There are many areas of the UK that are rich in natural beauty or stunning historic architecture and it can be even more amazing seeing them from the basket of a hot air balloon. Here are five of the best locations in which to take a hot air balloon trip.
Drifting over London at dawn is an unforgettable experience. As your balloon rises above the sounds of the awakening city you will spot many well-known landmarks, such as Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament. The London Eye may appear far below your wicker basket, reminding you that your own view of the capital is far superior, taking in many more sights and subtly changing from moment to moment. The river Thames will be seen winding its way through the city and more modern structures such as Wembley Stadium and the O2 Arena could make appearances amongst the more historic buildings.
2. Monmouthshire, Wales
Monmouthshire in Wales offers lush, natural landscapes in an area of outstanding natural beauty. The market town of Monmouth can be seen in its green Wye valley setting, offering views of a variety of architectural styles that include medieval, Roman, Victorian and Georgian. Numerous historic castles are scattered around the area, possibly the greatest density per square mile anywhere in the UK, against a delightful backdrop of rolling fields, rivers and hills. The Severn Estuary, the Brecon Beacons and the Forest of Dean may be seen nearby, depending on which way the wind blows.
Cornwall is known as one of the most visually appealing parts of Britain and, as the views from your balloon will stretch for miles, you may see sights such as Bodmin Moor, an area of unspoilt moorland, or Tintagel, the ruined castle thought to be King Arthur's birthplace. Gentle, undulating countryside contrasts with dramatic cliffs, and there are many seaside towns and golden beaches, as well as historic houses and castles. With the sea sparkling in the distance, you can fly across this enchanting landscape so quietly that you won't disturb the wildlife beneath your balloon.
The splendid Georgian city of Bath has elegant architecture that is perhaps best seen from the air, in order to appreciate the sweeping lines of the Royal Crescent, the imposing grandeur of Bath Abbey and the beautiful arches of Pulteney Bridge as it spans the River Avon. The eighteenth century Circus, with its intricate stone carvings, is a marvel of Georgian architecture and a World Heritage Site. Around the city you may enjoy views of the beautiful, verdant Somerset countryside dotted with old-fashioned and charming English villages.
5. Scottish Borders
The rugged landscapes of the Scottish Borders are even more spectacular when seen during a balloon ride. Flying over the attractive town of Kelso you will see Scotland's largest market square, surrounded by buildings from the eighteenth and nineteenth century. In the countryside nearby, the River Tweed can be spied glistening and you may also catch sight of striking Floors Castle, or the romantic ruined abbeys of Jedburgh and Melrose. Views of woods, fields and lonely, rounded hills can all be enjoyed as you float past peacefully.