This year will mark the 35th year of the Bristol international balloon fiesta held at Ashton court on the outskirts of Bristol.
Dates for 2013 are from the 9th to the 12th of August and the full address for the show is Ashton Court Estate, Long Ashton, Bristol, BS41 9JN
A very popular and free to enter day out the fiesta can have up to 500,000 visitors attend over the 4 day event. With many trade stands, food outlets and various entertainments to keep you occupied until the amazing evening mass launch with balloons of all shapes and sizes floating off into the evening summer sky you can spend the whole day at the fiesta especially if the weather is sunny and warm.
Having lived in Bristol for a few years I have great memories of relaxing on the downs for hours just watching all the balloons ascending and drifting out over Bristol.
The festival is easily reached from the city center by foot as the route is well marked and special bus services are run to help with the amount of people trying to make their way to Ashton court.
If traveling to the event by car please be aware that Clifton suspension bridge will be closed during peak travel periods because the volume of traffic crossing the bridge going and coming from the event puts too much strain on the 1864 structure.
Depending on the weather, wind and as yet unannounced schedule (will update when more information is available) there are normally 2 mass balloon launches a day, one bright and early at 6am and the evening one at 6pm.
One of the great sights of the fiesta is the night burn (Saturday and Thursday) where the whole area is lit up by the balloons burners while they are tethered to the ground, afterwards the night burn is usually followed by a first class firework display.
Ashton court itself is set in some beautiful countryside and if you want to explore some more the fantastic Leigh woods that border the Avon gorge are well worth a visit. Taking a stroll across Clifton suspension bridge will bring you into Clifton village with many independent shops and cafes and no visit to Bristol would be complete without a walk over the downs to the sea wall for a great view of Avon Gorge.