If you are planning a trip to Bristol or the surrounding area in August, don't miss out on the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. No matter whether you're looking to tour the city from above, or watch the skies get filed with hot air balloons, Bristol should be on your summer travel list. Read on to find out everything you need to know about the Balloon Fiesta taking place from the 8th to 11th of August.
Where it all started
In 1970, hot air balloon creator, Don Cameron, founded Cameron Balloons Ltd. He was the adventurous type, and not afraid to try new and amazing flights with his balloons. The early days of ballooning always offered some new pioneering adventures, like flying over the Sahara Desert and the Alps. Don wanted to be the first to cross the Atlantic, and set out to do so in 1978. Unfortunately, the hot air balloon ended in the sea about 100 miles from France. Luckily it didn't end in disaster, and without knowing it at the time, this was to be the beginning of something big.
Afterwards, his fellow trip members of the Bristol Junior Chamber wanted to hear all about Don’s exploits. During an evening in a pub, the idea of the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta was born, and was first held the following year, in 1979. It is now Europe’s largest annual festival of its kind, the second biggest in the world and one of the biggest outdoor events in the UK.
Up, up and away!
Every four days in the summer, this event gathers half a million visitors on the idyllic grounds of Ashton Court Estate. Everyone is here to see one thing; the colorful balloons of all shapes and sizes lift off into the open sky above the city. This four day aerial program starts with a big on the first day with the first balloon tethering at 12:00 pm to mark the start of the fiesta and ends with a wonderful display of fireworks - a great beginning to a festival synonymous with Bristol city. On the remaining days the fiesta starts at 6:00 am with a sunrise mass hot air balloon lift. Be sure to start your day with a Super Breakfast from the Radisson Blu Hotel, Bristol so you're ready for a full day of ballooning. Each day you can head to the Arena Entertainment with the whole family for games, carousels rides, face painting, live concerts and bands and much more! This amazing spectacle of more than 130 hot air balloons taking off at dawn, and lighting up the sky at night, is something you surely will remember for the rest of your life. If this happens to be your first hot air balloon ride, then be sure to check out this blog of the balloons over Vilnius that has all the tips you need to know for your first flight!
When in Bristol, you will surely want to stay in the city center so you will be well connected to the fiesta as well as the great attractions the city has to offer. The Radisson Blu Hotel, Bristol is the comfortable spot in the city center, making it the ideal base. When you visit with kids, they are sure to receive a warm welcome with the family-friendly offers ranging from family rooms, free stays for children under 16 years of age when staying in the family room, and much more! When you're looking for a hearty British brasserie style meal, head to the Collage restaurant where you can find everything from a heart steak, to smoked haddock and a classic British cheeseboard.
Psst! You even get a view of the hot air balloons in action as captured by the live view below!