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Pubs & Inns Near Clifton Suspension Bridge

Stop by one of our pubs with beer gardens in and around Bristol that serve refreshing, award-winning Butcombe real ales, local ciders, and delicious classic pub meals. With many of them within walking distance of Clifton Suspension Bridge, they are the perfect place to stop and recharge.


Bristol Harbourside’s Ostrich pub brings a whole new meaning to the word ‘watering hole’, with beautful waterside views, plenty of outdoor seating, first floor Top Deck bar and an impressive array of Butcombe beers with a dedicated rum menu – a nod to its nautical heritage. Stop by after visiting Clifton Suspension Bridge to sample the food menu, chock-full of mouthwatering modern twists on classic pub dishes, and find out for yourself why The Ostrich was voted Best New Pub in the 2020 Publican Awards.


If you’re exploring the bustling city of Bristol, take a break at The Bowl Inn, situated in the outskirts to the North of the city, in Almondsbury. There’s nothing quite like an award-winning pint of Butcombe beer, but if you’re in the mood for a local South West cider, fine wine, or your favourite tipple, then sit back and enjoy a drink at The Bowl Inn. Feeling peckish? Sample the light bites and pub snacks, or go all-out with a classic pub dish, perfectly paired with your pint – ideal after a long day exploring Clifton’s suspension bridge.


The Cottage Inn is where all the locals flock in Bristol when the sun is shining. Boasting waterside views, a pleasant terrace, a cracking selection of award-winning Butcombe beers and local ciders behind the bar, it’s easy to see why. On colder days, you can retreat inside to curl up beside the crackling open fire, with your favourite Butcombe beer in hand. Why not indulge with a delicious, locally-sourced pub meal, while you’re there? The perfect pick-me-up after visiting Clifton Suspension Bridge.


Located in historic Backwell on the outskirts of Bristol and a short drive from Weston-super-Mare, The Rising Sun is a beautiful pub and inn, with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. We’re passionate about great food and drink, with an all-day food offer focused on seasonal, locally sourced produce and hearty pub classics. Behind the bar you’ll find plenty of award-winning Butcombe beer and cider, and a wide range of wine and cocktails. A haven for families, walkers, cyclists and locals alike, The Rising Sun offers a huge beer garden with children’s play area, and large carpark – the perfect place to stop after a day exploring Clifton Suspension Bridge.


Catch the latest game on the big screen, soak up the sun in the courtyard beer garden, or simply enjoy a pint with your mates at The Whitmore Tap gastropub in Clifton, the heart of Bristol.
Treat yourself to the comforting menu, full of pub classics, perfectly paired with award-winning Butcombe beers behind the bar, served by the friendliest staff in Bristol. Just a short stroll from Clifton Suspension Bridge, a visit to The Whitmore Tap is the perfect end to the perfect day.


In 1753, a Bristolian merchant named William Vick died and left £1,000 in his will on the understanding that it would be invested and would eventually fund a bridge to connect Clifton with Leigh Woods.

In 1829, Vick’s donation had matured and a competition was launched to find a design that would make his dream become a reality. The first competition was poorly managed, so a second competition took place the following year, with a young architect named Isambard Kingdom Brunel being awarded 2nd place. After some reconsideration, Brunel’s design was declared the winning entry in early 1831.

Construction of the bridge was intermittent, often stopping for several years while further funds were raised. In 1851, some 20 years after construction commenced, the ironwork was sold and the project was deemed a failure. Brunel tried in vain to garner further interest, but his untimely death in 1859 meant that he would never see the bridge that he often referred to as “my first child, my darling” being completed.

In 1864, as a tribute to Brunel, Clifton Suspension Bridge was finally completed and officially opened on December 8th.


Located on the west side of Clifton Suspension Bridge in Leigh Woods is the official visitor centre.

For those interested in learning more about the iconic bridge, this is without doubt your best source of information. Find out more about the competition to design the bridge (and how Brunel persuaded the committee to declare him the winner), the civil engineer’s who were responsible for the completion of the bridge after Brunel’s death and how the bridge is maintained to this day (and the costs involved).

The visitor centre is open 7 days per week from 10:00am-5:00pm.


Guided tours operate every Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday throughout the year from the Clifton Toll Booth.

The tours are free of charge and the tour guides are volunteers, all eager to share their unrivalled knowledge of the Suspension Bridge, Avon Gorge, Clifton, Leigh Woods and the surrounding areas.

The tours last for approximately 45 minutes and are a wonderful (and cost-effective) way of learning more about this historical bridge.


Established in 1766, Clifton Observatory has existed for longer than its more popular neighbour, Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Enjoying an elevated position, Clifton Observatory offers unrivalled views of the iconic bridge, the Avon Gorge and the wider Bristol landscape. In addition to the unlimited photo opportunities at Clifton Observatory, visitors can also explore the museum and learn about the Observatory’s history, view early photographs of Bristol and even look out over the city of Bristol via the 200 year old Camera Obscura!

For those who are willing and able, a visit to the Giant’s Cave is highly recommended! Descending deep into the cliff of the Avon Gorge, you will reach the legendary home of Bristol’s most famous giants – Goram and Ghyston. Once in the cave, you will learn more about these mythical monsters, while also taking in the unique views of Clifton Suspension Bridge and the Avon Gorge.


To the east side of the Suspension Bridge is Clifton and its vibrant, eclectic village.

If you fancy some retail therapy before (or after) visiting the Suspension Bridge, Clifton Village offers a range of boutique clothes stores, unique gift shops (perfect for those Suspension Bridge souvenirs) and antique stores.

If shopping isn’t your thing, take a stroll to The Downs of Clifton and Durdham to enjoy the vast open spaces, leisurely walks or, on those hot summer days, treat yourself to a refreshing ice cream!


To the west side of the Suspension Bridge is Leigh Woods, a residential area that shares its name with the nearby National Trust nature reserve.

The residential area of Leigh Woods is very affluent and often ranks among the very best places in Bristol to live. Its status is no doubt boosted by its close proximity to the 2 kilometre area of unspoiled woodland that has been designated as a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and is home to many rare species of bats, insects, birds and plants.

On the opposite side of the road to Leigh Woods is the sprawling, 850 acre Ashton Court Estate – home to the world-famous Bristol Balloon Fiesta! Located just 10 minutes by car from the city centre of Bristol, visitors can enjoy mountain biking, golf and regular park runs, as well as many walking routes that experience the gardens, woodland and deer of the Ashton Court Estate.


It may come as no surprise that, at almost 200 years old, Clifton Suspension Bridge has many facts, figures, stories and myths attached to it, the most popular of which are listed below.

  • 2 people have jumped from the bridge and survived! (Read more about this below)
  • Clifton Suspension Bridge crosses the River Avon, which is the 2nd most tidal river in the world, with a tidal range of up to 15 metres
  • While the longest span is a little over 200 metres, the total length of the bridge is actually in excess of 400m
  • It soars 75 metres above the water
  • The civil engineer credited with designing the bridge, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, rejected advice from his father (who was also a notable engineer) during the design phase, as his father didn’t believe that the bridge would be secure without a central support


While there are many famous stories connected to Clifton Suspension Bridge, the tale of Sarah Ann Henley is probably the most notable of them all.

Sarah was 22 years of age and was working as a barmaid at the nearby Rising Sun pub. She was engaged to a man who had recently notified her of his intention to end their relationship and, seeing no other way of dealing with her grief, jumped from the bridge in an attempt to take her own life.

Sarah was wearing a skirt which was typical of that era – either constructed from stiff fabric or with steel hoops inserted to maintain its shape. Witnesses said that her skirt billowed and created a “parachute” effect, directing her away from the water and towards the muddy banks of the River Avon which broke her fall.

After recovering from the incident, Sarah went on to get married (to a different man) and lived until she was 85 years old!