Virgin Hot Air Balloon envelope during flight

Sunrise Balloon Flights vs Sunset Balloon Rides

Which Hot Air Balloon Experience Would You Choose?

Reading Time - 6 minutes

When it comes to bucket list experiences, we have an abundance of extraordinary options available to us! But one that consistently falls among many favourites is the sky high enchantment of a hot air balloon ride. Perfect for all ages from the age of 7, this extraordinary adventure gives you an exclusive ticket, to a world of magic, wonder and enchantment.

As you gracefully lift from the ground, you'll leave behind the hustle and bustle of everyday life, entering a world where time seems to stand still. With the gentle sway of the balloon, the hushed whispers of the wind, and the breathtaking landscapes below, you’ll feel a sense of serenity and awe that is truly unparalleled.

But, what sets this experience apart even further is the choice between morning flights, where you’ll gently rise with the early rays of sunrise, and evening flights, where you’ll land amidst the golden glow of the setting sun. Whichever you choose, you're in for an experience that promises unparalleled beauty and breathtaking wonder. It's a moment suspended in time, where the world's magic comes alive in all its splendid glory, and lifelong memories are made. So, whether you're curious to fly with the serenity of sunrise or the enchantment of sunset, we’ll dive into all the best bits of each, helping you choose the one that resonates most with your sense of adventure and appreciation for nature's wonders.

Sunrise Balloon Flights

As the world stirs from its slumber, the enchanting quality of early morning light unveils a scene of unparalleled beauty. With delicate hues of pastel pinks, fiery oranges, and shimmering golds, you’ll see your favourite landscapes bathed in the beautiful glow of sunrise. This serene and tranquil atmosphere is one of the defining characteristics of sunrise balloon flights, captivating all who embark on this early morning adventure.

One of the best locations to experience the magic of sunrise flights in the UK is undoubtedly our launch sites in Cumbria. Here, in the heart of the Lake District, passengers are treated to a spectacle like no other. As the hot air balloon gently rises, you’ll see the exquisite glow of the sunrise mirrored across the tranquil waters of Lake Windermere, creating a truly picture perfect moment, as you peer over the edge of the balloon basket at the beauty beneath you.

We reached out to our experienced pilot in Norfolk and Suffolk, Robert Keron, to gain insight into the appeal of sunrise balloon flights and he was excited to share his thoughts:

"From a pilot's point of view, whether you fly early in the morning or early evening, both flights are of good quality. However, from my personal perspective, the early morning sunrise flights without any doubt do have the 'edge.' Surface wind is normally very calm, making the inflation and launch an even more gentle and serene experience. Another bonus is that getting to the launch site is always easier with little traffic on the road!"

For those looking to find wonder in extraordinary moments, our morning hot air balloon experiences offer not only the visual spectacle of a sunrise but also the tranquillity of a serene journey across the sky.

Wildlife Sightings on a Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Flight

Sunrise balloon flights present a unique opportunity to witness the world coming to life. As the morning sun first settles across the landscape, balloon flight passengers may be lucky enough to observe the comings and goings of wildlife in their natural habitats. From graceful deer crossing open fields to early morning birdsong, sunrise flights offer a front row seat to the wonders of the natural world.

What Should I Wear on Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Rides

One thrilling aspect of sunrise balloon flights is the refreshing, cool air that embraces you as you rise into the sky. This invigorating chill adds an extra layer of excitement to your adventure, awakening your senses and setting the stage for a thrilling morning of exploration.

To ensure you're comfortable during your morning flight, we recommend dressing in layers. This allows you to adapt to the changing temperatures as the balloon takes you high in to the sky. Consider donning a light jacket, a cosy sweater, or a snug hat, so you’re ready to embrace the early morning chill.

Is a Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Experience Worth it?

If you're curious about the magic of a sunrise balloon flight, let us share with you the thoughts of our past fliers.

"One truly enchanting experience. We were treated to a glorious day with a breathtaking sunrise. It was a genuinely special and unforgettable adventure, now proudly checked off our bucket list. The only 'problem' is that we're already yearning for another ride!” - Zoë

“The morning flight was amazing (albeit a very early 5.30 am meet at Ferry Meadows) but worth it for the sunrise. We floated over Milton, Marholm, Glinton etc and landed in Deeping and I was not scared at all, not for a second.... totally amazing experience and the views were awesome. So peaceful and calm up there and didn't feel like we were moving at all.” - Susie Bews

Sunset Hot Air Balloon Flights

In the evening, as the sun starts its descent towards the horizon, a different kind of enchantment takes hold. The warm, golden hues of the setting sun cast a mesmerising glow over the landscape, bathing the scenery in a soft, amber light that imparts a sense of romance and magic to the experience. Some of the most beautiful sunset skies in the UK can be witnessed from hot air balloons; Whether you choose to fly above a bustling cityscape or the quiet calm of the countryside, each of our UK Launch locations offers something special and truly unique.

Embarking on a sunset hot air balloon ride not only offers you the chance to witness panoramic views of a sunset sky, but also allows you to connect with nature in a truly unique way. Whether you're seeking a romantic escape with hot air balloon rides for 2, or an unforgettable adventure with friends and family, the magic of a sunset hot air balloon ride is sure to create memories that will last a lifetime.

What Should I Wear on Sunset Hot Air Balloon Rides

Although, not usually quite as chilly as first thing in the morning, it’s still a good idea to wear layers and comfortable clothing, as temperatures will drop the higher you go.

Is a Sunset Hot Air Balloon Experience Worth it?

Hear what our pilots had to say about sunrise vs sunset balloon rides and discover the firsthand experiences of those who have embarked on these enchanting journeys as we share their insightful passenger reviews.

“AMAZING, breathtaking. We went from Wadhurst the views and sunset were incredible. Thank you for such a great well organised experience”. - Sasha Courtney

“Best way ever to see the sunset!” - Seamus Bryans

“I flew from Glastonbury on a beautiful evening watching the sunset over the Bristol Channel. We went past Pilton where the post festival clear up was underway, over fields, woods, and villages before landing the other side of Castle Cary. Conversing with people on the ground before an easy landing in a field, where we drank champagne in the twilight. A truly memorable experience.” - Kate Stokes

What Time Will My Hot Air Balloon Ride Be?

Due to seasonal changes, morning and evening flight times vary throughout the year, following sunrise/sunset times. We want to ensure that you experience the full magic of either sunrise or sunset, so to help you plan your adventure, you can find the yearly schedule of flight times below, to help you choose the perfect moment to embark on your hot air balloon journey.

Time of Year

Sunrise Flight

Sunset Flight




Start of April to Mid April



Mid April to Mid May



Mid May to End of May



June and July



Start of August to Mid August



Mid August to End of August



Start of September to Mid September



Mid September to End of September









Both sunrise and sunset balloon flights offer a unique perspective on the world, but they do so at different times, each with its own brand of magic. Sunrise flights embrace the tranquillity of dawn and the promise of a new day, while sunset flights immerse you in the warmth and romance of the evening. So, whether you choose to experience the sunrise in bristol or the sunset in Leicester, you're in for an experience that promises unparalleled beauty and breathtaking wonder.

To experience the unique beauty of sunrise or sunset from a hot air balloon basket, check out ‘Hot air balloon rides near me’ for your closest launch site.

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