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Explore Bristol from the skies in a hot air balloon

24/09/2019 philip Features

From its historic docks to its magnificent bridges, Bristol is awash with intriguing examples of man’s architectural achievements awaiting investigation. Home to hundreds of Listed buildings, Bristol has a multitude of masterpieces when it comes to design and engineering. While these locations can be fun to find and discover on foot, for a unique vantage, why not take to skies in a hot air balloon ride over Bristol?

Hot air balloons offer airborne adventures unlike any other, as drifting on the wind you’ll be able to peacefully enjoy the urban scenery of the beautiful city of Bristol. Unlike many other forms of flight, there’s no feeling of turbulence as you watch the world go by below from a passenger basket that hangs quite still below the balloon. Described as both tranquil and thrilling, riding in a balloon offers a gentle form of flying combined with the excitement and spectacular vistas witnessed from travelling at height.

The industrious genius of Brunel

From the sky above Bristol, you’ll witness several of the acclaimed successes of celebrated industrial genius Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Three of the Victorian engineer’s many masterpieces can be witnessed in this southwestern city. In its venerable Bristol docks, the mighty SS Great Britain stands, considered by some the most accessible and exciting historic ship in the world. First launched in 1843 offering luxurious passage to Australia and New York, it returned to Bristol in 1970 after being sold to the Falkland Islands.

Built to be used as a passenger terminal for railway travellers for Both Bristol and London Paddington, you also might see Brunel’s Temple Meads Station.

You’ll also see the splendour of perhaps Brunel’s most famous invention from a new perspective on your hot air balloon flight, the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Spanning the astounding beauty of the Avon Gorge, this remarkable crossing is not only a Grade I listed structure, but a symbol for the city of Bristol that has stood for well over a century.

Churches and cathedrals of Bristol

If you’re fortunate, you could sail over some of the city’s most revered religious buildings. Originally known as St. Augustine’s Abbey, Bristol Cathedral is breathtaking to behold when seen from above. Its elegant style of English Decorated Gothic is easily to identify along with its incredibly detailed pinnacle twin towers.

The St Mary Redcliffe Church may also be on your route, described famously as “the fairest, goodliest, and most famous parish church in England” by Queen Elizabeth I.

Sights of the city

As hot air balloons travel with the breeze, you never know quite what path they’ll take or just where they’ll come back to land, but this is all part of the adventure. There are endless treasures in Bristol to discover on your hot air balloon ride, from the protected animals in its garden zoo, to the beautiful boats found at the harbour side. You may even sight graceful buildings like Cabot Tower and Clifton House.

Wherever in the city your ride takes you, when travelling by hot air balloon, you can be sure of an excursion to remember and one you’ll want to enjoy again.

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