What are the best holiday rentals in Bristol for hot air balloon festival enthusiasts?

Are you planning your trip to the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta? Bristol is a city that thrives on its vibrant, diverse culture and an array of exciting events. As balloon enthusiasts, we know you are looking forward to the hot air balloon festival. In this guide, we will help you find the best accommodations for this four-day event, so you can enjoy Bristol's balloon spectacle with ease and comfort.

The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

Before we delve into the best lodging options, let's take a quick dip into what the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is all about. A highlight of Bristol's event calendar, the Fiesta is a vibrant celebration of hot air balloons and a feast for the eyes. The city's skyline comes alive with a riot of colours as hundreds of balloons take to the sky in the early morning and again in the evening, during the night glow.

Taking place in the large expanse of Ashton Court Estate, the Fiesta draws in a crowd from across the globe. Besides balloon watching, visitors can indulge in a variety of activities, including live music, gourmet food stalls, and a spectacular firework display – all adding to the festival's thrilling atmosphere.

Bristol City's Best Hotels

Bristol's hospitality sector is as diverse as its cultural offerings. As you plan your trip to the balloon fiesta, you will find a wide range of hotels catering to different tastes and budgets.

For luxury seekers, the Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel on College Green offers a fusion of historic architecture and modern comfort. Situated near the Bristol Cathedral and Bristol Hippodrome Theatre, it offers easy access to the city's major attractions.

If you are looking for something more boutique, the Berkeley Square Hotel in Clifton offers a uniquely Bristol experience. It is situated close enough to the fiesta site yet far enough to escape the hustle and bustle when you need to.

For budget-conscious travellers, the Ibis Bristol Centre is a great choice. With modern rooms and amenities, it offers excellent value for money and is conveniently located in the city centre.

Bath: An Alternative Stay

While Bristol's hotels offer a variety of options, you might also consider staying in the neighbouring city of Bath, particularly if you enjoy history and stunning architecture. Bath is just a short train ride away from Bristol and offers a tranquil retreat from the fiesta's energetic atmosphere.

Among the top picks is the Francis Hotel Bath - located in the city's historic centre, it offers a perfect blend of Georgian elegance and modern comfort. Another great option is the MacDonald Bath Spa Hotel, a five-star property renowned for its luxurious spa facilities and classic rooms.

For those on a budget, The Z Hotel Bath provides small but smartly designed rooms in a central location, making it easy for you to explore the city's attractions.

Making the Most of Your Day at the Fiesta

Choosing the right accommodation is just the first step in enjoying your trip to the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. To make the most of it, it's important to plan your day wisely.

Gates open early in the morning, so it's a good idea to arrive early to secure a good spot for balloon viewing. Bring a picnic or enjoy the food offerings at the Fiesta – local food vendors offer a broad range of cuisines to cater to diverse tastes.

Remember, the balloons are weather-dependent – if it's too windy or rainy, they won't take off. However, the festival offers plenty of other entertainment options, including fairground rides, live music, and craft stalls.

Bristol's Nightlife

After a full day at the Fiesta, you might want to explore Bristol's vibrant nightlife. The city is known for its bustling bars and clubs, making it a great place to unwind after a day filled with balloon watching.

In the Clifton area, you will find numerous gastropubs offering a cosy atmosphere, excellent food, and a wide selection of beers and wines. If you're looking for something more lively, head towards King Street, where you can find a range of pubs and bars offering live music.

Regardless of your accommodation choice, ensure you take the time to explore and enjoy everything Bristol and the International Balloon Fiesta have to offer. With careful planning, your visit to this magnificent city and its vibrant balloon festival will be a memorable one.

Bristol's Unique Attractions

In addition to the fantastic hot air balloon fiesta, Bristol is famous for its array of unique attractions that are worth exploring during your stay in the city. From the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge to the vibrant street art, there is something for everyone in Bristol.

The famous Clifton Suspension Bridge, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, offers a breathtaking view of the Avon Gorge. This architectural marvel is undoubtedly one of the must-visit places in Bristol. The visitor centre at the Leigh Woods end of the bridge will give you a deeper insight into the history and construction of this marvel.

Next, the vibrant street art makes Bristol a city like no other. As the home of the world-renowned artist Banksy, the city is brimming with several of his original artworks along with creative works by other local artists. Walking tours are available to guide you through the city's colourful streets.

For a slice of history, the SS Great Britain, another of Brunel's masterpieces, is a must-visit. Explore the restored ship which is now a museum offering an immersive experience of Victorian life. Nearby, the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery is an excellent place to explore various historical, geological and archaeological displays.

Even if you're staying in Bristol primarily for the balloon festival, don't miss the chance to discover the unique attractions that Bristol City has to offer.

Exploring Bristol's Food Scene

While in Bristol, besides revelling in the spectacle of hundreds of hot air balloons taking flight, you might want to dive into the city's incredible food scene. Bristol is known for its culinary diversity, offering a wide range of delectable food and drink options to suit all tastes.

For a true Bristol experience, head to the historic St. Nicholas Market, in the city centre. It's a foodie paradise with a variety of stalls serving up dishes from around the world, including local favourites like the Bristolian pasty and the local cider.

Bristol's Harbourside also offers a plethora of dining options, from hip cafes to stylish restaurants with views over the water. Try locally caught fish at The Spiny Lobster, or indulge in Michelin-star dining at Casamia.

In addition, Bristol is home to a number of fantastic breweries and cider houses. Pay a visit to Ashton Press at Ashton Court Estate for some local cider, or enjoy craft beers at Moor Beer Company. Both these places offer tastings and tours, making it an enjoyable experience even for those who are not regular drinkers.

Remember, no trip to Bristol is complete without experiencing its lively food scene that beautifully complements its hot air balloon festival.


Planning your trip for the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta can be an exciting journey. From choosing the perfect accommodation to exploring the city's unique attractions and vibrant food scene, your visit to Bristol promises to be a memorable one.

Whether you choose to stay in the heart of Bristol City or in the historic city of Bath, the beauty of the hot air balloons gracing the sky at Ashton Court Estate is a sight you will carry in your heart long after the festival ends.

No matter what time of day, whether you're watching the morning ascents or the night glow, the Bristol Balloon Fiesta is an unforgettable experience. And remember, even if the weather plays spoilsport, Bristol still has plenty to offer, from its iconic suspension bridge to its lively street art and food scene.

In the end, whether you're a balloon enthusiast or a first-time visitor, the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is a celebration of the city's creative spirit and vibrant culture, making it an event not to be missed.

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