The architecture of Clifton Village in Bristol is fundamentally Georgian in design and gives an elegant feel to this vibrant part of an exciting city.
In general, Georgian architecture is simple and understated, creating the appearance of space and light. And because Bristol is on the estuary of the River Severn, the light from the water almost seems to fill the streets reflected from the large windows, some of which reach almost to the ground.
Many people consider Bristol to be a modern city and in some respects that is true, but there are pockets of 18th and 19th Century elegance such as Clifton Village, which enable the visitor to step out of the modern world and see how the previous residents of Bristol lived. In the heart of Clifton Village is the Clifton Arcade, a Victorian arcade of shops that perfectly demonstrates the difference between the architecture of the Victorians and the Georgians.
While the houses lining the streets of Clifton Village are typically understated, Clifton Arcade is a riot of Victorian Gothic, with a soaring glass roof that might make you think the Crystal Palace has come to Bristol. From the mock-Moorish pierced windows to the frieze along the upper storey, nothing in the Arcade is understated; in fact it comes across as a celebration of Bristol’s standing as a port and major centre of commerce. The shops that now occupy it are very different to those that were there when it first opened in 1878, but it remains a fascinating place to visit.