Plan your trip to the Balloon Fiesta

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Europe’s largest annual ballooning event returns to Ashton Court this weekend

With Europe's largest annual ballooning event returning to Ashton Court on the edge of Bristol just a week away, organisers are offering travel advice to the tens of thousands of people who will attend the event.

From Thursday 10th to Sunday 13th August The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta will feature dawn and dusk mass balloon ascents involving more than 100 balloons, as well as stunning aerial displays, a huge programme of children’s entertainment and the always popular nightglows.

With half a million visitors expected at Ashton Court over the four days of the Fiesta, people are being encouraged to plan their journeys in advance to have the most enjoyable experience.

  • Make the most of the fact the Fiesta starts early; there is nothing more magical than a mass ascent at dawn. There is more space on site early in the day and watching the balloons take off as the sun comes up is a brilliant way to start the day. Bring your own picnic, disposable BBQ or pick something up from the food stalls on site. 
  • Book your car parking in advance and arrive early. If you’re going to drive to Ashton Court make sure to leave plenty of time and book your parking space in advance. Remember that ticket holders can only be guaranteed a space if they arrive before 5pm so allowing plenty of time is key.
  • Obey road signs rather than sat nav! A detailed plan has been put together to make sure everyone can get off and on site as smoothly as possible and that nearby major routes can still run smoothly. Temporary signs will be put out to help traffic flow so pay attention to them rather than any in-car technology.
  • There is plenty going on during the day: Make sure to enjoy the full experience by taking in all the daytime entertainment which has been tailored to make sure everyone can have a great day out.    

There are many ways to reach the site if you decide not to bring your car, with Ashton Court easily accessible to walkers and cyclists and with plenty of shuttle bus services to and from the Fiesta. Festival Way links Bedminster with the main site and there will be plenty of cycle parking spaces for those who choose to arrive on two wheels.

By Bicycle

Those wishing to cycle can take ‘Festival Way’ a traffic-free path connecting the city to Ashton court Estate and beyond. Starting in Bristol, you can use the National Cycling Route 33 which takes you on a traffic free path from Queen Square out of the city via Cumberland Road. Crossing the River Avon you join Kennel Lodge Road as you enter Ashton Court. There is bicycle parking available onsite by the Mansion House and by the fallow deer park.

On Foot

For those on foot, there are two main routes into the Fiesta site via Festival Way as detailed above for cyclists or via the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Please note the Clifton Suspension Bridge will be closed to all pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles from 1800 to 0000 on Thursday 10th August and Saturday 12th August. People who can reach the site without driving are encouraged to do so. For those who do arrive by car, here are details of parking and road closures around Ashton Court.

By Bus

A Balloon Shuttle bus service is operated by First Bus from Bristol Temple Meads Station and the City Centre (St Augustine’s parade, opposite Colston Hall). This service is highly recommended to local residents. Tickets can be purchased on the bus and there is no need to pre book. Adult tickets cost £3 for a single or £5 return and child, student and concession tickets cost £2 single and £2 return. For £2 First bus ticket holders can upgrade existing tickets i.e Bath and Bristol Outer Zone, West of England and West of England Plus/Day, Week, Month, Year tickets.

Buses run at least every 10 minutes from 10am each day. The last bus departs from the site at 11.50pm on Thursday 10th and Saturday 12th and at 9.50pm on Friday 11th and Sunday 13th August.

By Car

This year, all those wishing to drive to the event must book their car parking in advance and need to arrive on site no later than 5pm to guarantee their space. Spaces are getting booked very quickly and the final release of tickets are now available, priced at £15 per day per car. When arriving at and leaving the Fiesta site please follow road directions and do not use your Sat Nav.

Road Closures

The Clifton Suspension Bridge will be closed to all pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles from 1800 to 0000 on Thursday 10th August and Saturday 12th August.

A number of road closures will be put in place each evening over the Fiesta weekend, started at 7pm in different phases. These closures will be lifted as soon as possible to keep disruption to a minimum. Emergency vehicles will be allowed through as usual.

While closures are in place local residents can use their residents parking permits or temporary visitor permits to access their streets. These passes have been distributed to properties, if more are required residents can request more by e-mailing info@bristolballoonfiesta.co.uk 

The Clifton Suspension Bridge will be closed to all traffic, cyclists and pedestrians during the Nightglows on Thursday 10th and Saturday 13th August from 6pm until midnight.

Bower Ashton

Road closures in Bower Ashton will be in place daily during all four days of the Fiesta from 7pm until midnight. Kennel Lodge Road will be closed for the entire weekend so the one-way system on Parklands Road will be reversed to provide easier access for residents.

Local people with BA residents parking permits should use them to gain access to their streets while the closures are in place. Visitor parking permits (without the date highlighted) can be used to get guests and visitors in and out during the Fiesta weekend. Properties which are not part of the residents parking scheme have been given temporary visitor permits.

No waiting cones will be used throughout the streets with residents parking schemes to reinforce to people from outside the area that they cannot park there. The cones do not prevent people with permits from parking however.

While all these measures have been put in place to make life as easy as possible for local residents, it is recommended to keep travel during closure times to a minimum. Bower Ashton residents should use the Bower Ashton roundabout to get in and out of the area as it will not be possible to use Rownham Hill.

Leigh Woods

Roads in this area will be closed daily from 7pm to midnight. Residents should use the Beggar Bush Lane/Abbots Leigh Road junction to access the area during the time roads are closed.

Longwood Lane/Clevedon Road

From 7pm to midnight on each day of the Fiesta closures and a one-way system will be in place on Clevedon Road. During closure hours people should use the Beggar Bush Lane entrance to Longwood Lane to access the area.

Long Ashton

People who live on Long Ashton Road but don’t have off-street parking can apply for a residents’ parking permit from the Fiesta office by calling 0117 9046509 or e-mailing info@bristolballoonfiesta.co.uk  These will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis.

No waiting cones will be placed along Long Ashton Road to make sure traffic can continue to flow through the village during the Fiesta.

Long Ashton residents who need to get to Bristol between 7pm and midnight on the four days of the Fiesta should travel west along Long Ashton/Weston Road and join the A370 at the Barrow Gurney/B3130 junction.

To book car parking tickets please visit www.bristolballoonfiesta.co.uk or to find out more about this year’s event follow @BristolBalloon on Instagram and Twitter, or www.facebook.com/bristolinternationalballoonfiesta.

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