Clifton Suspension Bridge

I was going to write a really long post all about the Clifton Suspension Bridge, but then I realized that you can just go read the wikipedia entry just as easily.  So here’s the link.  (Bad Astrid! Lazy blogger!)

We took the bus from Bristol up the big hill to Clifton (and I can totally see why it was considered much healthier to live up here than down by the dirty river!), and walked along some cute streets  over to the edge of the gorge.  And boy, was it gorge-ous!  (Hee hee.) There are some lovely hotels with beautiful views across the valley. Next time we’ll have to go there for tea.

Silly me, I thought we were already at the top of the hill, but then Alex announced that we simply had to climb up to see the observatory at the very top, and enjoy the view looking down at the bridge. I was hesitant at first, but I have to admit that once I dragged my butt up there, it was totally worth it. (Note that I’m not calling it a mountain, because it isn’t one.)

The little observatory at the top of the hill was an old windmill, but a big storm blew off the propellers. There is also a small cave down inside the cliff-face; you can pay £2 to walk down an internally carved staircase to peer out from the mouth of the cave. We even saw a daredevil rock climbing. There was also a fairly sheer rockface, at about a 45 degree angle, that some teenagers were sliding down on their bums. You could see the rock there was darker and shinier than the rest of the rock, meaning that it must be pretty popular to slide there. I think those people are all idiots.

The bridge itself is cool — very big and impressive. I tried to be interested in all the engineering stuff the tourguide was telling us, but really I was just holding on tight because it was a pretty windy day! You can definitely feel the bridge move! (I know it’s supposed to do that, but I still think it’s scary.)  Our tour guide was a delightful old fellow who liked to make sound effects and be very dramatic, but unfortunately the crowding on the walkways caused us to ditch him about halfway through. The bridge was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the same guy who worked on the tunnel that we blogged about a few months ago. He seems to be popping up everywhere we go!

The Clifton Suspension Bridge was definitely one of the highlights of the weekend. I would love to come back in the fall, when they have the Balloon Fiesta (and hearing British people say “fiesta” is a riot, trust me) sometime in August, but I think we’ll have to maybe wait until next year. This summer is pretty much all booked up!

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Posted on 03/06/2010, in Exploring the UK, Transit, travel and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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