It’s not uncommon to celebrate a birthday with balloons, but Jessica Bill celebrated her 24th aboard a 100 foot tall hot air balloon floating 3000 feet up in the sky.
Jess and boyfriend of two years, Nick Crosby, 29, from Gamston, took to the skies from Stoke Rochford Hall, in Grantham, Lincolnshire, in an iconic red Virgin balloon last week.
The sunrise voyage marked the achievement of a lifetime ambition for the couple, who bought the balloon ride vouchers for their first anniversary.
“We’ve both always wanted to go on a balloon flight. Everyone was great and really looked after us and, even though we met up at 6am on a freezing cold morning, they we really upbeat and fun. When we told them it was Jess’ birthday they all started singing happy birthday to her, the rest of the passengers joined in too,” said Nick.
Jess added: “My favourite bit was the views, they were amazing and something I’ll never forget. The champagne toast after we landed was great too.”
Travelling around eight miles to the east during the hour-long flight, the balloon landed land near Belvoir Castle before experienced pilot Martin Collinson presented Jess and Nick with their personalised flight certificates.
Martin, 46 from Grantham said “It was great to have Jessica and Nick on board, there’s something special about singing happy birthday in the open air over the countryside, it’s magical! After the snow we’ve had, a beautiful clear balloon ride was a special way to celebrate her day; I’m delighted they enjoyed it.”
The couple, who are due to be married in August next year, said they were now keen to experience another balloon ride as part of their honeymoon.
Balloon flights are available from sites across the UK including Nottingham from £99pp via www.virginballoonflights.co.uk or on 0844 844 8080.
Our hot air balloon flights over the Kentish countryside are extremely popular and ballooning over Kent gives you a totally unique perspective of the beautiful southern landscape from the sky. We’re proud to present yet another new launch site for the 2013 flying season here at Virgin Balloon Flights; Oakwood House, Maidstone.
Oakwood House, a beautiful 19th Century Victorian mansion is directly adjacent to the launch site and sets the scene for those wanting to escape to the skies on an airborne adventure in one of our iconic red hot air balloons in the south east of England.
As you rise from the grounds of Oakwood Park, pilot Damon Bridger will point out your surroundings while you glide above the landscape taking in the greenery, villages and towns below.
Sue Rackliffe, Sales Manager at Oakwood House said “We are thrilled that Virgin Balloons have chosen the parkland here as their latest launch site and we look forward to welcoming those who will be enjoying this amazing experience”
What’s more, post flight you can re-call your ballooning exploration over lunch, afternoon tea or a delicious dinner in the conservatory style Courtyard Bar – perfect!
If you’d like to join us on a Virgin Balloon Flight in Kent from just £79pp simply visit our website or give us a call on 0844 8448070.
See you in the sky.
Are you looking for a present with a difference? Hot air balloon rides make the perfect unforgettable present. At Virgin balloons we offer quality hot air balloon rides. With over one hundred different locations across Britain you will be spoilt for choice. We have the largest fleet of hot air balloons in the UK and all our expert pilots have years of experience.
At Virgin balloons we offer flexible hot air balloon vouchers. Our flight experience vouchers comprise of a three to four hour experience. Firstly you will be greeted by our fantastic staff and fill in all of the necessary registration papers. Next there will be a briefing by your pilot and the chance to help inflate the balloon. Our pilots are happy to answer any questions you might have about the flight or about the balloon. The hot air balloon rides typically last around one hour. Hot air balloons let you see the British countryside as never before. Peer down on the landscape and wildlife below from hundreds of feet in the air. Each of our hot air balloon rides are unique as you never know where the wind will take you. Hot air balloon rides are like no other form of transport and really give you the chance to pause and appreciate the true beauty of Britain and your surroundings. Hot air balloon rides are the ideal experience to share with a loved one or friend. You can marvel together at the calm and serene atmosphere as you glide about in one of our magnificent hot air balloons. A truly unforgettable experience.
After your hot air balloon flight you will receive a champagne toast after landing or soft drink if you choose. We present everyone with a certificate signed by your pilot to commemorate the special day. Then you will be invited to help deflate the balloon and we will provide transport back to your launch site.
Here at Virgin balloons you can give the gift of flight with our flexible hot air balloon vouchers. We have made it as simple as possible to book one of our hot air balloon ride experiences. If you are booking a hot air balloon ride as a gift, all you have to do is choose the experience package you want and we will deliver your voucher and any additional extras you have chosen. Then all the recipient has to do is log on and book which date they want to redeem their hot air balloon ride. You can choose from regional or national balloon vouchers depending where you wish to take your flight. We have a number of different flight experience packages to choose from including our romance gift package for two and our luxury gift package for two. To make your present extra special we stock a variety of additional add on gifts such as chocolate champagne truffles, fair trade gift wine hamper, best of Britain gift hamper, compact binoculars and our Virgin balloon flight gift pack.
Let us show you the skies and create a hot air balloon flight experience you will never forget.
This year, Richard Branson is encouraging the world to wear and share their Christmas jumpers – especially if they’re so bad they’re good. During December, he has shared some of his past Christmas clothing through his blog and Tumblr page. Globally, all Virgin companies will be getting in the spirit and sharing photographs of their crazy knitwear.
This Friday is our turn at Virgin Balloon Flights and we’re looking for some of the most outrageous jumpers in town. Its not just the staff in our office joining in, our pilots and crew members will be jumping into their quirky knitwear and sending us snaps from all over the country. We’ll be sharing all our photos with you on our Facebook and Twitter page as well as the official Xmas Jumper tumblr page.
You too can all join in from home, work or wherever you are! All you have to do is tweet @richardbranson with the hastag #XmasJumpers. You could even be in with a chance of winning one of Richard Branson’s very own jumpers from the past (photo above)! Richard himself will select a winner on Tuesday 18th December, so come on and join in the fun!
Picture a hot air balloon ride: you’re drifting into the sunset. Arm around the person you love. Quietly sipping champagne as the picturesque scenery slips beneath your feet…
Douglas the Lurpak Butter Man
Dating back at least as far as the late 90s, Douglas the Lurpak Butter Man was a balloon like no other – Lighter Than Air. Although, we suppose that part makes him just like every other hot air balloon, exciting design or not. Famous for being involved in British pilot Ian Ashpole’s record-breaking attempt at the highest flight attached to 600 toy balloons. Fewer people know that Douglas was once stolen while packed away in a trailer – he was located after a reward of £1000 was offered.
The Mandatory Animal: Flying Cow
No Top 3 Hot Air Balloon list would be complete with an unlikely animal defying gravity and taking to the sky. Beating off turtle, bee, dinosaur and elephant inspired balloons to make this list, “The Cow” takes off at a skiing resort in Chateaux D’Oex in the Swiss Alps during the 25th Annual Hot Air Balloon Week (the elephant was a close second).
Head One: Darth Vadar
The top-secret operation code named “Head One” saw an English manufacturer take 8 weeks to bring Darth Vadar himself to life as a hot air balloon. Commissioned by a Belgian Star Wars fan, the construct is 86 feet high, 69 feet wide and weighs approximately 640 pounds. May the force be with it!
Of course, if these balloons are out of your price range, you can always opt for ballooning with Virgin Balloon Flights. Every year from March to November hundreds of balloons take to the sky offering anyone the chance to have their breath taken away.
(Virgin Balloon Flights don’t yet offer the experience in flying cow form, but we’re pretty sure that’s not a negative.)
This year’s Virgin ‘Stars of the Year’ event brought together 31 brilliant individuals from different Virgin companies across the globe to celebrate their hard work and outstanding achievements. We caught up with our ‘Star of the Year’, operations technician Roger Vint, to get some more inside details of what went on at one of the best Virgin events of the year.
Roger went to the evening – held at Sam and Holly Branson’s house – with his wife Sue. He told us:
When I found out I had been voted a ‘Star of the Year’, I was somewhat suprised and a little shocked but once over the initial suprise, I was delighted and extremely excited.
We didn’t see much of the house but the grounds were very remote and lovely. On arrival, we were greeted with some fancy cocktails, a few minutes later Richard opened up the conservatory (his words!) big enough to hold 150 people. The decoration was first-class, all very glamorous and elegant but still with a homely feel as there was a lit log fire – it was lovely!
We spoke to a lot of people throughout the night; fellow guests and even some Virgin Directors who were all very attentive, all going out of their way to look after us. Three directors in particular spent considerable time with us; Matt, the HR Director of Virgin Money, Matthew Donaghy, HR Director of Virgin Trains and the CEO of Virgin Group. When we met Richard himself, he was very relaxed and chatty.
We all sat down for dinner and the food was amazing, we enjoyed Beef Wellington and Salmon baked in Salt. We then had the speeches presented by Richard and his daughter Holly along with other senior Virgin group members. After that, we all had photos with Richard before the Disco began. It was a great evening. All in all, a once in a lifetime experience.
Virgin Stars of the Year Awards Evening 2012
Sounds like it was a brilliant evening for everyone. Congratulations Roger and all the Stars of the Year!
On Tuesday morning, we had British chef and TV food presenter, Matt Tebbutt on board with us in Devon. He took time off from filming Channel 4 series ‘Food Unwrapped’ to enjoy the airborne adventure with his family. The balloon launched from the edge of Dartmoor, floated over South Brent and headed towards Kingsbridge giving the celebrity chef and his family a stunning view of South Hams and the coastline.
Pilot Richard Prowse said,
Matt and his family absolutely loved it. It was a beautiful morning; we travelled up through the clouds to about 3,500 feet to see some incredible views.
Matt and his wife run an award-winning restaurant, The Foxhunter in Monmouthshire, that is well known for using seasonal fresh produce and its daily changing menu. Being a keen forager, when the balloon landed, he searched around for some natural produce – eventually finding some fresh wild mushrooms! Current series ‘Food Unwrapped’ continues Monday at 8.30pm on Channel 4.
You too can climb on board a hot air balloon with us for as little as £89pp. We have over 100 fantastic launch sites for you to choose from, just visit our website or call us in the office on 0844 844 8080 to book now.
In aid of the Breast Cancer Campaign, here at Virgin Balloon Flights we all got pretty in pink as part of the ‘wear it pink’ day.
For those of you that aren’t aware, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The aim is to increase the awareness of breast cancer so women can learn to check for symptoms and seek help early if needed, increasing their chance of survival. Breast Cancer Campaign is one of the charities that contribute towards breast cancer awareness. It is made up of a unique community of scientists, supporters and people touched by breast cancer. ‘wear it pink’ is part of their focus on Pink Science – a pioneering approach to breast cancer research that funds projects with the greatest potential to save and improve lives, and ultimately find a cure.
Breast Cancer Campaigncurrently supports 102 research projects – worth over £17 million – in 35 centres of excellence across the UK and Ireland. Their logo is a jigsaw piece symbolising the missing piece of the puzzle that is the cure for breast cancer. Although there has already been improvements in quality of life and survival due to past research, support is still needed for the research to continue.
‘wear it pink’ is such a simple way to raise money for an important cause. If you missed out today, don’t hesitate to get involved, fundraising happens all year round. To do your part or even create your own event, simply visit the Breast Cancer Campaign website and order a fundraising pack.
We love seeing our big red Virgin balloons up in the air and its even better when two of our pilots get to fly together. Our balloons ‘G-VBFR’ and ‘G-VBFF’ launched simultaneously from Nottingham Racecourse on Sunday morning.
The inflation of a balloon is wonderful to watch, seeing the balloon rise from the ground to grow over 80ft tall. When our balloons were inflated side by side at our Nottingham launch site, it was double the excitement!
Pilots Alan Lusty and Martin Collinson took to the sky together to treat passengers to magnificent views of the beautiful Nottinghamshire countryside. They were close enough to wave to one another and had the opportunity to take some fantastic photos balloon to balloon – the best viewpoint – and from the comfort of their own basket!
You too can fly from Nottingham Racecourse or any of our other 100+ launch sites. Simply visit our website or call us on 0844 844 8080. With flights starting from as little as £89pp, so don’t hesitate to book your adventure now.