Tag Archives: bristol



Fancy four days of fun, frolics and fireworks amongst some of the most incredible hot air balloons in the World? Then get along this year to the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta held annually in the beautiful grounds of the Ashton Court Estate in Bristol. The event is FREE to attend and the only thing you will have to pay for is the parking on site which can be quite pricey but there is a park and ride facilities around about.

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 07-08-2003

There will be up to 150 hot air balloons of all manner of different shapes and sizes along with the usual inverted teardrop. Some of them over the years have been Minions, Bertie Bassett, Smurfs, Donald Duck and even Darth Vader and Yoda to name just a few.

The mass assent which sees up to 100 hot air balloons from across the world take to the skies at an eye-rubbing 6am on a Friday morning and again at 6pm each day.

The venue is an 11th century estate boasting 850 acres of woodland and grassland. There are lots of places of interest locally including the Cheddar Gorge, the City of Bath which is one of the oldest inhabited areas in the UK. The Romans built the ‘Baths’ in the 1st century AD. There is also Bristol Zoo and the beautiful 12th century Bristol Cathedral which started out as St Augustine’s Abbey back in 1140 and is still as impressive today as it would have been back then.

'Best of British' - BIBF 2012

You can camp nearby as there are a couple of sites with pre-pitched tents and caravans for the event (like a poor man’s glamping) and others for visitors with their own tents/caravans or motorhomes.

Pack your snacks, camera and a blanket and get yourself settled in for one of the world’s biggest hot air ballooning events. There are food and drink concessions on site but they are pricey so if you are going, just remember that you are able to take along disposable BBQ’s and your own picnic to avoid the hiked prices. There are fairground rides, food and beverages stalls, trade stands, model aeroplanes and numerous other trade stands to keep you entertained.

The most popular event of the weekend is the Nightglow with fireworks of course. The fireworks are under the care and expertise of Skyburst Fireworks who are one of the UK’s premier professional pyrotechnic teams and they will be set off to music provided by local radio station Heart FM. During the Nightglow, the balloons are inflated whilst tethered, and the pilots ignite their burners so that their balloons glow in time to the music before the fireworks fill the skies.


Clifton Suspension Bridge Fireworks

On the 8th of December 2014, the magnificent Clifton Suspension bridge will be 150 years old. To mark the occasion, what better way than a massive fireworks display exactly 150 years after magnesium flares were lit to announce to the world that it was open for business – just before being blown out by the high winds!!

Spanning 702 feet and 3 inches of the Avon Gorge and the River Avon, the bridge’s total length is 1352 feet and forms part of the B3129 road.

The bridge was built with the initial design from Isambard Kingdom Brunel who sadly died before the construction was finished and it was amended by engineers William Henry Barlow and John Hawkshaw,

In the past it earned the name “suicide bridge” thanks to the number of people who threw themselves off the bridge before barriers were erected to prevent people from doing so. It became such an issue that the local government erected a plaque with the Samaritans phone number.

In April 1979 one of the first bungee jumps was performed from the 1500 ton structure by the University of Oxfords dangerous sports club but one of the luckiest people to have crossed the bridge was one Sarah Ann Henley, who in 1885 fell off the bridge but due to the heavily layered dress and petticoats she was wearing, she floated down the 245 foot drop with her dress acting as a parachute saving her from certain death. Miss Henley went on to have a full and rich life into her 80’s seemingly no worse for the mishap.

Not so lucky was flying officer John Greenwood who in 1957 attempted to fly an R.A.F Vampire jet under the bridge while performing a barrel roll before crashing into nearby Leigh woods killing himself and causing a landslide over the Bristol to Portishead Railway line. Since this time, only one other recorded aircraft has successfully flown under the bridge, which was a police search helicopter.

Although there is a fee for vehicles crossing the bridge, there is still an act in place to charge 5p for pedestrians and cyclists, but this has never been levied.

The massive fireworks planned won’t be the first display the bridge has seen. Back in 2006, the Clifton Suspension Bridge it saw its biggest display to date when it was the centre piece for the Brunel 200 weekend marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, whose designs inspired William Henry Barlow and John Hawkshaw.

The bridge is very close to the hearts of those living in the region and the celebrations will bring this community together to reflect on what an absolutely massive achievement it was to get the bridge across the huge expanse that is the gorge and the waterways close to Bristol.

In addition to the fireworks on the 7th December 2014 there will be a procession and a small re-enactment of the celebrations which took place 150 years ago, the North Somerset Community Brass Band and the parade will end at the newly completed Suspension Bridge Visitors Centre which was created thanks to National Lottery Funding.

Lets hope some of the visitors are around for the 200th anniversary of this majestic, Grade I listed structure.

Watch this space for more pyro news.


Clifton Suspension Bridge fireworks: Thousands mark 150 years


Bristol Balloon Fiesta and Fireworks

What: Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2014
When: 6am – 10 pm on 7th – 10th August 2014
Where: Ashton Court Estate, Bristol BS8 3TQ

From the very first event back in 1979 Bristol balloon festival has steadily grown to become the second biggest events of its type in the world.

With 300 balloons in attendance this is the largest collection of hot air balloons in the UK, being slightly overshadowed by Albuquerque.

In its 36th year this free balloon festival brings in around £13,000.000 to the local economy over the four days, such is the popularity of the show the nearby Clifton suspension bridge is closed both to traffic and pedestrians due to the stress of the thronging public on the bridge.

Starting at 6 am on the 7th August with “breakfast and balloons”, some of the best balloon pilots in the world will lift off for a mass assent, when you consider that around 30 balloons will lift off simultaneously the level skill required to attend this event would have to be of a world-class standard.

On the 10th August 2013 45 balloons landed in single small field near to Cadbury’s former factory in Keynsham breaking a festival record.

Over the years balloons have attended from all over the world in unusual shapes and designs, from UFO’s, Rupert the bear, a kiwi bird shaped balloon from New Zealand an upside down balloon and even a Tesco shopping trolley.

As always there will be something for everyone, from arts and crafts stands to the Red Arrows, the “Exit” parachute team, R.A.F Falcons and a whole host of other entertainments and attractions for visitors for all ages.

On Thursday and Saturday nights the spectacle that is the “night glow” watched annually by over 100,000 will culminate in a huge fireworks show starting at 21:15 and presented by Skyburst fireworks, the firm which fired £7,500 of fireworks in a few seconds on the Clifton suspension bridge to celebrate the arrival of the Olympic torch to Bristol.

Held until recently in the second week of September, the change of date promises better weather for all attending, less muddy ground to contend with and less chance of flight cancellation due to the high winds experienced in the later months.

We here at Epic would love the chance to attend the fireworks but as the event coincides with our busiest wedding period it is unlikely the boss will allow time off.