Bristol’s International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta conveniently coincided with our four-year anniversary, providing us with the perfect way to celebrate.
The balloons launch at 6am and 6pm but we figured that it would be busy for the evening launch and that the morning launch would at least force us to wake up early and make the most of the day. After a late night, I begrudgingly set our alarms for 4.45 and after getting ready, we jumped in a taxi to Ashton Court ready to see the launch.
It is never guaranteed that the hot air balloons are able to launch as it is completely weather dependent. There was a big countdown to find out if it was going ahead and there was a big cheer when green smoke came out of the canister, signalling that the weather conditions were in our favour.
With the green smoke signal, people started setting up their hot air balloons and the crowds waited expectantly.
The first balloons soon started to emerge…
…and then one by one they set off into the sky.
We ran up the hill to get a better look of the balloons floating into the city sky.
We stood at the top of the hill and gazed into the sky, it looked so beautiful and I felt very lucky to be there with Anthony seeing something so special that we will always remember.
After the last of the balloons had been launched (the remaining balloons weren’t permitted to go up as weather conditions weren’t quite right), we walked back down the hill for a look around. We hadn’t yet eaten and the smell of bacon from the various food stalls smelled too good to resist so we bought some bacon rolls for our breakfast.
I was so glad for the opportunity to see Ashton Court, the mansion is beautiful and as it is set in 850 acres, there is lots to explore!
Some of the trees in the grounds were huge!! They must have been hundreds of years old and with the estate being owned by one of the richest families in Bristol and its use as a military hospital during WWII, the trees must have been witness to a lot of change over the years.
On the walk out of Ashton Court, we came across a sign with a map of the estate and upon realising that we were quite close to one of the fields housing deer, we decided to take a slight detour and I am so glad we did!
There must have been hundreds of deer, and although it was slightly creepy when they all stopped and stared at us, it was a beautiful sight that just added to an already perfect morning.
We finally left the park and decided to continue walking on to Clifton.
As bridges go, Clifton Suspension Bridge is one of the nicest looking and its design and build is even more impressive when you realise that it was opened in 1864! Although we crossed it by car last year (see blog post ‘Clifton & Christmas Markets‘), this was the first time we had crossed it on foot and it is really only when walking, that you can appreciate the views down the Avon Gorge.
I love looking around Clifton, there are so many quaint town houses, boutique shops and lovely coffee shops offering the perfect resting point for a spot of people watching.
As we had woken up so early, it was still only morning and we had already done so much! With so much walking, we had built up an appetite and so we decided to stop at Primrose Cafe for our second breakfast of the day (two breakfasts are completely acceptable and should really be mandatory when celebrating).
I ordered the belgian waffle with banana and hot chocolate sauce (I can confirm that it was as delicious as it looks) and Anthony went for the healthier option of organic muesli with berries, yoghurt and honey.
We filled our bellies for the second time that morning and started heading back to Anthony’s flat.
However, on the way back we walked past Bristol Museum & Art Gallery and as it could be our last weekend in Bristol together and we had never been there before, we decided that we should probably have a look around.
The building itself was probably the most impressive part of the museum for me, I loved the design and layout but there was also lots to read about and plenty of interactive parts for children to explore.
I liked that they had a section for art from local people along with descriptions of the artists’ intentions for the piece.
Having finally ticked the museum off the long list of things to see and explore in Bristol, we finally made our way back to the flat for a much needed afternoon nap.
After a quick nap, we went out for dinner and then to the cinema so it honestly felt like the longest day of my life, which is just what you want when celebrating a special day. I would definitely recommend seeing the hot air balloon fiesta one year if you are ever visiting Bristol as it really is an impressive sight.
It was potentially our last weekend in Bristol together and so I am really glad that we made the most of it and crammed so much in. Despite my usual tears when saying goodbye at the coach stop, I came away feeling very happy to have made such lovely memories and to have marked an amazing four years in such a special way.