The Great British Adventure

A collection of our journeys and discoveries
from across the land.

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Heading West: Clifton, Bristol
28 February | Adventures

Our latest adventure takes us to Clifton, home of the famous Observatory and Brunel's Suspension Bridge. 

Clifton Suspension BridgeOur journeys and adventures through Britain have taken us to some beautiful locations, but few have had the same effect on us, as Clifton village. 

By the late evening, we were slowing to a standstill outside every estate agent window. We were working out how many removal vans we might need to get everything we own down to Bristol.

The first thing any visitor might notice is the abundance of beautiful Georgian buildings, including the stunning Royal Crescent, a grand sweeping architectural statement that was home to Bristol's shipping magnates in the 17th and 18th centuries, and which remains one of the most sought-after addresses in the city. 

After that, it might be the plentiful green spaces, assorted independent delis and wonderful cafés that catch a new visitor's eye. Each are reasons to visit, but it's the general atmosphere of easy bonhomie and relaxation that the village radiates, which made the biggest impression on us. 

Clifton is the sort of place that encourages a man's inner flâneur - that's someone who enjoys aimless wandering, in case it's a new one on you - out into the open. It certainly tempted such an impulse out of us, and aimless walking - a lot of it, too - is exactly what we did on our visit. 

On an unseasonably warm winter's mid-morning, we start at the Primrose Cafe

Recommended to us by a knowledgeable local, it's an intimate and welcoming little bistro, where we tucked into a thoroughly good breakfast of sautéed Portobello & chestnut mushrooms on sour dough toast. 

Suitably sated, we explore our way through the little maze of shops in the Victorian-era Clifton shopping arcade, whose ornate Venetian-inspired ironwork and beautiful sharp-angled glass roof were every bit as noteworthy and appetising as the great grub at the Primrose.

From there, we plough on, through Clifton's neat and busy centre, past beautiful houses which manage to look, as the best old homes do, both spotlessly neat and well lived-in. 

Classic cars achieve the same trick; so too, the most stylish of older gents. 

By this point, we are already satisfied that this is a place we would very much like to call home, but what seals the deal is a visit to (and a long-distance sighting of) the two major attractions to which Clifton gives its name: the Clifton Observatory and the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Perched high up on The Downs, the views from the Observatory take in some of the greenest and most pleasant land in the country; out across Avon Gorge and down onto the bridge below. 

As the warm winter sun and absence of anything more than a gentle breeze forces jackets to be unzipped and bobble hats to be removed entirely, we tell our companion for the day of our plans to move out here. 

Property, they tell us, is unsurprisingly hard to come by. We look for a patch of level ground around us. Worst case, we'll just pitch a tent here, we say. 

The Sunday Times says Clifton is one of the best places to live in the country. We agree.



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