What to do in Clifton when the sun shines
By SimonPeevers | Sunday, April 10, 2011, 19:23
It's been a fantastic weekend in Sunny Clifton where it felt like summer had really arrived, properly hot and plenty of sunburn to be treated in the morning.
The Downs in the sun on Sunday afternoon.
I took a couple of snaps while up on the Downs earlier, mid afternoon, and the place was plenty busy with people having picnics, playing ball games and lighting the odd barbecue, which is of course against the rules and there was at least one chap in a hi viz vest going round the place keeping an eye on that.
Clifton has to be the best place to be in the summer, with so much green space to enjoy the sunshine in, as well as fantastic restaurants and bars to frequent and imbibe in the heat.
If you are looking for things to do in the BS8 area in the warm weather, the terrace at the Avon Gorge Hotel is always very popular, offering some of the best views of the Clifton Suspension Bridge while knocking back a nice chilled bottle of wine or beer, sensibly of course.
The Downs is a huge open space which I feel very lucky to have on my doorstep. Even when it's as busy as it was today, including the arrival of the fair, you can always find a corner to yourself to break out the picnic blanket and egg sarnies.
A sunny day like to do is also ideal for spending time at the Observatory. Not only is it a great area generally to pitch up at to take in the views, but the camera obscura works best on sunny days. And while you're there you should head down to the caves which look out over Avon Gorge and provide some more amazing views, and a unique perspective.
If you're after a bit of splashing around you could always head down to the Lido, which has only been open a short time in Clifton, but is already a very popular attraction. It is on the site of the original Clifton Lido which was closed down and derelict for decades before being refurbished and reopened in the last couple of years.
If you enjoy a bit of a walk in the woods you could pop into Leigh Woods on the other side of the Suspension Bridge, which covers a huge swathe of the North Somerset side of the Avon Gorge. Watch out for mountain bikers though, it's a popular spot.
Alternatively Ashton Court provides hundreds of acres of parkland where you can spot deer and other wildlife.
Of course the best place to see beautiful animals up close is Bristol Zoo Gardens, probably the biggest family attraction in Bristol, let alone Clifton, and world famous for its conservation research. There's so much to see, you probably need at least half a day to get round it.
Clifton is also a great place to just laze around on a hot day, dipping in and out of shops or having coffee and something to eat in any of its cafes or bars. There is always something to do.