Bristol Balloon Fiesta: flight times, line-up, best places to watch, parking

A spectacular festival celebrating hot air balloons will take place in Bristol this weekend.

The skies over the city will be filled with planes over the next few days.

Bristol Balloon Fiesta has been around since 1979 and is one of the biggest events of its kind in Europe.

People from all over the world will bring their balloons to participate in the event.

If you’re thinking of going, here’s everything you need to know:

When is Bristol Balloon Fiesta?

The event begins on Thursday August 11 and will continue until Sunday August 14.

Mass climbs take place at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., depending on the weather.

The festival started at noon today (August 11).

Where does it take place?

The Bristol Balloon Fiesta takes place at Ashton Court, an estate just outside Bristol.

If you plan to attend, the full address is: Ashton Court, Bristol, BS41 9JN.

Do you need tickets?

It’s a free event and you don’t need tickets to attend the Bristol Balloon Fiesta.

What are the schedules and composition of the flights?

Mass climbs will take place at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday – as well as at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

Several other activities will also take place throughout the day.

Here is the complete program:

  • 12 p.m. – Opening of the party
  • 12:30 p.m. – Captive balloons
  • 12:30 p.m. – Balloon models
  • 3 p.m. – Inflation Race
  • 4 p.m. – Skydiving
  • 6:00 p.m. – Mass Ascension in memory of Phil Dunnington
  • 8:30 p.m. – Miniature balloon glow
  • 9 p.m. – Glow of the Night
  • 6:00 a.m. – Mass Ascent
  • 11:30 a.m. – Balloon models
  • 12 p.m. – Aircraft models
  • 1 p.m. – Captive balloons
  • 3:30 p.m. – Inflation Race
  • 4 p.m. – Skydiving
  • 6:00 p.m. – Mass Ascent
  • 6:00 a.m. – Mass Ascent
  • 10am – GWAAC Helicopter Tours
  • 11:30 am – Broke FMX
  • 12 p.m. – Aircraft models
  • 1 p.m. – Captive balloons
  • 2 p.m. – Inflation Race
  • 4 p.m. – Skydiving
  • 5pm – Broken FMX
  • 6:00 p.m. – Mass Ascent
  • 9 p.m. – Glow of the Night
  • 6:00 a.m. – Mass Ascent
  • 11 a.m. – Aircraft models
  • 11:30 a.m. – Balloon models
  • 12:30 p.m. – Broke FMX
  • 1 p.m. – Captive balloons
  • 2 p.m. – Inflation Race
  • 4 p.m. – Skydiving
  • 5pm – Broken FMX
  • 6:00 p.m. – Mass Ascent
Bristol International Hot Air Balloon Festival. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Is there parking?

If you are driving to Ashton Court, parking is available.

Directions to parking lots are signposted from all roads to the party.

However, all parking tickets must be purchased in advance and are single entry.

Tickets are non-refundable even in cases where the balloons do not fly.

Where is the best place to see the balloons?

The party takes place at Ashton Court, just outside Bristol.

The Sky Lounge is a private enclosure that provides “the perfect space to enjoy the spectacle of the glow of the night, the beauty of an early morning climb and everything in between”.

It has access to a private bar, street food and private toilets.

The Sky Lounge also offers picnic and garden areas and Wi-Fi access.