Bristol International Balloon Fiesta: why shuttle buses have been cancelled - alternative modes of transport?

What are your other options to get to Bristol International Balloon Fiesta?
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The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, touted as one of the biggest hot air ballooning events across Europe, has announced that their shuttle service will no longer be available this year.

The event, scheduled August 11 - 14, cited a lack of drivers as the reason for the cancellation - a continuation of the bus driver shortage the country is currently experiencing.

“Difficult news for many who rely on the service.”


Ben Hardy, director of the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, understands the frustration regarding the situation but it was not a decision taken lightly.

“We have worked hard over the last few months to look for alternatives to the Fiesta’s shuttle bus service but all viable options have been exhausted.

“Having tried to find a workable solution in partnership with all the main operators in the area, the lack of bus drivers means that we are unable to provide this travel option.”

What are my options to get to the event?

To ease some of the transport issues, the International Balloon Fiesta announced an extension to the lower-tier parking prices for those happy to drive until July 31.

Parking prices across the weekend range from £17.60 to £24.75 per day (prices include booking fees.)

For those who don’t want to drive however, the organisers have pushed for the use of bicycles and walking to the event.

Walking or cycling to the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta.

Organisers have put a real emphasis on walking or cycling to the Fiesta by way of their “Festival Way” route;  a traffic-free path connecting the city to Ashton Court Estate


Utilising the National Cycle Route 33, attendees can take in the sights as the bustling centre of Bristol makes way for the greenery upon the approach to Ashton Court Estate.

I’ll be stood up most of the day - what are my other choices?

Taxis will be able to pick up and drop off at designated points on the map.

We had a look at the cost of a taxi for one person from Bristol Temple Meads to Ashton Court Estate on the opening day of the fiesta:

  • Uber: £8.35
  • AA Taxis: £15.00
  • V Cars: £10.40

Public buses will still be in service, with the M2 bus the most direct route to the event. Bear in mind however that road closure will be taking place around Ashton Court Estate, so always double check the service updates through First Bus Bristol.

What is the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta?

The inside of one of many hot air balloons to take to the skies in Bristol next month.The inside of one of many hot air balloons to take to the skies in Bristol next month.
The inside of one of many hot air balloons to take to the skies in Bristol next month.

The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta was founded  on the weekend of the 7th-9th September 1979. A small gathering of like-minded balloonists came together to celebrate the first ever Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, at the popular ballooning location, Ashton Court.

From this small beginning, the Fiesta has grown year after year, flourishing into what has become Europe’s largest annual hot air balloon festival.

Today, the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta attracts over 100 Hot Air Balloons and 500,000 visitors over the four days of the event.

The Fiesta has become as much of an icon for Bristol as Brunel, Wallace and Gromit or Concorde.

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