Photo by Nathan Riley
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something. While clicking these links won't cost you anything, they will help me to keep this site up and running! Check out the full disclosure policy for more details. Thank you so much!
The Bristol Balloon Fiesta is undeniably one of the biggest days in the UK south-west calendar, with visitors and spectators attending from all over the country and the world. But with the surge in visitors comes a surge in prices for accommodation nearby, and unless you have friends nearby to stay with cheaply, the cost of a hotel or Airbnb can get expensive very quickly! This is a quick guide to share my top tip to find cheap places to stay during Bristol Balloon Fiesta.
Whilst my luck with the weather has always been dire when I’ve tried to visit the Bristol Balloon Fiesta (anyone who has been the last few years will know what I mean!) and I’ve barely seen any balloons lift, I have thankfully not spent a fortune on accommodation while I’ve been there!
1.Book as far in advance as possible
The Bristol Balloon Fiesta usually announce the weekend dates earlier in the year so this gives you plenty of time to book in advance! But when they announce the dates, there is usually a huge rush to buy accommodation. So my tip is to guess the couple of weekends it might be happening (it’s usually one of the first 2 weekends in August) and book a refundable accommodation option on booking.com. This way you’re guaranteed a room, cheaper rates and you can cancel whichever weekend was the incorrect guess!
2. Search for accommodation outside of greater Bristol
Obviously for the Bristol Balloon Fiesta, everyone automatically looks for accommodation in Bristol city or close to the grounds. Instead, Google Map the villages and towns in the surrounding areas and then search for accommodation in these villages. I would recommend booking.com or airbnb.co.uk to do this and use their map feature so you can see other nearby properties in the area.
3. The cheapest place to stay during Bristol Balloon Fiesta is on a camping and caravan site
This is my top tip for cheap places to stay during Bristol Balloon Fiesta, if you’re like me and you’re more likely to leave booking to the last minute!
Campsites rarely change their pricing for big events and their prices are consistently reasonable throughout the year. Whilst camping might not be for everyone, it’s during the British summer so the weather should be good, it’s a fun experience for you and the family or a fun adventure for you and your partner or your friends.
Plus with the land size of farms and private land in the area, the campsites are huge and rarely run out of space! There is always parking included or an electric hook up if you have a caravan or RV.
The place I always stay is Kingswood Farm Campsite, near Cleeve and just a 27 minute drive from the fiesta. There is no website to book, you just call the number listed on Google Maps, reserve your space and pay cash on arrival. I like this site because there are plenty of large trees to shelter you if the weather does get a bit blustery!
Here are a selection of other camping areas to the south of the Balloon Fiesta and around a 30 minute drive to the main arena.
Like it? Pin it!
Flights: I use Expedia to find great flights and the best deals all over the world, they have regular sales and offers so I always check their website. I also check CheapOair to find cheap deals on round trip flights.
Car Rental: I love the customer service I've always gotten and the variety of options with Rental Cars. But for short notice rentals, I've been using Expedia for the last year, they always seem to have great one-day rates or last-minute rates from the main rental companies.
Accommodation: I prefer the flexibility of booking accommodation with Booking.com so I can cancel or change my reservation without a fee or only pay on arrival for most properties. For longer or more unique stays I prefer AirBnB because you can get the long stay discount, you can also find more unique properties and book experiences with talented locals and businesses. For my budget trips, I always stay in hostels and book through Hostelworld because they have great guarantees if anything does go wrong. If you arrive and your booking is not at the property, they refund the full deposit AND give you $50 extra credit.
Tours and organised trips Although I don’t use tours that often, I do like to book local experiences or day trips once I reach my destination. For that I use GetYourGuide because it has the biggest selection and variety of tour and experience options.
Travel Insurance: For all my longer trips and for the entire year I’ve spent in Australia, my partner and I have always used World Nomads. They cover everything I need and I can buy coverage for a year at a time, they also allow you to purchase cover when you’re already outside your home country. Plus my camera gear and equipment is covered and they also have special cover for when I’m scuba diving too.
My camera gear and equipment: I use a Canon 77D with an 18-135mm lens or a 50mm lens. And a DJI Mavic Mini Drone. For all my gear including laptops, tripods and more camera accessories read my travel photography gear guide.