Rediscovered in 2002, the vaulted chambers in the Leigh Woods Abutment are an atmospheric piece of Brunelian engineering. Intrepid adventurers (over 7 years old) can don a hard hat, descend a ladder and peek through the door into Vault 4. You’ll be able to take a look into one of twelve chambers beneath the tower and see how the thick red sandstone walls were built on and around the sloping limestone rock of the Avon Gorge. Spot the stalactites forming on the ceiling and rubble left by Victorian builders.
Want to know how we care for the bridge? Our Maintenance Workshops (in the Bridgemaster’s Yard) will be open once again with a display of tools, equipment and bits of bridge (old and new)! Find out how we clear ice and snow from the bridge in winter, how we remove and maintain parts – and how we reach the saddles and chain at the tops of the towers or the cross girders under the deck.
The world famous Clifton Suspension Bridge was the far-fetched 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 dedicated to the engineer. The bridge is illuminated each evening, lighting up half an hour before sunset. Photographers may like to visit the viewpoints on Sion Hill or at the Cumberland Basin.