The world famous Clifton Suspension Bridge was the dream of wine merchant William Vick. Hailed as ‘the ornament of Bristol and the wonder of the age’ when construction began in 1831, it was designed by 23 year old Isambard Kingdom Brunel and took over 30 years to complete, opening in 1864 as a memorial to the engineer.
The Bridge is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week and can be crossed free of charge. Our Visitor Centre in Leigh Woods is open from 10am to 5pm daily, with free tours at 3pm every Saturday, Sunday and bank holiday from Easter to October. A programme of events runs throughout the year.
The bridge is illuminated each evening, lighting up half an hour before sunset.
There is level access from the main entrance to:First FloorReception deskVisitor Centre toiletsVisitor Centre Shop
There is level access from the car park to:Chapter & Holmes Coffee Cart
Travel by public transport
The number 8 bus goes from Bristol Temple Meads to Clifton Village. Our closest bus stops are at Christ Church and Clifton Down Road, both a 15 minute walk on flat terrain along Suspension Bridge Road and across the bridge.
There are tarmacked pavements of both sides of Bridge Road and a pelican crossing opposite the entrance to the Visitor Centre. There is a paved area leading from the Visitor Centre entrance to the bridge. This passes the parking bay.
Path to main entrance
The building is free to enter and has a double set of glass automatic doors which open when approached. On the left hand side of the doors there is a glass panel which is used for the display of posters. The entrance has a small metal plate at the bottom which creates a very slight raise.
Getting around inside
Visual Impairment - General Information
There is an enclosed Stannah lift to the first floor. Please remember to keep your finger on the button to keep the lift in motion.
Ticket/ information desk
The shop consists of two areas either side of the reception desk. It is all on one level. To the right of the reception desk, you will find a display of cards, postcards, stationery, fridge magnets, books, china and pocket money souvenirs. In this area, the display is up to 180 centimetres (6 feet) high and the width of the space is 136 centimetres (4 ½ feet) wide at its narrowest point.
To the left of the desk is a unit containing cold drinks and ice cream, a display of limited edition prints and photographs and a display of teatowels, tote bags and cross stitch kits. This area is just 1 metre (3 feet 3 inches) wide.
There is always a volunteer at the front desk who will be happy to assist you to reach or inspect any of the products sold in the shop. Aside from books (which are individually priced), the price of each item can be found on the wall display or counter top. Labels are dark grey with white writing.
Things to See and Do
On the first floor there is a soft padded gallery seat on the mezzanine level which provides a stopping point to sit and read information boards or enjoy the view from the picture window. Two tall bar stools are available to sit and watch the DVD documentary. Subtitles are not available, but we are currently working to provide this. However, the content of the DVD is also available in written form as part of the exhibition itself.
Visitor Centre toilets
The door to the toilet is 85cm (2 feet 9 inches) wide. There is space for a wheelchair 93cm (3 feet) wide to the left side of the toilet. The seat of the toilet is 50 cm (20inches) from the floor. There are grab rails to either side of the toilet, above the sink and on the back of the cubicle door. The tap is operated using a motion sensor and both a hand drier and paper towels are provided.
Visitor Centre Shop
Unfortunately our shop area is rather small and wheelchair users may find it difficult to access all of the displays. Please ask volunteers at the desk who will be happy to assist you.
Getting around outside
Chapter & Holmes Coffee Cart
The Coffee Stand is open every day from April until October and selected weekends during the winter season. From the Visitor Centre, cross the road at the zebra crossing and follow the pavement back toward the bridge. There is a small seating area with a stone slab surface and two octagonal pcnic tables.
Customer care support
Folding stools are available for your use throughout the building. They are light, have a carry handle and can be used as a walking aid as well as a seat.
Emergency evacuation procedures
In the event of a fire alarm, alarms will sound and lights will flash in the ceiling. The fire doors at the entrance to the Education Workshop will swing closed, but the keylock system will be disabled. The automatic doors at the front entrance will lock open and emergency lighting will switch on.
There are two fire exits, located in the Education Workshop and at the end of the toilet corridor. Our volunteer team will escort you safely from the building and to our assembly point at the Leigh Woods Toll House.
In the event of a fire, the lift will return to the ground floor. If you are unable to use the stairs, please wait for assistance at one of the first floor refuge points. These are located next to the lift and next to the fire exit in the Education Workshop. The Refuge Intercom connects to emergency telephones at the reception desk and in the entrance foyer of the building.
Customer care support