3 May 2018

Balloons InDurham – Everything You Need to Know for 2018 (AD)

This post is sponsored by DurhamBID
Hot air balloons will once again fill the Durham City skyline for the return of a free family-friendly festival at the end of this month. In three weeks’ time, when you look to the skies above Durham City, it will be awash with brightly coloured balloons. The horizon will be lit up with hot air balloons galore as a weekend of spectacular Spring Bank Holiday family fun, from Friday 25 May until Monday 28 May, comes to Durham. And we are working with Durham BID to bring you the low down on this year's event.

durham hot air balloon festival

Up, Up and Away

I once went up, up and away in a beautiful balloon. It was a flight in a hot air balloon over the Masai Mara in Kenya. An experience I’ll never forget! I'm also always very jealous of one of my favourite British cities - Bristol and their brilliant annual hot air balloon festival. Last year we were away on holiday for the first Balloons InDurham so this year I am very excited that I will get to experience the North East’s very own balloon festival when it returns to Durham.

Last year Balloons InDurham was a huge success, seeing in excess of 20,000 people come into the city to watch the hot air balloons and the stunning night glow. Organisers Durham BID is promising this years’ festival will be even bigger and better.

Balloons InDurham 

Everything You Need to Know for 2018


Here we preview the festival that will run from dawn to dusk over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend, with everything you need to know about Balloons InDurham.

What is Balloons InDurham?

Returning for the second year the hot air balloon festival in Durham takes place at locations during the May half-term period. It will start on Friday 25th May with an early evening hot air balloon launch from East Durham College’s Houghall Campus, with activity then taking place throughout Saturday 26 & Sunday 27, with the festival concluding early on Monday 28 May.
durham hot air balloon festival

When is Balloons InDurham?

It is a 4-day event over the late May or Spring Bank Holiday Weekend from Friday 25 May until Monday 28 May 2018.

durham hot air balloon festival

What will I see at Balloons InDurham?

Hot air balloons and kites. Early morning and evening launches are expected to take off from East Durham College Houghall Campus, with tethered balloons on Palace Green next to Durham Cathedral, as well as other family-friendly entertainment for people to enjoy across the city.

balloons in durham 2018


Is Balloon InDurham family-friendly?

Yes, yes and yes. In addition to the early morning and evening launches from East Durham College Houghall Campus, on Saturday and Sunday, there will be fun-filled afternoons with hot air balloon demonstrations, kite flying and live entertainment.

There will also be kite flying demonstrations on Place Green outside Durham Cathedral on Saturday morning, alongside a host of other family-friendly activities.

While the balloonists attending are hobbyists and won’t be offering commercial flights to passengers, they’re giving everyone a chance to get up close and personal with the balloons, through trailer racing, photo opportunities in the baskets, and even letting a lucky few have a go at pulling the burners.

durham hot air balloon festival

Where is Balloons InDurham taking place?

It is taking place in Durham City which is on County Durham in North East England. There are two main locations. East Durham College Houghall Campus on the outskirts of the city; as well as Palace Green in the city centre from where you can watch the balloons rise over magnificent Durham Cathedral.

durham hot air balloon festival

How much does Balloons InDurham cost?

This is a free event for residents and visitors alike.


What about parking?

There is a non-refundable £5 per car per day parking permit scheme in place for each day of the festival at Houghall Campus. Once a car parking permit has been purchased on the gate at Houghall Campus, it allows you to come and go during the date the permit is valid for, meaning you can enjoy a balloon launch, then go and explore the City, enjoy a bite to eat or purchase some supplies for a picnic, or even head home for a while, before returning to the college for more actives later in the afternoon or into the evening without paying a re-entry fee.

durham hot air balloon festival

Balloons InDurham 2018 Programme 

Houghall College 

Friday 25th May 
  • 18.30hrs - 19.30hrs Balloon Launch 
Saturday 26th May 
  • 06.30hrs - 07.30hrs Mass Balloon Launch 
  • 12.00hrs - 18.30hrs Fun filled afternoon with hot air balloon demonstrations, kite flying and live entertainment 
  • 18.30hrs - 19.30hrs Mass Balloon Launch 
  • 21.30hrs - 22.15hrs Night Glow 
Sunday 27th May 
  • 06.30hrs - 07.30hrs Mass Balloon Launch 
  • 10.00hrs - 12.00hrs Kite Flying 
  • 12.00hrs - 18.30hrs Fun filled afternoon with hot air balloon demonstrations, kite flying and live entertainment 
  • 18.30hrs - 19.30hrs Mass Balloon Launch 
Monday 28th May 
  • 06.30hrs - 07.30hrs Mass Balloon Launch 

Palace Green 

Saturday 26th May 
  • 09.00hrs – 12.00hrs Kite Flying Demonstration 
  • 13.00hrs – 15.00hrs Balloon Tethers 
Sunday 27th May 
  • 14.00hrs - 16.00hrs Balloon Tethers 
  • 20.30hrs – 22.00hrs Illuminated Tethers

Can I go up in a hot air balloon at Balloons InDurham?

The balloonists attending are hobbyists and won’t be offering commercial flights to passengers, however, Virgin Balloons will also be attending Balloons InDurham. People wishing to experience a hot air balloon flight should contact them directly to book the experience.

Will the weather affect the hot air balloon festival?

Yes, like any outdoor event all of the events timetabled above are weather-dependent and subject to change at short notice. Last year the festival did have some weather issues, with high winds causing some of the balloon launches to be cancelled. The weather, of course, is unpredictable.

However this year, after learnings from last year, the organisers say there’ll be plenty of additional activities for families to see and do during the course of the festival. For example, when the weather conditions aren’t right for balloons, they’re perfect for kites and vice versa, giving people more reason to look to the skies and enjoy the spectacle that is sure to be Balloons InDurham 2018.

durham hot air balloon festival

Please keep an eye on the Durham BID website and social media channels on Facebook & Twitter - for real-time updates during the course of Balloons InDurham. 

Have you ever been in a hot air balloon?

Deb x

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Durham BID to promote the free Balloons InDurham festival 2018. Event information and images from the 2017 festival have been supplied by Durham BID.

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hot air balloon festival durham uk

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