Hot air balloons over Clifton Suspension Bridge at sunrise, Bristol
© Rich Jones Photography/Getty Image
Balloons over Bristol
Hot air balloons floating past Clifton Suspension Bridge is a classic summer scene in Bristol. The city’s international balloon fiesta usually sees crowds gathering to watch the colourful display. This year, things will be a bit different due to social distancing, but Bristolians will still be able to watch balloons from their gardens and doorsteps, on one morning to be selected in the first two weeks of August.
Clifton Suspension Bridge, pictured on our homepage, is probably this city’s best recognised landmark, a feat of Victorian engineering designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. It took 33 years to complete, opening to the public in 1864, and still carries traffic and pedestrians today. It stretches 1,352ft across the Avon Gorge, which formed during the last Ice Age, linking Clifton in Bristol with Leigh Woods in North Somerset. The Grade I listed bridge is among the oldest surviving iron suspension bridges in the world but is usually closed to traffic when the balloon festival is in full swing, owing to concerns about the strain put on it by returning crowds.