views are well worth it when you get to the top – especially on a clear day or at sunset. The latter being the most romantic, of course.
If the climb isn’t quite for you, then you can also see some great views of Bristol from Brandon Hill Park itself.
4. Clifton Suspension Bridge
Where usually the Clifton Suspension Bridge dominates Bristol’s skyline, you can also see some excellent views of Avon Gorge and Bristol’s rooftops from the bridge itself.
We’d recommend coming here at night so you can see the sparkling lights of Bristol. This is where you can enjoy some of the best views in Bristol at night.
READ NEXT: How to Spend One Day in Bristol
5. Leigh Woods
Along the trail from the car park, there’s a signpost for a viewpoint of Clifton Suspension Bridge.
Sometimes the viewpoint is slightly overgrown, which does affect how much of the bridge you’ll see. But that’s just an excuse to come in multiple seasons, eh?!
READ NEXT: Leigh Woods – Easy Woodland Walk in Bristol
6. Bristol & Bath Railway Path
While many people use the Bristol & Bath Railway Path for running, walking and cycling, very few stop to admire the stunning views you can enjoy throughout.
Sometimes, you’ll walk or ride over bridges, where you can admire the sprawling landscape. And if you time your visit for sunset, then you might even enjoy stunning pinks and golds on the horizon.
READ NEXT: Romantic Sunsets & Sunset Instagram Captions
7. The Downs
Found on the outskirts of the city, The Downs (consisting of Durdham Down and Clifton Down) is one of Bristol’s most popular green spaces.
This 442-acre protected parkland is a great place for picnics, sunbathing, football games and more.
But you can also head to the viewpoint to see across Avon Gorge with the Clifton Suspension Bridge in the distance.
8. Troopers Hill
Did you know that Bristol is sometimes described as a city that’s built on seven hills?
This little-known fact stems from some 18th-century guidebooks, which noted the hills as simply Bristol (the Old Town), Castle Hill, College Green, Kingsdown, St Michaels Hill, Brandon Hill and Redcliffe Hill.
Safe to say Bristol is a hilly place, so really, you can climb to the top of most hills to find a fabulous viewpoint.
Interestingly, not mentioned in those 18th-century guidebooks is Troopers Hill, which boasts a fine view across part of Bristol.
As you might imagine, this 190-foot-high hill is a popular place to come at sunset and for stargazing on a clear night.
9. The Harbourside (and other waterfront views)
If you’re bored of bridges and city lights, then why not visit the Harbourside area where you can enjoy beautiful waterside views instead?
What we love most about this one is that the colourful houses of Cliftonwood make for a fun backdrop! Or, if you come here at night, then you’ll see the lights reflected prettily in the water.
Speaking of waterside views, the River Avon, which runs through Somerset, Bristol, the Cotswolds and beyond is 75 miles long. This means you can enjoy romantic strolls along the river throughout many parts of the city.
For example, Conham River Park is a lovely place to come where you can even catch a boat to Beese’s Riverside Bar in the warmer months.
READ NEXT: Things To Do At Conham River Park
10. M Shed
You can either enjoy the views from indoors thanks to the large windows on the upper level of the museum. Or you can head to the museum’s balcony/terrace instead.
Psst! Did you know that the M Shed is home to an original Banksy? You must look out for that before or after enjoying your view!
11. From The Top Of A Double-Decker Bus
Now you know all about some of Bristol’s most popular views, this wouldn’t be a Bristol travel blog without also mentioning some unique ideas.
Up first is to enjoy the views from the top of a double-decker bus.
Sadly, the two open-top bus tour companies Bristol used to have (Tootbus and Bristol Insight) are no longer operating, so you’ll have to use a normal bus instead.
If you catch the number 9 to or from the Portway Park & Ride, then you’ll go underneath the Clifton Suspension Bridge for a different view of this iconic bridge.
In case you’re wondering, this road is called Hotwell Road. You can also walk alongside part of it, although this road gets very busy (especially during rush hour), so be careful.
Another tip we have for you is to catch a bus that goes down Park Street (such as the number 8).
If you sit at the front of the bus, then you’ll be able to see right down the hill and you’ll pass by a Banksy street art mural. How’s that for a unique view?
12. From A Historic Steam Train
Or, if trains are more your thing, then we’d highly recommend booking a trip on the historic steam trains found at the Avon Valley Railway near Bitton.
While the restored railway line is only three miles long, you can enjoy some countryside views from the comfort of an old-fashioned steam train.
They even offer afternoon tea, roast dinner and murder mystery experiences! Dinner, entertainment and a countryside view? Why not!
By the way, we’re booked in for a festive afternoon tea experience next month, so we look forward to sharing some more photos and tips with you after we’ve done that. Stay tuned!
Psst! Roughly 10 minutes away from the Avon Valley Railway, you’ll find another must-do activity for train enthusiasts: the Warmley Waiting Room. This is a popular cafe housed within the original waiting room of the old Warmley Railway Station. Their breakfast baps and cakes are delicious and the whole experience is fun and unique!
13. From The SS Great Britain (and other boats or ships)
And finally, still sticking with the transport theme, why not enjoy a beautiful view of Bristol from a boat or ship?
After all, no day out in Bristol is complete without one of these three things: boats, balloons and Banksy!
If you visit the SS Great Britain, then you can enjoy a view of Bristol’s harbour from the top deck. Sometimes, you can even climb the rigging like sailors once used to (while attached to some safety ropes, of course.)
Or in the warmer months, you can sail on The Matthew replica to enjoy views of the Avon Gorge, Clifton Suspension Bridge and more.
While these might be two of Bristol’s most famous boats/ships, you can – of course – enjoy views of the River Avon from any boat. Maybe even a traditional canal boat?
Bonus Views Nearby: Bath Skyline Walk & Eagle’s Nest Viewpoint
If you enjoyed these 13 best views in Bristol, then you might also enjoy our other two favourite viewpoints.
Both the Bath Skyline Walk and Eagle’s Nest Viewpoint in Wales are just 30-40 minutes away by car (plus the walks to the viewpoints, of course!) They’re both well worth seeing as easy day trips from Bristol.
READ NEXT: 23 of the Very Best Day Trips From Bristol
Do you know of any other places that have the best views in Bristol? Let us know in the comments below so we can check them out!
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