Balloon Flights & Ride Operators
Balloon Flights and Ride Operators
In the case of UK Balloon Ride operators we strongly recommended that only those that are members of the British Association of Balloon Ride Operators (BABO) or part of the Balloons over Britain Group are used. This list is alphabetical and is representative of the Companies that we deal with and would thoroughly recommend. No implication is intended that other BABO members not listed here are any less reputable.
British Association of Balloon Operators - BABO
All operators of passenger transport balloons in this country must be licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority and should be able to produce an Air Operators Certificate number. This means they are fully qualified to carry out your flight and their balloons and procedures are maintained to a high standard. In choosing to take your flight with an operator who is a member of The British Association of Balloon Operators you can easily check the operator you have found holds the correct licence as we do not allow membership from non AOC holders in any circumstances. Furthermore you can also be assured of dealing with a company who take your custom very seriously from purchasing a gift voucher through to the actual lighter than air flight as all association members have signed up to a code of conduct ensuring the very highest standards are set. Members strive to provide excellent customer service and care and use national terms and conditions of sale which are registered with the Office of Fair Trading.
Membership is restricted to holders of current AOCs. BABO is affiliated to the British Balloon and Airship Club (BBAC) to which its members also belong as individuals. The organisation is recognised by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and both they and the BBAC now refer matters relating to balloon rides operations of BABO. Their website is at http://www.babo.org.uk/ or you can contact them on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Based in Hartley Wintney, Hampshire. Well established operator. Their claim to fame is that they are the only ride operator flying over London. Nice informative user-friendly site with great visuals and videos. There is also a wealth of information on weather and balloon history and a bloggy bit. Big site with loads of stuff going on. http://www.adventureballoons.co.uk Tel. 01252 844222
Oxford, Reading, Hemel Hempstead, Stevenage, Watford, Tring, London, Basingstoke, Hartley Wintney, Guildford, Farnham, Godalming, West Meon, Alton, Winchester, Micheldever, Kent, Rutland, Stamford, Sussex, Essex and York.
Aerosaurus Balloons Ltd
Privately owned and operated company based in Whimple near Exeter formally run by the famous Arthur Street who also organises the popular Tiverton Balloon Festival but now he has retired it is operated by family-run Bristol-based Bailey Balloons. Aerosaurus have been around for over 25 years and are the main operator in South West of England, not an easy area to fly but affording some of the most beautiful and spectacular views. Really user-friendly, nice website with the weather line number published for everyones’ use and comprehensive information on the various areas they fly over. Well worth a look at the website for full details http://www.ballooning.co.uk/ Telephone: 01404 823102
Mid & East Devon; Exeter, Tiverton
South Devon; Ivybridge, South Devon, PL21 9EE
Dorset; Sherbourne & Shaftesbury
Somerset; Yeovil, Taunton, Castle Cary
Cornwall; Bodmin Moor, Launceston
Wiltshire; Salisbury, Codford St Peter
Located in Bristol, Bailey Balloons provide hot air balloon flights from Bristol, Bath and South Wales. Husband and wife team, Jo and Clive Bailey, run this well-respected friendly business. Amongst his claims’ to fame Clive is the Flight Director for the Bristol Balloon Fiesta from where they also offer flights but these do get booked up very quickly. Nice friendly website as you’d expect. http://www.baileyballoons.co.uk/. Tel: 01275 375 300, email email@example.com
Ashton Court, Bristol & Thornbury (views of the Severn Bridges)
Royal Victoria Park, Bath
Balloon Aloft – Australia
Long established Australia company now a British run family business run by same people that used to operate the British School of Ballooning. Based in Cessnock NSW. Very popular flights in the Hunter Valley wine growing area. Morning flights all year. Easy to get to area two hours north of Sydney. Nice easy to use website http://www.balloonaloft.com. Tel +61 2 4990 9242
Camden Valley (South-West Sydney), the Hunter Valley, Canberra and the Gold Coast.
Balloons Over Britain - BOB
Balloons Over Britain is a collaboration of some of the most experienced independent balloon flight companies in the UK. With a large combined fleet of balloons flying from more than 100 locations in Great Britain it makes it easy find which operators fly in various areas. Bookings through BOB are at a Nationwide level but there are links to individual companies. Inter-active map with links to the operators. http://www.balloonsoverbritain.co.uk/. Telephone 0845 071 6388 or 01622 873050 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
British School of Ballooning
Britain’s longest running Balloon Ride business based in Petworth Surrey started by Graham and Judy Scaife and now part of Adventure Balloons with launchsites in Surrey, Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire, Essex, Berkshire, Hertfordshire. Good comprehensive website with video.
http://www.hotair.co.uk 01428 707 307
Include Milford-Surrey, Tunbridge Wells-Kent, Chelmsford-Essex, West Meon-Hampshire, Haywards Heath-East Sussex, Petworth-West Sussex, Reading-Berkshire, Stevenage-Hertfordshire.
Based in Aylesbury Flights over Bucks. Privately owned and run by well-established local operator Stuart Seager. Nice website lots of information used to have natty little burners to click on to navigate but now click on the launchsite for local information. Lovely. Very friendly personal service.
http://www.champagne-flights.co.uk 01296 641153
Watermead-Aylesbury, Hunters Farm Shop Milton Keynes, David Lloyd Leisure-Central Milton Keynes, Billing Aquadrome-Northampton, Bedford Microlight Centre-Sandy, Turweston Airfield - Brackley.
Part of Adventure Balloons. Balloon Flights throughout Essex. Some really nice pictures on this site especially one of a maze and Thames barge. Stunning. Interestingly good website at www.essexballoons.co.uk 01621 786777. Now part of Adventure Balloons.
Launchsites (dependent on weather) include:
For South Essex, Hutton, Wickford, Billericay and Brentwood Centre flights from Barleylands Farm Museum
For Central Essex, Chelmsford, Roxwell, Kelvedon, Maldon, Witham, Hatfield Peveral flights from Formerly Hylands Park, Newlands Hall near Roxwell, Prested Hall, Kelvedon next to A12
For North Essex, Braintree, Halstead, Gosfield, Colchester, Sudbury, Suffolk
Flying from Blake House Craft Centre, Earls Colne Airfield & Golf Course.
Humbug Balloons / European Balloon Company
Part of the Adventure Balloon Group. Flights over the Chiltern Hills, Bucks and Oxfordshire. Interesting website.
www.europeanballoon.co.uk 01494 868 514 / 01494 866 128. Now part of Adventure Balloons.
Black Horse-Great Missenden, Thame, Henley-on-Thames, Newport Pagnell, Stone-Aylesbury.
Irish Balloon Flights
Privately owned company based in Trim, Co Meath in Ireland and operated by Malcolm White and Pauline Baker. They run a number of balloons including special shapes and fly from April to November and at weekends during the winter. Main base is in Trim flying Trim Castle, Athboy, Slane, the Hill of Tara. Nice clear and easy to use website at http://www.balloons.ie. Tel 046-9483436, email email@example.com
Launchsites at Trim, Athlone, Kilkenny and Limerick.
Based in Ashford Kent. Local husband and wife team, Mike and Louise Spice run the business operating the Spitfire balloon so a choice of champagne, soft drinks or beer to celebrate the flight. Marvellous. Depending on launchsite good views of the Channel and France. Very comprehensive website with nice photos and video.
www.kentballooning.com 01303 812 812
Launchsites (very weather dependent):
Canterbury: Kingsmead Leisure Centre
Broome Park Country Club: Barham
Etchinghill Golf Club: Folkestone
Evegate Craft Centre: Ashford
Great Chart Golf & Leisure: Ashford.
Headcorn Aerodrome: Headcorn
Ramada Hotel & Resort, Maidstone
Matt Wady operates this private company from Hamstreet in Kent. Small family run business now in partnership with Virgin Balloons. Primarily flying in the Ashford and Romney Marsh area. Tidy website nice pics and video.
http://www.merlin-balloons.co.uk/ 01233 733 588
Launchsites (very weather dependent):
Appledore, Hamstreet, Ashford, Aldington, Headcorn.
South Downs Ballooning
Based in Liphook, Hampshire small privately run one-man company flying in West Sussex and Hampshire. Great views of the south coast and Downs. Specialises in exclusive flights. Easy to use website. Owned and operated by Alan Hall.
http://www.southdownsballooning.co.uk 01428 725696
Launchsites (some very weather dependant!)
West Sussex - Worthing, Brighton, Arundel, Chichester, Midhurst.
Hampshire – Petersfield, Selborne, Rake, Frith End, West Meon, Winchester, Portsmouth and Southampton.
Sunrise in Lanka Ballooning – Sri Lanka
Seasonal from November through to May. Run by Justin Moore. British owned company operating in Sri Lanka. Sun Rise in Lanka Ballooning (Pvt) Ltd is a SLCAA approved project and operates commercial flights in the Dambulla area situated in the centre of the Cultural Triangle. Nice website with map showing where they operate. http://www.srilankaballooning.com email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel. +94 (0) 773 522013.
Virgin Balloon Flights
The UK’s biggest balloon ride operator over 100 launchsites throughout England, Scotland and Wales. Very comprehensive website. Also operate in Italy.
http://www.virginballoonflights.co.uk 0844 844 8080
Operations run from Great Haywood in Staffordshire. From a small family run business they now operate throughout the Midlands. Still a very family run business flying from some great launchsites. Good straightforward easy to use website. Friendly helpful family-based office. Jon Rudoni is a spokesman for BABO and BOB.
http://www.wickersworld.co.uk 01889 88 22 22
Staffordshire - Shugborough Hall, Trentham Gardens.
Derbyshire and The Peak District - Tissington Hall, Rowsley.
Warwick & Gloucestershire - Stratford-on-avon, Warwick, Moreton-in-the-Marsh and Evesham (Worcs).
Cheshire & Shropshire - Chester, Nantwich and Whitchurch.
Worcester & Herefordshire – Worcester Racecourse, Wood Norton Hall, Eastnor Castle and from Crown Meadow in Evesham.