Bumper crowds enjoyed a hot air ballooning extravaganza at Longleat over the weekend. Now in its fourth year, Sky Safari welcomed tens of thousands of visitors to the Wiltshire Estate.
Sky Safari is Europe’s largest annual hot air balloon event and attracts pilots from as far afield as the USA, United Arab Emirates and Lithuania with more than 170 individual teams taking part.
The three-day event set a series of new records including the largest number balloons to take part in a mass launch in the UK, with 172 taking off on Saturday and the biggest Night Glow in the UK, featuring 84 balloons.
“The Sky Safari is growing in popularity each year and it’s rapidly establishing itself as one of the biggest events of its kind worldwide,” said Longleat’s Steve Mytton.
“The calibre of pilot and the sheer range of hot air balloons we are able to attract means our visitors get to see the very best of the best and we’re already excited to see what next year has to offer,” he added.
The star of this year’s event was Adelaide, a giant koala, which took to the skies to celebrate the opening of Longleat’s new Koala Creek home to a group of the iconic Australian marsupials.
Adelaide was part of an aerial ‘Safari Park’ which also featured Simbaloo the lion, a cheetah called Duma, a panther, a wolf, a fox, a parrot and an owl.
More than 30 other special shaped balloons made an appearance over the weekend; either flying or taking part in tethered displays with everything from an inflatable recreation of the Brandenburg Gate, a giant emoji and a full-sized version of the famous animated balloon from Walt Disney’s Up.
Longleat partnered with Exclusive Ballooning to put on the event which attracted current and former world champions in hot air ballooning from Japan, USA and UK competitions.