The cool and trendy city of Bristol is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK. Nestled in the Severn Estuary, Bristol enjoys some of the warmest weather and most sunshine in the country thanks to its oceanic climate. All of this makes it the perfect backdrop for a bit of exploration by hot air balloon.
Ascending from Ashton Court Estate, a ride in a hot air balloon will take you over the historic city and its geologically unique surroundings. Ashton Court is a country park dating from the 16th century and it is home to 850 acres of woodland and a deer park, making it a wonderful place to start a Bristolian air adventure. Bristol is famous for its relationship with the engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel whose iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge spans the Avon Gorge. Once in the air, you can marvel at this engineering masterpiece. Beyond the bridge you will see the National Trust forest known as Leigh Woods. The Avon Gorge is carved from limestone and winds its way from the city centre to the end of the river at Avonmouth. Along the way you might catch a glimpse of one of the three iron age hill forts overlooking the striking gorge. Further south, the Cheddar Gorges come into view. These extraordinary limestone formations are never better seen than from a bird’s eye vantage point.
Once over the city centre, iconic landmarks like Brunel’s boat the SS Great Britain which sits in a dry dock by the river can be seen. Nearby are the bustling redeveloped harbourside and the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. Millennium Square is home to contemporary theatres, bars, art galleries and art studios. The award-winning Arnolfini art gallery displays contemporary art collections housed in a former 19th Century warehouse by the harbour. Further afield you will see Westonbirt; a 600-acre arboretum home to 3,000 different species of tree. You might also see some intrepid explorers making their way along the treetop walkways.
Balloon manufacture in Bristol is a thriving industry. Moreover, Bristol is the proud host of the annual International Bristol Balloon Fiesta, which takes place every August and sees balloon aficionados and enthusiasts descend on the city from far and wide. Based in Ashton Court Estate, the Fiesta is one of the largest in Europe and attracts over 130 balloons. The famous musical ‘night glow’ is a firm festival favourite. Quirky, intriguing balloons are sure to make an appearance. In previous years, balloons shaped like Minions, Bertie Bassett, a supermarket trolley and Rupert the Bear have wowed festival visitors.
Bristol is known as the hot air ballooning capital of the UK and, given the striking views you can see from the basket of a hot air balloon, it’s not hard to see why. Visit it year-round to see these marvellous vistas for yourself. Bailey Balloons offers fantastic hot air balloon adventures in the Bristol skies, promising you memories (and photo opportunities) you will cherish forever.