The Giants of Bristol New Book

The Giants of Bristol New Book

Clifton Observatory is delighted to introduce a new children’s book, The Giants of Bristol, written by Paula Bowles and Ian Johnson. The book brings to life the myth of the Giant’s Cave at the Observatory, with a tale of the friendly giants’ game of hide and seek in the city.   A magical story of giants at play, in the city of Bristol they frolic all day. Have a peek and take a look, at the mischief they cause inside out little book…   The original myth tells the story of how a giant named Ghyston created the cave in an attempt to win the heart of the lady Avona. In 1835 William West, owner of the Observatory from 1828-1861, dug a tunnel leading to Ghyston’s cave. Using West’s drawings of the Avon Gorge, Isambard Kingdom Brunel sumbitted designs for the Clifton Suspension Bridge, one of which proposed a road tunnel connecting the bridge to the Giant’s Cave. Brunel won the competition, although his ‘Giant’s Hole’ design was not chosen. The Giants of Bristol is a story of three giants; Goram, Ghyston and Avona, who live in the Giant’s Cave and love to play in their city. In The Giants of Bristol you will find out about their favourite games (have you ever played badminton over the Suspension Bridge?!) and the best giant hiding places…     Available at Clifton Observatory reception and online for £6.49...
Camera Obscura Day!

Camera Obscura Day!

  In celebration of Aristotle’s 2400th birthday, come and take part in a day of fun with cameras at Clifton Observatory. Wear an I-scura Climb into a Tri-clops Draw your own Canaletto Find out how to make your home into your own ‘walk in’ camera obscura! Come along to the Clifton Observatory on the Downs from 1pm till 4pm on Sunday 1st May (bank holiday weekend) where pinhole photographer Justin Quinnell will be showing you how the world should be seen – upside down! This is a free event, taking place outside the Clifton Observatory. Entry to the Clifton Observatory Camera Obscura and Giant’s Cave is £4 for adults and £2.50 for children under 14. www.pinholephotography.org  ...
Our beautiful city: a mural of Bristol

Our beautiful city: a mural of Bristol

  We’re excited to let you know about our new, very special mural; an artistic representation of beautiful Bristol. We teamed up with Paula Bowles, children’s book illustrator, earlier on the year to help design our Clifton Observatory Shaun the Sheep as part of the Shaun in the City project. Using our wonderful city as inspiration, Paula painted ‘A Sheep’s Eye View’ on our Shaun. She describes it as a ‘fun representation of our beautiful city of Bristol, focused around the harbour with lots of different landmarks popping up here and there’. We loved our Shaun so much that we wanted a similar design in the Clifton Observatory… something a bit more permanent! After a few days planning and designing, Paula got to work painting the wonderful new mural of Bristol. She tells us a little more about the idea behind the artwork… ‘There is a window half way up the staircase, which I felt was a key influence in the composition as it more or less ‘cuts’ the wall space in half. So I ended up composing the landscape around the window, and felt that the Suspension Bridge would fit well, with each tower either side of the window, and the bridge running underneath. This then meant that the composition would naturally mean the south of Bristol spread out to the left and the north of Bristol to the right hand side of the window.  I wanted to include a lot of detail in the mural for people to spend time looking at and to discuss, and to offer a different way of looking at a very familiar...
99 red balloons (and every other colour you can imagine) floating in the summer sky…

99 red balloons (and every other colour you can imagine) floating in the summer sky…

Bristol’s world famous International Balloon Fiesta has kicked off  and will be wowing crowds over the entirety of this weekend (Okay, there’s actually over 100 balloons, but we couldn’t resist the reference). Thursday (5th August) will see festivities kick off with a balloon launch at 6pm and fireworks at 9.45pm, followed by the spectacular that is the mass launch of all of the balloons from 6am to 8am on Friday (6th August) morning, with over 100 balloons taking to the sky as the sun rises. And where better to watch the event than from one of Bristol’s most famous landmarks and one of the highest points in Bristol, the Clifton Observatory?   The Observatory will be open from 6am on Friday and Saturday morning for the best view in town of the balloon launch, with free entry to the viewing platform from 6am to 10am. Especially for this amazing summer event will be the launch of a new mini cafe, the Clifton Observatory Coffee Room. Open to runners, dog walkers, bird watchers, visitors, coffee lovers and anyone who fancies starting their day with some fantastic food and drink whilst watching the launch of the balloons over the Avon Gorge. The café will feature one of the UK’s best coffee roasters Origin Coffee, as well as great name tea, beautiful cakes, baked goods, fruit, sandwiches, crisps, olives and ice cream. The café will be open from 6am on Friday and...
10 Things You’ll Know If You Live in Bristol

10 Things You’ll Know If You Live in Bristol

1. You might spend your first few months here struggling to understand the locals, but after a while you’ll find yourself using “mi luvver” with every other sentence, and “cheers drive!” when you’re getting off the bus. 2. Bristol has some of the WORST hills you’ll ever have to tackle in your life (looking at you Park St.)   3. But that also means that it has the absolutely BEST views.     4. Some pretty mental things can happen in Bristol, remember when we put a giant slide down the middle of Park St?   Or when 100 naked cyclists celebrated bikes and bodies to demonstrate the vulnerabilities of cyclists on crowded roads?   5. You’ll also know that when Shaun the Sheep comes to town it is the BEST time of the year Find out how to get on the trail here – http://shauninthecity.org.uk/   6. But the Bristol Balloon Fiesta is also pretty cool too (100 balloon all over the Bristol Skyline – awesome)   7. And you’ll know that the Bristol Harbour Festival is the best place to go for some amazing street food and fireworks by the harbour   8. The best place to drink (and we really mean drink) is the Coronation Tap or the “Corry Tap”in Clifton, exhibition strength cider, live music and a Cider Festival every August. 9. As we are home to the worlds most famous street artist Banksy, Bristol is a great place to find some street art. 10. And if you’re really a Bristolian you’ll have some Bristol Pounds in your pocket to spend around your favourite city ...
Shaun settles into his new home at Clifton Observatory

Shaun settles into his new home at Clifton Observatory

The Observatory’s very own Shaun the Sheep has been settling into his new pen this week and enjoying the baaa-eautiful weather as the Shaun in the City trail gets under way around Bristol. The Shaun’s arrived in style last week, coming over the suspension bridge on a tractor driven by Nick Park, creator of Shaun the Sheep and Wallace and Gromit, to take their long awaited places around the city. #TeamObservatory have been working hard to keep our Shaun comfortable as he looks over the Avon Gorge, we’ve kept him safe with his own pen, grass (okay, it might be astro turf) and a hearty supply of fresh hay as he receives his visitors. Our very own Shaun, “A Sheeps Eye View” has been designed by Paula Bowles, you can take a look at all of the designs here. We’ve also been enjoying seeing your photos of Shaun and the Observatory on social media, as you can see he’s already had a lot of visitors:   If you’re visiting us don’t forget to share your photo’s with us on Instagram @cliftonobservatory and twitter @clifton_observ. The Shaun sculptures will be grazing in iconic locations and tourist destinations all over Bristol from 6th July to 31st August, before going to auction alongside the 50 sculptures from the Shaun in the City London train from earlier this year. The Grand Appeal also organised the phenomenally successful Gromit Unleashed trail in 2013, which saw 80 sculptures raise more than £2.3 million for the campaign. Since 1995, The Grand Appeal has raised over £31 million to transform the lives of sick babies and children...