South West News

Mass Balloon Launch NEW Record

Longleat has smashed the UK record for the most hot air balloons aloft simultaneously.

The record was broken on Saturday morning as part of the Wiltshire estate’s three-day Sky Safari event when 169 balloons of all shapes and sizes took to the skies.


A total of 210 balloons were launched or inflated over the weekend, which also saw the unveiling of a brand new koala-shaped hot air balloon in honour of a colony of the iconic Australian marsupials which is arriving at Longleat later this year.


The koala was one of a host of animal-inspired balloons that took part in the event alongside Simbaloo, the Longleat lion, penguins Puddles, Splash and Tall Steve, Wes the wolf and an owl. 


Sky Safari, which is run by Exclusive Ballooning, also featured a pair of Bertie Basset characters, a giant 120ft Hunter Wellington boot, an orange, an Aston Martin wing and a balloon themed around Disney’s hit movie ‘Up’.


The event is now one of the largest in Europe with balloons and pilots from around the world taking part.


Longleat’s Steve Mytton said: “It was an incredible sight to see all of those balloons in the air at the same time on Saturday and we’re absolutely delighted to have beaten the UK record.


“Hot air ballooning is always subject to the weather and the organisers were faced with some challenging conditions over the weekend which meant some planned ascents could not happen for safety reasons.


All of our unique and fully choreographed night glows went ahead with a total of 70 balloons lighting up the night sky throughout the event and 23 different special shapes were seen tethering or flying. 


Issued by Longleat. For more information please call Ellie Dewdney or Steve Mytton on 01985 845415 or email or