Royal York Crescent was once reputed to be the longest terrace in Europe. By walking along this elevated terrace, you can appreciate its incredible architecture as well as stunning views of Bristol harbour.
Most of the mediaeval Clifton buildings were destroyed by Prince Rupert during the English Civil War (1642-46), none of which remain today. What can be see is a vista of Georgian and Regency architecture – terraces, crescents and squares – visible from afar on the cliffs that gave the place its name.
Perhaps the most well-known of the terrraces is Royal York Crescent. Set on the hillside, it is majestically visible from the gorge below and across the harbour.
Building began in 1791 over gardens and orchards belonging to a mansion built by a 17th century landowner. In 1812 three unfinished houses were being advertised in the London newspapers by a builder named Westcott, stating that the situation was now better in Bristol.
In fact the crescent was not completed until 1820, due to money problems brought on by war with the French. During this time the site, with its unfinished houses, was bought by the War Department who considered building barracks there. Persuaded by public opinion against this scheme, they sold it to a developer who finished the work.