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One of my favourite places to visit in the seaside town of Clevedon is the Clevedon Lookout Tower, locally known as the Sugar Lookout.
As it’s placed high on the clifftops, you get a birds-eye view of the Victorian pier, Bristol Channel, and Severn estuary far in the distance.
This curious observation post was first built in 1835 as a way to look out for the arrival of sugar ships from the West Indies.
Nowadays, it’s a breathtaking stop on the Poet’s Walk where you can follow in the footsteps of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Alfred Tennyson!
Although it’s only a small folly, it’s steeped in local history. Here’s a complete guide for the Sugar Lookout in Clevedon with the history and how to find this incredible viewpoint!
The history of Clevedon Lookout Tower & Sugar Trade
The Clevedon Lookout was built in 1835 by Ferdinand Beeston who owned the Salt House.
Later, it was acquired by The Finzel family who were wealthy sugar traders and built the impressive Clevedon Hall (originally Frankfurt Hall) with their profits.
Although many sugar traders around Bristol and the South West are associated with plantation profits off the backs of slave trading. Conrad Finzel I established his sugar business in 1838, five years after slavery was abolished in 1833.
He was German and arrived in England in 1810 without a penny to his name. He also couldn’t speak any of the English language.
He made his fortune designing a machine that perfected the refinement of sugar and pledged a third of his profits to charity! So, he was quite a rare character for his time.
The Finzel family used this lookout to enjoy views over the Bristol Channel and watch sugar ships making their way into the harbour from Jamaica.
Unfortunately, this curious folly tower fell into ruin during the 20th century. So, the Clevedon Civic Society undertook a renovation project to return it to its former glory in the year 2000! The grand re-opening was to celebrate their 35th anniversary.
Today, it’s a highlight of the Poets’ Walk which takes you over the cliffs of Clevedon. It’s open for everyone to stop awhile and enjoy the spectacular panoramic views.
Where is the Sugar Lookout in Clevedon?
The Clevedon Lookout can be found perched on the clifftops just above Marine Lake on the Clevedon seafront.
It’s included as a stop on the famous Poet’s Walk which takes you from Clevedon Pier up on through to Church Hill and Wain’s Hill.
The walk get its name from two English poets who visited the area. These were Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1795 and Alfred Tennyson in 1834. They were both inspired by the quaint charm of this town.
The walk is only 1.7 miles long and will take around an hour at a leisurely pace.
It will take you through woodlands, an Iron Age Fort, World War II pill-boxes, and breathtaking views across the Bristol Channel.
But, if you’re not up for a long walk, it’s still worth walking up the hill to see the Sugar Lookout. You can get there on a short, steep climb from the Marine Lakeside.
How to visit & directions
From Clevedon Pier, you can head out on the Poet’s Walk which will take you along the promenade by the seafront. You’ll pass the Victorian bandstand and the signature windswept trees!
Carry on towards the Clevedon Arcade on your left and you’ll eventually arrive at Marine Lake. This recently had an £850,000 renovation, so you’ll see lots of swimmers braving the cold sea waters to take a dip!
If you carry on the path around Marine Lake, you’ll eventually see a sign to continue on the Poets Walk which points you towards a set of stairs leading up inside the woodland.
Take the first set of stairs and then make a sharp right. Follow the upper path besides Marine Lake until you reach a small lookout point.
From here, take a left and you’ll see a steep set of stairs that take you up the cliffside. After the steps, you’ll then be walking up a steep hill.
You’ll find the Clevedon Lookout Tower on this pathway. Although you may be pretty breathless when you arrive, it’s worth the climb for the fabulous views you can enjoy here!
Save the Sugar Lookout location below!
What can you see from the Clevedon Lookout tower?
Once you’re up here, you’ll be following in the footsteps of the Finzel family. They used this observation point to enjoy sweeping views of the Bristol Channel and watch out for ships sailing in.
There are three windows in this folly tower and all provide amazing views of the surrounding area.
By far my favourite is the window to the right, which perfectly frames a view of Clevedon Pier and the town! You’ll also be able to spot the River Severn Estuary.
It makes a great photo stop, so make sure to have your camera ready!
In the middle and left windows, you’ll be looking out towards Wales over the Bristol Channel. On a clear day, you can see for miles and miles out to sea.
Opening times and prices
The Sugar Lookout Tower is completely FREE to visit which makes it even sweeter. So, it’s a great budget activity and thing to do while you’re here!
It’s also open 24 hours a day, so you can visit whenever you like.
Personally, one of my favourite times to visit the lookout is at sunset when you can see the sun setting over Clevedon pier and the sky changes colour.
Continue on the Poet’s Walk!
So, once you’re finished with the views, you can carry on the famous Poets Walk which will take you over the cliffs.
You can walk up the zig-zag path in the woodlands over to Church Hill and then Wain’s Hill which is an ancient Iron Age hill fort.
In the woodlands, you should keep your eyes peeled for wildlife that makes a home here!
For poetry fans, you can make a stop at the Tennyson sculpture which includes lines from his poems. Broadchurch fans will also love St Andrew’s Church which was a filming location.
There’s Salthouse Fields, a peninsular path over to some World War pillboxes, and another stone circle lookout point to enjoy over the cliffs.
The whole walk is extremely scenic and shouldn’t take longer than an hour! Bring some good walking shoes for the rough terrain.
Click here for a map, details, and directions
Looking for more things to do in Clevedon?
I used to live in Weston-Super-Mare and Clevedon was one of my favourite places to visit on the Somerset coast.
It’s a quaint, Victorian seaside town that has lots to offer visitors at any time of year!
The jewel in its crown really has to be the Grade I listed Clevedon Pier which was built in the 1860s.
It tragically collapsed in the 1970s and had a multi-million-pound renovation project to revive it. Today, it’s won the ‘Pier of the Year’ award three times running!
You can pay your fee in the historic Toll House and walk along the pier out over the Severn estuary.
Underneath the pier, you’ll often find locals sunbathing on the rocks as it’s a bit of a sun trap.
After that, you can enjoy a walk along the seafront, visit one of the many cafés like Tiffin or enjoy a pub lunch in the Moon and Sixpence.
There’s also the Clevedon arcade, Marine Lake, Clevedon Miniature Railway, and some cute shops to pop into.
Don’t miss a visit to Clevedon on your trip to Somerset!
Read more of my posts on Somerset
How to visit SEE MONSTER in Weston-super-Mare
The abandoned Victorian pier of Weston-super-Mare
Visiting the Oldest Residential Street in Europe
See the oldest astronomical clock in Wells
A walking guide for Glastonbury Tor
Discover the hidden gem of Burrow Mump
Jane Austen places to visit in Bath
The history of Rickford Chapel
Clifftop Cheddar Gorge walk guide