Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2023: Road closures, shuttle buses, parking and more - all you need to know

Credit: Bristol Balloon Fiesta

Bristol’s annual Balloon Fiesta will return to Ashton Court Estate from 10-13 August. 

The event is Europe's largest hot air balloon festival and has been running since 1979.

More than 100 hot air balloons of all shapes and sizes are set to take to the skies at dusk and dawn.

The free, four-day event attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. 

There’s also family entertainment running throughout the day, food and drink stalls, and live music. 

What's the best way to get to Bristol Balloon Fiesta?

There are several ways to get to the festival, with many people travelling on foot, by car or by using the shuttle buses put on by organisers.

By bus...

There will be a Stagecoach shuttle bus running to Ashton Court Estate from Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Bus Station. Tickets need to be booked in advance for the day you want.

By taxi...

There is a drop-off/pick-up location a short walk from the event. There will be signs from all routes into the fiesta. 

By car...

If you’re driving in then car parking tickets need to be bought in advance

  • Blue Car Park, via Gate 4 - early entry for morning ascents, last entry 5pm

  • Red Car park, via Gate 6 - opens 10am, last entry 7pm

  • Motorbike parking, via Gate 6 - last entry 5pm 

  • Disabled car park, via Gate 6 - blue badge parking permit required, last entry 5pm 

There will be signs to get you to the car parks.

Night Glow is when a collection of balloons light up in the night sky when they are tethered to the ground Credit: Bristol Balloon Fiesta

What is the weather forecast?

After a wet and windy start to August, high pressure close to the West Country the Fiesta forecast will mean the weather is looking promising - especially on Thursday.

Light winds, a lot of sunshine and high temperatures will make for a good glow in the evening.

From then on, aside from a few showers on Saturday, the weather looks pretty fine and dry. It'll just be the winds that could be close to limits from Friday.

Temperatures will ease back down to around 20 degrees by the weekend as well.

What time does Bristol Balloon Fiesta start and finish - and when are mass ascents?

The site opens bright and early each morning with mass ascents due to take off from 6am. There's then entertainment all day at Ashton Court before the planned evening ascents at 6pm. This year, there will be two nightglows on the Thursday and Saturday of the fiesta.

  • Morning ascents start at 6am.

  • Evening ascents take place any time after 6pm.

  • Night Glow is when a collection of balloons light up in the night sky when they are tethered to the ground. This takes place on 10 and 12 August at 9pm. 

Road closures

Clifton Suspension Bridge will close to all pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles on 10 and 12 August from 6pm until midnight. 

Other roads around Ashton Court Estate will be closed - visitors must follow traffic signs. 

People are also warned to expect delays on the M5, with as many as 100,000 people expected to flock to the site each day.

National Highways warns the M5 could be particularly busy at junction 19 during the event as southbound traffic will use the junction to access the A369 and the event site.

The M5 at junction 21 will also see increased traffic as northbound traffic uses the A370 to travel to the fiesta, and traffic will also use the M32 to travel through Bristol to the event.

Kathryn Wiltshire, National Highways’ network planning officer for the South West, said: “We’re reminding road users to plan ahead during the balloon fiesta – roads leading to the event are likely to be very busy.

“Our aim is to keep the National Highways network running while keeping fiesta goers and other road users safe and informed. We advise people to check our traffic and travel information channels, set off early and allow plenty of time.”