< Places of interest in Aberystwyth

Aberystwyth Cliff Railway & Camera Obscura

Aberystwyth Cliff Railway & Camera Obscura
Cliff Railway House,
Cliff Terrace,
SY23 2DN

Email: manager@aberystwythcliffrailway.co.uk
Website: www.aberystwythcliffrailway.co.uk
Adult: 3.50 return, 3.00 single
Child: 2.50 return, 2.00 single
Student: 2.80 return, 2.30 single
Seniors: 3.00 return, 2.50 single
Disabled: 2.40 return
Family (2 adults, 2 children): 11.00 return
Family (2 adults, 3-5 children): 13.00 return
We are open 7 days a week from mid-March until early November 10am 5pm.

We will also be open 5 days a week (Wednesday-Sunday) from November to March from 10am.

Trains run every few minutes.
At the northern end of Aberystwyth promenade Constitution Hill rises dramatically to provide a spectacular natural viewpoint. On a clear day it is possible to see 26 mountain peaks spanning much of the length of Wales.

The most relaxing way to enjoy this panorama is to travel by train on the longest electric cliff railway in Britain, which has been transporting visitors to the summit since opening in 1896.

Once at the summit visitors can experience the views afforded by the worlds largest camera obscura, which offers a birds eye view of 1000 square miles of land and seascape. Aside from these two technological masterpieces there are fascinating historical displays, a kids play area, a well-stocked gift shop, and a cafe selling delicious home-made snacks. With such a combination of attractions, and the opening of a new education centre in 2004, Constitution Hill is a great attraction for visitors of all ages.

Aberystwyth Cliff Railway

The Aberystwyth Cliff Railway opened in 1896 and operated on a water balance system until electrification in 1921. A powerful motor and high-tensile steel cables, supported by a sophisticated electronic safety system, haul the carriages to the summit at a stately 4 miles per hour.

As the train climbs steadily its passengers are treated to breathtaking views over the seaside town of Aberystwyth and the surrounding West Wales landscape. In the mid-section of the journey the railway is in a deep cutting where 12,000 tons of rock were excavated during construction to allow the winding footpath to cross overhead on a series of bridges.

The unique design of the undulating track and tilted carriages are the work of George Croydon Marks, a man who played a key role in several projects during the golden age of funicular construction and later made his name in politics as Lord Marks the liberal peer.

Constitution Hill was the Victorian predecessor of our modern-day theme parks and is still amongst the most popular attractions in the area. The visitors to the Victorian 'Luna Park' accessed the hilltop recreation area via the cliff railway and a century later it is still possible to retrace the steps of our ancestors on this funicular steeped in history.

Camera Obscura

This popular re-creation of a Victorian amusement has been one of the prime attractions in the area since its completion in 1985. The massive 14 inch lens makes it the worlds largest camera obscura and visitors can view the moving colour pictures that fascinated our forefathers. In our viewing gallery it is possible to observe 1000 square miles of land and seascape with remarkable clarity.

The first camera obscura was built in Aberystwyth in 1880 in the grounds of the castle, at the opposite end of the promenade, and was later re-located to Constitution Hill to give a better viewpoint. By the 1920's it had gone - a casualty of the public's changing demand for entertainment.

Today, our visitors benefit from a level of precision and clarity that the Victorians could barely have dreamed of, and the delightful camera obscura of the present day was almost entirely designed and manufactured in Wales. It provides a fascinating learning experience for the entire family, whether you wish to understand more about optical technology or simply spy on friends on the beach! No trip to the West coast of Wales would be complete without experiencing the Great Aberystwyth Camera Obscura.