20 Pictures that Will Make you Want to go Hot-Air Ballooning Right Now

I had the chance to fly up to the sky and date a rainbow at the 37th Bristol International Balloon Festival, the largest of its kind in Europe. This spectacular event attracted about half a million visitors to the gorgeous grounds of Bristol’s Ashton Court. I was lucky enough to not just admire the colourful hot-air balloons taking off, but to get closer to them, get a masterclass from the famous pilots and even to ride in a balloon.

37th International Balloon Festival

During the four sunny days, visitors could admire six ascents and more than 130 colourful balloons of different shapes and sizes, including Stuart the Minion, a pair of penguins, a pirate ship and many more. For the first time, a brand new hybrid solar-powered balloon was launched here. The 37th International Festival has been declared the most successful in its history.  

Balloon Fiesta in Bristol

Getting ready for the fiesta at the launch site.  

37th International fiesta in Bristol

International Festival in Bristol

Getting the balloons up in the air is not easy and takes the efforts of a team of five or even more people.

Hot air balloon festival in Bristol

International hot air fiesta in Bristol

Our pilot, Andy Martin, from a team sponsored by the demolition company, Penny Plant, inflating the balloon.

Hot air balloon in Ashton Court

The first modern hot-air balloon in Western Europe was created by Don Cameron and launched in 1967. Two years later, the first fiesta opened with the ascent of 27 hot-air balloons from Bristol's Ashton Court.

how to ride the balloon

This basket has a very unusual boarding technique – horizontal. Not only do the shapes of the balloons vary, the gondolas can also be very different. We saw baskets for three, four and even sixteen people. The record is held by a hot-air balloon with a double-decker gondola and… 35 people on board!  

Hot air balloon in Bristol

Hot air balloons flights in Bristol

37th International Festival in Bristol

Amazing hot air festival in United Kingdom

Hot air balloon

How to learn to ride a balloon

Our Penny Plant hot-air balloon is ready for take-off!

Where to fly hot air balloon in Bristol

My first picture after I gathered my thoughts. I had always dreamed of riding in a balloon, but I never thought it would happen so quickly. The feeling of freedom, height and tranquility is amazing.    

Amazing flight in Bristol

Fantastic vistas over Bristol city.

Clifton Suspension Bridge

A balloon flies over the main landmark of Bristol – the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Amazing view of Bristol

Bristol from above is gorgeous.

What to do in Bristol

How to learn ride a hot air balloon

Unusual hot air balloons

A pair of penguins – a boy and a girl - soars over the city. Puddles and Splash made their debut at the fiesta, their first date. And who knows? Maybe next year we will see them again with baby penguin balloons...

Balloons of different shapes and sizes

Hot air balloon evening flight

37th International hot air balloon in Bristol

Largest hot air festival in Europe

37th International festival in Bristol

How long hot air balloon flight last

I was so impressed with the flight and the incredible views that I forgot to ask how we were flying back, and where the steering wheel of this device was. Then my pilot Andy said: “This is a one-way flight, young lady”.

So, after an unforgettable 55-minute flight we landed in a field around 40 km away from the launch site. I had my feet back on solid ground, tired but happy.  

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I still remember my first trip. It was to London. I fell in love with this city the moment I saw it. Just - "click", and my heartbeat quickened. I was chosen by it. Red and funny double-decker buses, serious black cabs, the gorgeous Buckingham palace... That's it! I am your admirer forever! From that moment I have visited many places and have been to many countries. Traveling became my passion. My long lasting love, which I hope will never end.

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