Friday 12th August
Bristol International Balloon Fiesta was held from Thursday the 11th of August – Sunday 14th August 2016 at Ashton Court. Even before we had set off, the day was a non-starter as with blustery winds, there would be no mass ascent of hot air balloons.We met up with my mum and one of her friends at Chippenham train station and caught the train to Bristol Temple Meads.When we arrived at Bristol there were clear signs outside the station to where to catch the shuttle bus to Ashton Court.Entry to the balloon fiesta is free but if you are travelling by car, you need to book ahead to buy a ticket to guarantee a parking space.
We arrived at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta by 10:30 am and it was a warm day but cloudy.As we walked towards the balloon arena we passed many fairground rides, food and trade stalls.We got ourselves a nice place to sit near the main balloon arena, where I left everyone to go off to take photos and find out where the portaloo’s were.The carousel chicken really caught my eye, looking quite manic and evil against the horse.
High up on the hill behind where we sat I found the Hollywood style Bristol sign.Cue an opportune family photo moment, where I took several from different angles.Instagram was full of the same shots of families and people in front of the iconic landmark.From here you can see over the main balloon fiesta arena and Ashton Court estate.
After tucking into our lunch and having a little snooze in the sunshine, we watched the aerial displays from local model air plane and drone enthusiasts and the Wiltshire Air Ambulance helicopter.The arena commentator explained that we still wouldn’t be seeing any balloons ascending that evening.Feeling a little deflated (boom, boom), we headed off to Ashton Court House to explore the grounds and catch a few Pokémon.
We never went in the house, we’ll go back another day to explore inside.We discovered the rose garden and the beautiful views looking over Bristol.
Just after 3 pm we decided that we would start making our way home.We had run out food, so although we could have waited for the evening balloon glow, we would be hungry and I didn’t want to spend money on greasy food.Just as we were going through Bristol, I passed a gorgeous blue clock.Just minutes after I took the photo, back at the balloon fiesta they announced there would be balloons ascending that evening, we found out later.
10 Tips On How To Enjoy The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta
- Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is a free family event.You’ll need to pay for parking by going to the website to a ticket ahead of the day you plan to go.
- Shuttle buses run from Bristol Temple Meads railway station.Follow the signs to find the stop.Adult fare is £4 and children £3.
- Pack a picnic.If you plan to be there all day you’ll need plenty of food, snacks and drinks.There are free water refill stations around the site but we didn’t notice them until we left.
- Take sunglasses, hats and sun cream.Alternately, rain coats and umbrellas.
- Many families had waterproof beach tents.This is something I’ll be investing in for next summer.
- There are portable toilets on site.
- Take hand sanitiser and wipes.
- Check the social media updates via the fiesta Facebook page and Twitter feed.This will show whether you’ll see balloons ascend that day.
- Arrive early to secure a place to sit near the balloon arena.Or consider going later in the day to see the evening glow.This will be what we’ll be doing next year.
- Fairground amusements are expensive.Consider bringing money if you feel your child/children will badger you all day until you win them an emoji poo cushion.
Over all we did enjoy our first Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, despite not seeing any hot air balloons ascend.We will be going back next year for the evening mass ascent and night glow.
Linking up to Fiona of Coombe Mill for Country Kids