Hot Air Balloon Flights over the Cotswolds
The Cotswolds AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) is the largest designated area in the UK and covers some 800 square miles of timeless, tranquil, unspoilt countryside. This is an area of gentle hills with stonewalls crisscrossing the landscape, hidden river valleys and distinctive towns and villages, steeped in history. Our Balloon Flights offer you the chance to see this area from a new and unique aspect.
Favoured by holidaymakers, the Cotswolds has always been looked upon as the Heart of England. It is one of the few regions with an architectural style all of its own with the steeply pitched roofs, stone mullions and dormer windows of houses and cottages built of the local limestone. The area is well known for its sleepy villages and charming countryside as well as bustling market towns and increasing leisure facilities. The word Cotswold comes from the Anglo Saxon words for sheep pen and open ground. In the Middle Ages Cotswold landowners grew wealthy producing cloth from wool, the proceeds of which were put into building magnificent churches and manor houses, many of which remain today and are some of the finest examples in the country.
To enjoy this landscape at its best we have selected five main LAUNCH SITES:
Balloon Flights From Cirencester
Cirencester (or Corinium) was capital of Roman Britain in 49AD. It is now a busy market town lying in the heart of the southern Cotswolds and has an excellent museum (Corinium Museum) displaying much of the town’s Roman History. Cirencester is also home to the Royal Agricultural College and surrounded by Cirencester Park, one of the largest in England and in private ownership of the Earl Bathurst. Much is open to the public and Polo is played in the Park throughout the summer months. The Church, which dominates the town, was founded in 1120. Remains of the Roman wall and Amphitheatre can also easily be seen from the air on one of our Balloon Flights launching from the Royal Agricultural College.
Cirencester attracts visitors from all over the world and is less than 2 hours drive from London or Birmingham. The town is also within easy reach of Cheltenham, Gloucester, Swindon, Bath and Bristol. It is also the ideal base for visiting Bibury Trout Farm, Burford (The Cotswold Wildlife Park), Westonbirt Arboretum near Tetbury and The Cotswold Water Park.
Balloon Flights From Stroud
Stroud lies on the eastern edge of the Cotswold escarpment overlooking the river Severn and has easy access onto the M5. The town’s origins are deeply rooted in Gloucestershire’s medieval woollen trade where spinning and weaving flourished well into the 20th Century. The quality of the wool produced in the region was renowned and by the early 17th Century textile production was the main industry. Many of the main woollen mills were based in the five valleys around Stroud and can still be seen today. The expansion of the railways and the construction of the Stroudwater Canal through the Chalford Valley together with The Thames and Severn Canal gave the town important transport links to Gloucester and the River Thames in Wiltshire.
Our Balloon Flights from Stroud provide spectacular views over the River Severn and on clear days Bristol, The Welsh Mountains, Forest of Dean and Malvern Hills are clearly visible. To the north the spire of Gloucester Cathedral and Regency Cheltenham nestle in the Seven Vale. On a northwesterly breeze your Balloon Ride may take you out over Minchinhampton Common towards Tetbury. Closer to Stroud we see the pretty villages of Painswick, Bisley, Nailsworth and Slad.
Balloon Flights From Bourton-on-the-Water
Bourton-on-the-Water lies in the heart of the Rural North Cotswolds on the old Roman Fosse Way (now the A429), but less than a 1 hour drive from Oxford and Birmingham. Regularly voted one of the prettiest villages in England, Bourton-on-the-Water has more than its fair share of things to see and do (see Birdland, Motor Museum, Model Village and Pottery). To the north are Stow-on-the-Wold and Moreton-in-Marsh, to the west Upper and Lower Slaughter and the delightful Guiting Power and Naunton. Flying east your Balloon Flight will take you out over Oxfordshire towards Milton under Wychwood or Burford. To the northeast lies Chipping Norton. Throughout the year this area is popular with tourists from all over the world visiting these typical Cotswold Villages. On a Hot Air Balloon Ride we see this enchanted rural landscape from a different perspective with panoramic views, hidden villages, wooded valleys and gently undulating hills.
Balloon Flights From Cheltenham
Cheltenham has been welcoming visitors for nearly three hundred years, ever since the discovery of the first natural spring. The very first Cheltenham Guide on 1781 described a visit to the town as “a journey of health and pleasure”. According to legend the first medicinal waters were discovered when pigeons were noticed pecking at salty deposits, which had formed around a spring on the present site of Cheltenham Ladies College.
In 1788 King George III came for five weeks to take the water cure; he was followed by many aristocratic and distinguished figures of the period, and Cheltenham’s transformation into a fashionable resort began. Today Cheltenham is still famous for being a spa town and The Pittville Pump Room is the only complete survivor of many spas – others having been demolished or found new uses (Lloyds Bank in Montpellier is little changed except, of course, in function!).
Take a balloon flight with us from the centre of town a we may drift along the tree-lined Promenade with its colourful Long Gardens renowned as being one of the finest boulevards in the country and, in summer, the floral displays in the parks and gardens, together with colourful hanging baskets along many of the historic terraces, create a lively, continental atmosphere.
Balloon Flights From Gloucester
Gloucester is located on the eastern bank of the River Severn and is sheltered by the Cotswolds to the east, while the Forest of Dean and the Malvern Hills rise to the west and north, respectively. Gloucester has a rich and checkered red history. It was founded in AD 48 by the Romans as Glevum, and was granted its first charter in 1155 by King Henry II. In 1580 Gloucester was awarded the status of a port by Queen Elizabeth I. The Siege of Gloucester in 1643 was a battle of the English Civil War in which the besieged parliamentarians emerged victorious. Today many medieval and Tudor period gabled and half timbered houses survive from these earlier periods of Gloucester’s history.
Fly from our Gloucester launch site and you may get a view of Gloucester Cathedral one of the finest Cathedrals in England and rated as one of the most beautiful in the world. This amazing 900-year-old Norman Cathedral is the centre point of the City and has a number of Royal connections as well as being one of Europe’s enduring architectural beauties. Most recently the Cathedral was used as a location for scenes in the Harry Potter films and Doctor Who.
If you are just visiting then Gloucester is the ideal base for exploring the Forest of Dean. Steeped in history and rich in culture, the area offers space to relax and enjoy spectacular scenery. Nature and wildlife is abundant, as is the range of outdoor leisure activities and attractions for groups of all ages.