|“The Cambridge Golf Club at Longstanton in Cambridgeshire is one of my favourite locations to fly from in England, no matter what direction the winds take us there is always something interesting to see and the countryside around us has a story to tell.” - Cary Crawley, Pilot.
Just two miles north of our Longstanton hot air balloon launch site and a mile east of Willingham high street is the iron age fort of Belsar’s Hill; an ancient monument clearly visible from the unique vantage point of a balloon basket. The intersecting lane known as the Aldreth Causeway was one of the few paths across the flooded fens up to the Isle of Ely.
It is said that shortly after the Norman conquest of 1066 a gate was built on Belsar’s Hill to control access of this important route. It is a passage on which Hereward the Wake, the 11th century local resistance leader, is fabled to have attacked the invaders. Hereward was said to be safe in his stronghold at Ely until monks there gave the new rulers the secrets of how to cross the Fens.
The villages of Haddenham, Wilburton and Stretham are built on a ridge between Longstanton and Ely. On the same flight direction and just before the town of Ely is the ‘Elysian Fields’ vineyard where the owner, a keen aviator himself, continues a tradition of wine grape growing which dates back to Roman times.
The building of Ely Cathedral, ‘the Ship of the Fens’, began in the eleventh century , its West Tower stands 288ft high and is visited by about 250,000 people a year. Rising above the fens like a beacon, the innovative octagonal ‘lantern’ appears almost suspended above the main building and is visible for miles around. A wind from the south west might take you close by or even over this wonderfully inspiring building.
Seen from the air the lines of the flood defences of the ‘New Bedford River’ or the ‘Hundred Foot Drain’ are striking as they cut parallel lines in the landscape from Erith in a line north east to Downham Market. Recently this land engineering has protected the local area from extensive flooding.
Just outside Swavesey, a former medieval port once well known for its exportation of eels, is the large nature reserve of Fen Drayton Lakes, a refuge for endangered bitterns and a site where archaeological remains of the Dalmatian Pelican have been found.
King Henry the sixth laid the foundation stone of Kings College Chapel Cambridge in the year of 1446. This distinct and beautiful building, easily recognisable from the air, was not finally completed until almost a hundred years later and during of the reign of King Henry the eighth. We frequently admire the chapel whilst on our Longstanton flights, and sometimes we even fly right over it.
South of Cambridge is the Imperial War Museum Duxford, housing the largest display of historic aircraft in Europe. Former RAF base Oakington also neighbours Cambridge Golf Club at Longstanton. The Park and Ride car park is just a few minutes’ walk from the Golf Club where a good post balloon flight breakfast is often available at the Club House.
passenger discountIf you fancy seeing Cambridge Golf Club from the ground as well as from the air, please download and print this voucher entitling you to a discount of 20% OFF a round of golf for you, your friends and your family!
Cambridge Golf Club
The launch site is just off the A14, follow the B1050 past Longstanton and you will see Cambridge Golf Club on the right hand side of the road. Please meet the balloon crew in the clubhouse car park.
flight information linePlease call 0844 576 7521 to confirm the status of your flight.