With just one week until the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, the organisers have released details and top tips on how to plan your visit to Europe’s largest hot air balloon event.
The free event takes place from the 11th – 14th August and this year will see over 150 hot air balloons take off at dawn and dusk over the course of the four days and light up to music for the evening balloon night glows.
With up to half a million visitors expected, those planning to attend are encouraged to make their plans in advance to make the most of their trip.
Whether visitors wish to drive, cycle, get the bus or walk to the event, here’s the need to know information. Where possible, organisers urge city residents to use the bus, cycle or walk to the event to reduce the amount of traffic on the road over the Fiesta weekend.
First Bus will operate a Balloon Shuttle Service from Temple Meads train station and the City Centre (Broad Quay). The Balloon Shuttle runs every 10 minutes between 10am and 11pm on Thursday 11th and Saturday 13th August and between 10am and 9pm on Friday 12th and Sunday 14th August.
A full timetable is available to download from the Fiesta website – www.bristolballoonfiesta.co.uk
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. Ample bike parking is available onsite.
For those on foot, there are two main routes into the Fiesta site via Festival Way as detailed above or via the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
Please note that the Clifton Suspension Bridge will be closed to all traffic and pedestrians during the Nightglows on Thursday 11th and Saturday 13th August from 6pm until midnight.
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. The sooner you book the cheaper it is, with prices currently starting from £10 per car per day.
When arriving at and leaving the Fiesta site, pay attention to the road signs and ignore Sat Navs. An exit strategy is put in place that may appear counter-intuitive, taking you away from the city to bring you back in, but this is carefully designed to get visitors home as quickly as possible.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Clifton Suspension Bridge will be closed to all traffic, cyclists and pedestrians during the Nightglows on Thursday 11th and Saturday 13th August from 6pm until midnight.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com 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 plan a visit to the event in advance, book car parking and for further information please visit www.bristolballoonfiesta.co.uk, follow @BristolBalloon or join the fiesta on Facebook www.facebook.com/bristolinternationalballoonfiesta