CLIFTON SUSPENSION BRIDGE
This Bridge might not be the most famous bridge in the World, but it is an astonishing feat of engineering, the pride and symbol of Bristol and a dizzying vantage point from which to enjoy astonishing views.
The Clifton Suspension Bridge spans 412 across the Avon Gorge and the River Avon at a height of 101m. It is a Grade I listed structure built in 1864 and designed by William Henry Barlow and John Hawkshaw based on an earlier design by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The Bridge was Brunel’s first major commission. He won a competition funded by a wealthy wine merchant. However political squabbles occurred and the bridge was built after Brunel’s death.
The bridge has been a major attraction for the last 150 years and has become far more than a perch with a beautiful view. There is a lot more to see and do all around the bridge and its location makes for the perfect day out. A visitor centre has been built to the Somerset side and on its other side, the Clifton Observatory is perched upon a hill. In the observatory is one of the last and only Camera Obscura in Britain. A bridleway leads up to the observatory and along it, a smooth rock face has become an impromptu slide.
After visiting the Clifton Suspension Bridge and Bristol Observatory we pushed on, to the Bristol Zoo. Bristol Zoo is the oldest zoological park in the UK and opened it’s doors to the public in 1836. It shelters more than 400 different creatures and it’s nine houses mean it’s a great destination even in bad weather. The research led by this institution has saved at least 17 species from extinction. And let’s face it the animals are simply cute.
By far my favourite part of the Bristol Zoo is the Gorilla House. This is a recent 1 billion pound addition to the zoo and lets you get right up close to the gorillas. Gorilla’s by nature do not enjoy being watched and can’t even become aggressive. Zoos all other the world have designed innovative enclosures for these shy animals. At Bristol Zoo and overhead Glass Panel Bridge lets you watch the Gorillas run, play fight and lay from below.