The best locations for photographing Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol

If you’re looking for a guide to the best locations for photographing Clifton Suspension Bridge, you’ve come to the right place…

Clifton Suspension Bridge is Bristol’s most photographed landmark. Completed in 1864, it was the creation of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. It is a spectacular marvel of engineering – straddling the Avon Gorge with its’ steep sides – connecting Clifton on one side to Abbots Leigh on the opposite side.

It is an iconic sight and something which greets any visitor to the city arriving from that side of Bristol.

A guide to the best locations for photographing Clifton Suspension Bridge

There are many locations to photograph Clifton Suspension Bridge, and in this article I will cover the best ones.

If you use this guide, please don’t forget to give me a shout out when you post any photos, I’d love to see what you capture!

Clifton Village

There’s no better place to start than right where the bridge is.

Clifton Suspension Bridge connects Clifton Village to Abbots Leigh. On the Clifton side of the bridge there are lots of photo options. The Georgian terrace of Sion Hill has plenty of great angles. From the viewing platform by the side of the Gorge, to the grassy park area closer to the bridge itself. I like to use the trees in this small grassy section to frame a composition with the bridge in.

Clifton Suspension Bridge from Sion Hill
Clifton Suspension Bridge from Sion Hill

Walk up to the bridge itself – there’s a great spot to position yourself right by the left side of the tower. It is from here on foggy morning that you can get the classic “disappearing into a void” bridge photo.

A foggy Clifton Suspension Bridge
A foggy Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol

Another option is the centre of the road before the toll houses, on the crossing. It’s a good spot for doing light trails at night.

Cross over the bridge to the Abbots Leigh side. I love taking photos looking back across the bridge, using a telephoto to compress the scene.

Golden hour at Clifton Suspension Bridge
Looking back across the bridge during golden hour

You can stop by the tower here again – for the equivalent “void’ shot on a foggy morning. I like the left hand side of the tower, because at sunrise, it’s possible on a misty morning to get light rays cutting back across. You also have Clifton Observatory forming part of the composition. It’s a classic image.

Misty Clifton Suspension Bridge fine art photo print
Misty golden light across the Avon Gorge

The right tower makes for great images featuring the terraced houses of Sion Hill. Again, on a misty morning it’s a great spot – the sun will eventually rise above the terrace and you can capture fantastic misty rays.

A misty morning in Clifton Village
Misty rays of light across Clifton – looking towards Sion Hill

Walk further along and into the middle of the road between the toll houses (watch the traffic – it is a busy spot here). I love the cobbled section of the road here. Further along and you can feature the toll booths, which themselves form quite an interesting part of the composition.

Clifton Suspension Bridge sunburst
Summer sunrise from the Abbots Leigh side of the bridge

Clifton Observatory

Sitting on a section of Clifton Down just above Clifton Suspension Bridge is Clifton Observatory. It’s an interesting photographic location in itself, and many of my photos (including drone ones) feature it, alongside the bridge. It is also a fantastic location for getting an angle of the bridge itself.

Clifton Suspension Bridge covered in mist
The view from above – Clifton Observatory and the bridge on a misty morning

Walk up alongside the fence overlooking the Gorge – there are number spots to get a good photo. More often that not you will see a gaggle of tripods set up here. I like to use a wider angle – 14mm or 20mm – when I’m stood by the section immediately next to the Observatory, as you can fit both towers of the bridge in, however it suits any focal length here, great for isolating the towers, such as in the image below.

Fine art print of Clifton Suspension Bridge
Blue hour at Clifton Suspension Bridge

Carry on along and follow the path as it dips down, round the corner, for a great spot looking directly towards the bridge from the lower angle.

Misty light trails at Clifton Suspension Bridge
Light trails before sunrise

Clifton Observatory is also a prime location for when the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is on – you’ll need to get here very, very early – you won’t find a more packed spot for the fiesta than here.

Bristol Balloon Fiesta Clifton Suspension Bridge flyby
Bristol Balloon Fiesta Clifton Suspension Bridge flyby

Clifton Downs / Sea Walls

There are some fantastic spots along the side of Clifton Downs, looking back towards the bridge. Head up to the Downs and follow the road around towards Sea Walls at the far corner. Enroute, there is one great lookout. Continue to Sea Walls, for a fantastic spot to set up.

Clifton Down Sea Walls view of Clifton Suspension Bridge
Avon Gorge on a misty morning, taken from Sea Walls
Misty Avon Gorge and Clifton Suspension Bridge
A closer view of Clifton Suspension Bridge, from Clifton Down

Cumberland Basin

This is my favourite location for images of the bridge at sunset and particularly when there is a high tide. There are 3 main spots you can set up at, depending on how much of the city you want to include in the photo.

Clifton Suspension Bridge sunset high tide
High tide during a fiery sunset at Cumberland Basin

Park on Brunel Lock Road. There’s always parking along here – just check the parking meter.

It’s a short walk to the first spot, which appears as ‘Avon Gorge Viewpoint’ on Google Maps. Check the high tide times for Cumberland Basin, and look out for it coinciding with sunset or sunrise. Sunset works best as the sun will set towards that side of the city, so you can often be treated to a fantastic backdrop for the bridge.

There is a second viewpoint in a section halfway across the Plimsoll Swingbridge – great for a closer image of the bridge.

Head over the Brunel Way bridge and follow the path around, heading to the opposite side of the Avon Gorge. Alongside the river here gives you another great view, again excellent at high tide. This is a great spot for the Balloon Fiesta – if the wind takes them the right way, you can get a great balloon reflection as they pass by the bridge.


Down underneath the bridge runs Portway – the long A road which follows the river along the Avon Gorge. It’s a great location to drop down to for photos – whether catching a high tide reflection or attempting night time light trails. If you’re doing this, switch to a wider angle and get low down and close to the bridge.

Leigh Woods

It’s a bit of a walk, but one of my favourite views in the city is actually from Leigh Woods. After parking at the first section (rather than the main carpark), follow the path directly forward, through the gates, and then forward again – following the path to head towards the Avon Gorge. Eventually you will find your way towards an incredible outlook point, with views overlooking the bridge and towards Clifton.

Clifton Suspension Bridge in Winter
A snowy Clifton Suspension Bridge from Leigh Woods


There are some fantastic long range views of the Suspension Bridge, particularly great for the Balloon Fiesta. Dundry is one of these. Sitting in the hills above south Bristol, it has an elevated position, giving a great angle. You’ll need a long focal length for this – at least 200mm, ideally 400mm.

Clifton Suspension Bridge through the mist, from Dundry
Clifton Suspension Bridge through the mist, from Dundry

Maes Knoll

At the other end of the Dundry Down hills of south Bristol lies Maes Knoll, an Iron Age hill fort. It’s another great elevated spot for views of the city. I’ve caught some great cloud inversions from here and again, it’s a perfect spot to catch the Balloon Fiesta.

Bristol Balloon Fiesta Clifton Suspension Bridge fly-by
Bristol Balloon Fiesta Clifton Suspension Bridge fly-by

Victoria Park and Perrett’s Park

Bristol is hilly and the south of the city is no exception. Knowle and Totterdown sit in an elevated position overlooking the centre of the city, and towards Clifton and beyond. Two parks there have particularly great views – the southern section of Victoria Park is one, and then there is my personal favourite, Perrett’s Park.

This is a fantastic place to watch the Balloon Fiesta, with views towards Ashton Court, as well as the Suspension Bridge. As luck would have it, it also aligns with the occasional moonset.

Full moon setting over Clifton Suspension Bridge - featured in Astronomy Photographer of the Year
Full moon setting over Clifton Suspension Bridge – featured in Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Fine art Clifton Suspension Bridge photo prints

If you are looking for a Clifton Suspension Bridge print, check out my Print Shop. I have lots of bridge prints – and plenty more I can add from my Instagram account. Just drop me a message and I can add them. If you are looking for a Clifton Suspension Bridge canvas or wall art, I can quote for these too.

Let me know what you think

I hope you have enjoyed this guide to the best locations for photographing Clifton Suspension Bridge. If you have any spots I’ve missed, please let me know in the comments below!

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