In Cheshire & Shropshire we launch from three carefully selected private venues, all chosen to give you the best possible hot air balloon ride!
- Chester, launching from 'The Crocky Trail' adventure park.
- Nantwich, flying from Stapeley Water Gardens or The Boar's Head Public House.
- Whitchurch, from the beautiful grounds of Dearnford Lake.
Flying from our launch site close to Chester allows us spectacular views not only of the Roman city itself, but also the distant hills and mountains of north Wales. Looking towards the north-west you may see the Irish Sea and the River Dee. Of course, to the north is the Wirral, the Mersey and Liverpool itself - where we can usually pick out the landmarks of the Cathedrals, Albert Dock and the Liver Building.
Travelling time by car from either Manchester or Liverpool is rarely more than 45 minutes. Even Anglesey is seldom more than an hour away!
Moving a little further inland, we have two launch sites close to Nantwich. The first is at the well-known venue of Stapeley Water Gardens, set on the edge of the picturesque market town, whilst our other site is just a few miles south at The Boar's Head public house where you can enjoy a drink and a meal before setting off for an evening's flight!
Flying over this region of Cheshire you will appreciate how the county has become famous for its milk production. Almost every farm is a dairy unit, and cows stretch from horizon to horizon! This is a beautiful rural landscape, managed to a very high standard by the farming community.
Its heritage proven by the many half-timbered buildings that make up this ancient market town, modern day Nantwich benefits by its proximity to so many major routes. Ten minutes from the M6, and on the junction of the A51, A500, A529, A530 and A534, this is certainly an easy place to reach for your flight.
Finally, and just across the border into Shropshire, we have our launch site close to Whitchurch. Located just to the south of Whitchurch, and well sign-posted from the main roads, Dearnford Lake is a beautiful private venue close to Dearnford Hall. We generally have exclusive use of this site. Launching from the lakeside, this is a stunning venue that also offers facilities such as refreshments and loos! It makes a relaxing spot for those friends or family who may not be flying or following the balloons.
Whitchurch, as Nantwich, is an ancient market town, and as such is well connected to the surrounding areas by an established road network. This makes navigation a simple task, whether travelling from Chester to the north, Shrewsbury to the south, or even Wrexham and Wales to the west.
As a Roman settlement, Whitchurch was first known as Mediolanum, meaning 'the place in the middle of the plain'. So, as you might guess, it is surrounded by extensive countryside in all directions! It's famous as the oldest continually inhabited town in Shropshire!
So Why Do We Need Three Launch Sites?
The answer to this question is fairly simple - hot air balloons cannot be steered! We go exactly where the wind takes us, and have no control over our speed or direction of travel. So, imagine taking off from Chester, with the wind blowing towards the sea - we'd have a very wet landing, and a long swim home! With the wind in that direction we'd need to use one of our launch sites further inland, so that we could fly in safety.
Similarly, with the wind in other certain directions, Nantwich or Whitchurch may be unsuitable, and so we would fly from Chester instead. The three sites are all within 20 - 30 minutes driving of each other.
Basically, we cannot say which launch site we will be using on any particular day, until we know which way the wind is likely to be blowing! We expect our passengers to be prepared to fly from whichever venue is being used that day. However, we will always endeavour to accommodate your requests should you have a particular preference.
If you have a party of eight or more passengers, we will happily investigate the possibilities of flying from other locations to suit you. Flying from your own "back yard" at least assures you of some very novel aerial photos! We generally make no extra charge for launching from alternative locations so long as they are within a reasonable distance.