With a carnival atmosphere and festival fun, Bristol International Balloon Fiesta takes to the skies for the 39th year.
- When? 10th - 13th August 2017
- Where? Ashton Court Estate, Bristol
- Price: Free
If your idea of creative balloons stretches no further than a misshapen poodle at a children's birthday party, think again. Every August, the sky above Bristol hosts hundreds of hot air balloons at the annual Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. This festival-meets-carnival weekender offers some amazing moments, as the brightly coloured and themed balloons glide across the sky.
Held in Aston Court Country Estate, the free event (parking is extra) is one of the largest in Europe, attracting nearly half a million spectators each year. Mass balloon launches are held twice a day - at 6 a.m. (for early birds) and 6 p.m. One of the most iconic images of the festival are the balloons gliding dramatically over the Clifton Suspension Bridge; if you want good photos, get there at dawn.
Not all the festivities are in the air however - Bristol International Balloon Fiesta also features a large funfair, rides, bars and food stalls. If you visit on the Thursday, stick around for the 'Night Glow' which usually happens around 9.30 p.m. The balloons are inflated and glow in unison as music plays in time with the lights. Afterwards, there's a huge fireworks display to mark the opening of the fiesta.
2017 celebrates the 39th year of the event and if previous years are anything to go by, there'll be plenty of different themes. In the past, balloons have been in the shape of Disney characters, giant clocks and penguins - 2015 also saw the world's first solar powered hot air balloon. In recent years, light aircraft have joined the party, with Spitfires and the Red Arrows swooping through the skies and performing stunts. And not a wonky animal in sight.
- Get there: Drive to Ashton Court from Bristol City Centre or use local buses to get around.
- Stay: Book accommodation in Redcliffe - based near Bristol Temple Meads Station it's a short drive to Ashton Court.
Visit the balloon fiesta official website for more information.
*We do our very best to verify the dates of our events but please check with the official event provider before booking your flights. We would hate for you to be disappointed!