Chatsworth's Biggest Ever Hot Air Balloon Lift
The spectacular sight of the biggest ever meeting of hot air balloons gliding majestically across the parkland will greet visitors to this year’s Chatsworth Country Fair (30 August-1 September 2019).
Billed as one of the best meets in Britain, the organisers of the lift have more than 65 pilots registered to take part with dawn and dusk flights scheduled for all three days, weather permitting.
Eye-catching special animal shapes will be among the colourful balloons taking to the skies with pilots coming from all over the UK for the rare opportunity to fly over Chatsworth, a no go zone for the rest of the year.
The skills of the pilots are put to the test with trophies for those who can manage to throw bread buns into a picnic basket on the ground during their flight; plus the chance for a quick ‘splash and dash’ in the river Derwent.
Organiser Rachel Percival, one half of the father and daughter team from the East Midlands Balloon Group, said: “It’s such a beautiful setting that so many pilots are keen to come and experience flying at Chatsworth. We throw in the competitions for a bit of extra fun but it is a real test of skill. If they touch the ground, they’re disqualified and they need to take into account wind speed and direction.
“For visitors, it really is a fantastic sight to see from miles around when they are arriving and again at dusk. Generally the pilots like to have pootle around for a couple of hours and then will come down and land all over the fair site, from the main arena to the car parks, so get here early to catch the action.”
Chatsworth Country Fair is also delighted to welcome Julia Bradbury as this year’s President. Outside her life on television and following her dedication to environmental causes and caring for the great outdoors, Julia Bradbury co-founded The Outdoor Guide (TOG) with her sister Gina. TOG is an online resource that brings all outdoor-related information into one, easy to use, digital space. From where to walk and visit in the nearby area, to the best pubs for a locally brewed pint, to the best places to stay in the countryside as a wheelchair user, TOG is aiming to make the outdoors accessible to all. Chatsworth is featured on TOG, along with several stunning walks to take nearby. Julia is also the ambassador for Keep Britain Tidy and The Camping and Caravanning Club to name but a few.
Julia said: "I'm honoured to be the guest of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire for this special weekend and to have been given the prestigious title of President of Chatsworth Country Fair, where the best of the British countryside will be showcased.
“I'm really looking forward to heading back to this part of the UK - Derbyshire is so close to my heart; having spent my childhood here walking with my Dad in the beautiful Peak District, this is where my infatuation with our countryside all began. This part of the country is so full of surprises - from the quaint market towns brimming with history and culture, to underground limestone caves where you feel like you're in another world. Although I could spend forever rambling the peaks, I could also spend days on end walking around the stunning garden at Chatsworth, which is most certainly a beating heart of the county.
“I have been waiting all summer with great anticipation for some quintessentially British attractions including the scurry and trial driving which will see ponies and their drivers tackling a huge obstacle course, falconry demonstrations and vehicle parades. I'm hoping to catch a ride in a hot air balloon if I'm lucky and if not, you're most likely to find me in the food village... probably at any stall selling chocolate!"
Other highlights announced for this year’s Country fair include The Ukrainian Cossacks, the UK’s leading motorcycle display team, the Bolddog Lings and the Poppy Parachute Team.
The Stoves Cookery Theatre has a fantastic line up of top chefs across all three days led by Queen of Baking and Fair favourite Mary Berry on Friday, James Martin on Saturday and wrapped up by The Hairy Bikers on Sunday.
There is plenty to appeal to children of all ages all day long, with pony rides and exotic animals, the climbing wall and zorb balls for the daring, as well as face painting and the vintage fairground for some old-fashioned fun.
On the gate prices for adults are £25 each day and includes parking, while children under 14 get in free. Book in advance to take advantage of 10 percent off all day tickets until midnight 26 August 2019.
Gates open at 9am each day, with a closing ceremony at 6.30pm.
For more information on the event and to book tickets, please visit www.chatsworth.org/countryfair
To find out more about Chatsworth visit their Historic Houses webpage here.
Cover image courtesy Chatsworth estate. Photo by Geraldine Curtis