Hot air balloons floating in the sky at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta
Bristol Events
7 mins
Up, Up and Away
2022-08-10 · by Caura

Our guide to attending the Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2022

The skies of Bristol are set to fill up with colour as Europe’s largest balloon festival is making a comeback this year. From Thursday, August 11 to Sunday, August 14, approximately 500,000 visitors will head to Ashton Court to see over 100 balloons from around the world launch into the sky.

Heading to the festival? Find out everything you need to know about getting there and what to expect.

What is the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta?

Founded in 1979 after a group of friends came up with the idea over a pint, what started as just 27 balloons taking off has now become an annual, unmissable event that Bristolians are proud of. With the event being cancelled two years in a row due to the Covid pandemic, this year's 44th Balloon Fiesta is going to be epic.

From morning balloon ascents to evening nightglows, the four-day event is jam-packed with family activities, food stalls, live entertainment, and games. The best part is that the Fiesta is free for all to enter!

What’s happening on each day?

Thursday, 11th August

The Fiesta fun begins, kicking off at midday! Watch hot air balloons tethering throughout the afternoon or get involved in numerous exciting family-friendly activities throughout the day. The grounds of Ashton Court will also be packed with traders and food stalls for you to enjoy.

The first ascent of the Fiesta will take place at 6pm - this year in honour of prolific balloonist Phil Dunnington. At 9pm, enjoy a creative display of hot air balloons lighting up to a specially created soundtrack by BBC Radio Bristol and end the night watching a fabulous fireworks finale.

Event schedule for Thursday, 11th August:

 Main Events:

  • 12:00pm – Fiesta opens
  • 12:30pm – Tethered & model balloons
  • 3:00pm – Inflation race
  • 4:00pm – Skydive
  • 6:00pm – Mass ascent in memory of Phil Dunnington
  • 8:30pm – Model balloons miniature glow
  • 9:00pm – Nightglow & Fireworks

Family Fun:

  • 12:00pm – 6:00pm – Pip & Posy Meet & Greet
  • 12:00pm – Sing along to Disney tunes with Sophie May
  • 1:00pm – Dance around with Mini Peeps
  • 2:00pm – Superhero Academy training
  • 3:00pm – Laugh with comedian Chris P Tee and his puppet
  • 4:00pm – Sing along to Disney tunes with Sophie May
  • 5:00pm – Family foam party

Live Bands & Music:

  • 2:00pm – Sebastian Hawley
  • 3:00pm – Zoe Newton
  • 4:00pm – Angella Corinna
  • 5:00pm – Harri Mason
  • 6:00pm – Shaun McCrindle
  • 7:00pm – Taynee Lord
Nightglow show of hot air balloons lit up at the Bristol Balloon Fiesta

Friday, 12th August

It’s an early start on the second day of the Fiesta, with the first mass ascent of over 100 hot air balloons launching at 6am. Don’t miss out on the Costa Coffee POD serving delicious barista-style beverages!

At 6pm, watch a beautiful array of inflated shapes, colourful balloons, and massive ride balloons lift to the sky.

Event schedule for Friday, 12th August:

Main Events:

  • 6:00am – Mass ascent
  • 11:30am – Model balloons
  • 12:00pm – Model planes
  • 1:00pm – Tethered balloons
  • 3:30pm – Inflation race
  • 4:00pm – Skydive
  • 6:00pm – Mass ascent

 Family Fun:

  • 12:00pm – 6:00pm – Pip & Posy Meet & Greet
  • 12:00pm – Dance around with Mini Peeps
  • 1:00pm – Sing along to West End songs with Daisy Twells
  • 2:00pm – Enjoy comedy magic by Krazy Kev
  • 3:00pm – Laugh with comedian Chris P Tee and his puppet
  • 4:00pm – Watch a first-class performance by the Royal Sisters from Once Upon a Fairytale
  • 5:00pm – Family foam party

Live Bands & Music:

  • 2:00pm – Karen Swan
  • 2:30pm – The Port of Bristol Shanty Crew
  • 3:00pm – Nika
  • 4:00pm – Brian Inglis
  • 5:00pm – Shayler & Brooke
  • 6:00pm – Lille Rode

Saturday, 13th August

Another early start for Fiesta-goers on Saturday who want to watch the first mass ascent of hot air balloons at 6am. You can also enjoy a display of model planes and helicopters flying high in the sky. Make sure your cameras are ready as you watch some not-to-miss bike stunts, too!

The second mass ascent will be at 6pm, where you can watch a colourful array of shapes and balloons taking off into the afternoon sunshine. Saturday is also the last day you get to watch the Nightglow & fireworks display, so don’t miss out!

Event schedule for Saturday, 12th August:

Main Events:

  • 6:00am – Mass ascent
  • 10:00am – GWAAC helicopter tours
  • 11:00am – Model Balloons
  • 11:30am – Broke FMX
  • 12:00pm – Model Planes
  • 1:00pm – Tethered Balloons
  • 2:00pm – Inflation race
  • 3:00pm – Skydive
  • 5:00pm – Broke FMX
  • 6:00pm – Mass ascent
  • 9:00pm – Nightglow & Fireworks

Family Fun:

  • 11:00pm – 6:00pm – Pip & Posy Meet & Greet
  • 11:00am – Dance around with Mini Peeps
  • 11:45am – Enjoy a performance of Disney Princess classics
  • 12:30pm – Watch a spectacular bubble show by Celegreat
  • 2:00pm – Superhero Academy training
  • 3:00pm – Laugh with comedian Chris P Tee and his puppet
  • 4:00pm – Get groovy watching a street dance show by Street Cred
  • 4:30pm – Enjoy Disney classics through the years
  • 5:00pm – Family foam party

Live Bands & Music:

  • 12:30pm – Nigel G Lowndes
  • 1:30pm – Barry Walsh
  • 2:30pm – Sharon Lazybyrd
  • 3:30pm – Tim Davine
  • 4:30pm – Jad Reza
  • 5:30pm – J*M*A
  • 6:30pm – Maaike Siegerist
Hot air balloons flying over the Clifton Suspension Bridge

Sunday, 14th August

The final day of the Fiesta starts at 6am with a mass ascent of hot air balloons. Explore over 100 trade stands and food stalls, or cheer on the acoustic bands performing throughout the day.

At 6pm, cheer loud for all the ballooners as they make their final mass ascent.

Main Events:

  • 6:00am – Mass ascent
  • 11:00am – Model planes
  • 11:30am – Model balloons
  • 12:30pm – Broke FMX
  • 1:00pm – Tethered balloons
  • 2:00pm – Inflation race
  • 4:00pm – Skydive
  • 5:00pm – Broke FMX
  • 6:00pm – Mass ascent

Family Fun:

  • 12:00pm – 6:00pm – Pip & Posy Meet & Greet
  • 1:00pm – Enjoy Disney classics through the years
  • 2:00pm – Watch a spectacular bubble show by Celegreat
  • 3:00pm – Laugh with comedian Chris P Tee and his puppet
  • 4:00pm – Rock our to Rock Choir
  • 5:00pm – Family foam party

Live Bands & Music:

  • 1:00pm – Rock Choir
  • 2:00pm – Scarlet Loran
  • 2:30pm – The Port of Bristol Shanty Crew
  • 3:00pm – Reverend Bob and the Devil – May Cares
  • 4:00pm – Lily Ashby
  • 5:00pm – Liberators
  • 6:00pm – Harri Mason

How to get to the Bristol Balloon Festival

Ashton Court is situated to the south-west of Bristol city centre. You may see signs marking the upcoming Bristol Clean Air Zone as you enter the city centre. Don’t worry about having to pay the charge just yet as the zone will only go live on the 28th of November! Find out more about the Bristol Clean Air Zone here.

Car: If you’re driving, there is a car park on site however, you need to book a car park ticket in advance. You can book car park tickets here.

Bristol Car Parking map:

Bristol car parking map for the Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2022

Car park opening times:

  • Thursday, 11th August: 12pm – 12:00am, last entry is at 5pm.
  • Friday, 12th August: 5:30am – 8:30pm, last entry is at 5pm.
  • Saturday, 13th August: 5:30am – 12:00am, last entry is at 5pm.
  • Sunday, 14th August: 5:30am – 8:30pm, last entry is at 5pm

Taxi: Set your drop-off location to Ashton Court and ask your taxi driver to follow the road signs to the location. From there, it’s just a short walk to the main event site.

Bicycle: Use the National Cycling Route 33 for a traffic-free path all the way to the event site. There is also bike parking available on-site near the Mansion House and the Fallow Deer Park.

Train: The closest station to the Bristol Balloon Fiesta is Bristol Temple Meads. From there, you can take a taxi to Ashton Court.

2022-08-10 · by Caura