Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is one of the most popular and striking outdoor events on the calendar. This year, the world-renowned free Fiesta returns to its original home at Ashton Court between Friday 9 August and Sunday 11 August 2024.

Make the most of the weekend’s ballooning extravaganza with these top tips, including what special shapes to look out for.

A group of balloons lifting off in a mass ascent at Bristol International Balloon Fiesta - credit Adam Gasson
Image - Mass ascent at Bristol International Balloon Fiesta - credit Adam Gasson

1. Book your shuttle bus or car parking in advance

Balloon enthusiasts are encouraged to pre-book their parking spots in advance.

Car park opening and closing times can be found on the booking site. All car park tickets are single entry only and non-refundable even in cases where the balloons do not fly. Tickets must be purchased in advance, there will be no tickets are available on the gate.

There will be a shuttle bus linking Bristol Temple Meads and the City Centre to the Bristol Balloon Fiesta. All tickets should be booked in advance due to demand and are specific to the day booked.

For more information on the best ways to get there, including cycling and walking routes, head to the official website.

For more travel information around the city and surrounding area, you can visit Travelwest or First West of England

Crowds watching balloons at Bristol International Balloon Fiesta - credit Paul Box
Image - Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, credit Paul Box

2. Catch the morning ascent

The 4am wake-up calls are most definitely worth it to watch in awe as tons of hot air balloons take off into the sky with nothing but the sound of the burners and the birds chirping in the background. The morning ascent is a beautifully calming spectacle to watch, so make sure you set those alarms, head on down to Ashton Court, grab yourself a warm drink and huddle up with the family as they set off.

It can be a tad cold for those early mornings, so wrap up with a couple of extra layers which you can easily remove throughout the day.

Hot air balloons over Bristol as part of Bristol International Balloon Fiesta - credit Paul Box
Image - Balloons in flight over Bristol

3. Experience the Sky Lounge

Want to get the best seats in the house to watch the morning and evening ascents throughout the four-day Fiesta?

The private Sky Lounge allows you to get up close to the ballooning action, offering the perfect space to watch the spectacular night glows and early morning flights. Those with Sky Lounge access can also benefit from a private bar, street food vendors and toilets, meaning less queues and better views. 

If you’re keen on exclusive access, be sure to book your Sky Lounge space in advance on the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta website.

Night Glow at Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 2017 - Credit Plaster
Image - Fiesta night glow, credit Plaster

4. Special shapes spotting

If you’re hoping to spot some special shapes at this year’s Fiesta, you won’t be disappointed! Fiesta fans can expect some incredible shapes from this year’s ballooning lineup.

Keep an eye out for those brand new balloons making their first ever appearance, with regular announcements on the Balloon Fiesta's social media accounts.

Family foam party at Bristol International Balloon Fiesta - Credit Paul Box
Image - Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. Credit Paul Box

5. On the ground family fun

Between morning and evening ascents, there are a variety of family-friendly activities for all to get involved in, located in the stunning grounds of Ashton Court Estate.

Make the most of the hours between flights by soaking up the sun with children’s entertainment in the Brizzle Kicks area, live music at the bandstand, plus displays and ballooning activities in the main arena throughout the day…weather permitting!

Grab a bite to eat from one of the many street food vendors on offer - there are over one hundred trade stalls and food vendors to explore!

Children on rides at Bristol International Balloon Fiesta - Credit Paul Box

Keep an eye on the Bristol International Fiesta website and social media feeds for all up-to-date information and news about the mass ascents.

Share your Fiesta snaps with us using #SummerInBristol on Instagram too!

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