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Hot Air Balloon Flight Experience Days

Hot Air Balloons: Everything you need to know

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s one of Sir Richard Branson’s daft balloons, sailing over the rooftops.

If you’ve always dreamed of being suspended under a bag full of hot air, (insert mother-in-law joke here). With our hot air balloon experiences, you’ll enjoy an exciting ride in the balloon with some new chums, and you’ll have a chance to see how these enormous marvels are set up and inflated.

After all that thirsty work, you’ll be treated to a tasty glass of Champagne to toast your special occasion. Once you’ve landed, you’ll take home a certificate signed by Sir RB to prove you actually did it.

Our balloon flights can be booked at more than 100 locations all over the UK, so there’s sure to be one near to you. Don’t forget - UK delivery is always free, and you don’t have to decide on a date right now - pick up your voucher and call to book when you’re ready.

You can even give the voucher as a gift and let your companion choose when and where to fly: as long as the date falls between March and October, you’re laughing. Ha ha ha.

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FAQs

Q: Balloons? You’re just full of hot air!
A: Yes, you’ve said that a few times now. How can I help you?
Q: What is a balloon?
A: Really? OK, you may have witnessed the gas filled, rubber or plastic spheres decorating children’s parties. This is the great big version of that with a basket underneath, that fly high up in the air with you onboard.
Q: Do I get to steer?
A: No. No you don’t. In the interests of safety, we have highly trained pilots manning all our balloons and we ask you to listen to them and abide by any safety instructions they provide. They will ensure that your flight is safe and unforgettable. All flights are civil aviation authority certified and regulated.
Q: How long is it, only I like to be back for Pointless?
A: We have a variety of ballooning experiences with differing itineraries, but you can expect to spend around an hour in the air.
Q: My unusual shape has baffled even the most experienced silhouettists, will that be an issue?
A: There may be some height, weight and age restrictions connected to your flight, so check the small print on your specific experience.
Q: Do I get booze?
A: We ask that you do not drink any alcohol prior to your experience, but if you want to make your hot air balloon flight extra special, we do have a number of champagne flights, where you get a glass of bubbly while up in the air. Perfect for anniversaries or if you’re thinking of popping the question! And with our Virgin Balloon flights you get a signed thing from Sir Richard Branson!
Q: What if it’s gusty?
A: Flights are subject to weather conditions are we strongly advise you to check with your supplier in the morning of your ballooning. There must be wind speeds of less than 10 mph, reasonable visibility, a stable atmosphere and no rain or snow. If your experience is postponed due to weather, we will rebook a new date with you.
Q: Can I wear my ballooning cape?
A: We prefer it if your don old flat weatherproof shoes or walking boots and comfortable casual walking clothing suitable to the appropriate time of year, as you will take off and land in a field. It is recommended that other garments should be made from natural as opposed to man-made fabrics (as they are just nicer). Ladies are advised to wear trousers.

Fun Facts

  • 1. The lightweight skin of a balloon that holds the buoyant air is called an envelope. So if you prod the balloon before you take off, I imagine you are ‘pushing the envelope’.
  • 2. The Montgolfier brothers developed the first hot-air balloons capable of manned flight. They name literally translates as ‘Mountain of Golf’ (possibly).
  • 3. Before manned flight, the Montgolfiers’ tested their hot air balloon with sheep, chickens and ducks on board, to see what effect the altitude would have on them. All survived the experience, though rumour has it the sheep did try to escape from the craft at one point, coining the term ‘a woolly jumper’.
  • 4. The first successful manned flight occurred in 1783, when Pilâtre de Rozier and the Marquis d'Arlandes ascended in a Montgolfier balloon over the skies of Paris. The brothers didn’t fly in this prototype balloon themselves, as they were not that stupid.
  • 5. The tradition of drinking champagne after a successful balloon flight is said to stem from the French aristocracy often landing their craft in farmers’ fields and quickly trying to appease the landowners by offering them a glass of bubbly. Which is probably why you don’t see too many French Aristocrats in balloons anymore..
  • 6. A glass-bottomed balloon was showcased in 2011, where only a thin sheet of glass lined the bottom of the basket. Travellers testing the balloon described the experience as terrifying. It was invented by a man called Christian Brown, apt as once airborne, a lot of praying took place and visits to the toilet were necessary.
  • 7. The famous hot air balloon sequence in the 1956 film version of Around the World in 80 Days does not appear in the Jules Verne novel, but was added to the film to show off the new panoramic screening process it utilised: Todd-AO. Which must have been annoying for the financiers of the movie, but very handy for this list.
  • 8. The largest hot air balloon festival in the world takes place each year in Albuquerque, USA. Over 700 balloons gather and compete each year with possible prizes being awarded for ‘Most Round’, ‘Moat Balloon-like’ and ‘Biggest Basket’.
  • 9. Felix Baumgartner used a helium filled balloon to reach the optimum altitude for his record-breaking free fall in 2012. Other famous Felix’s are Felix the Cat, Felix and Felix Baumgartner.
  • 10. Sir Richard Branson and Per Lindstrand made the first successful hot air balloon crossing of the Pacific, travelling from Japan to Canada in 1991. Taking 46 hours and 15 minutes to achieve, it’s the reason Branson isn’t known as ‘Captain Basket’ and ‘Old Windy’.