Up, up and away!

Take off preparation Another new experience to celebrate my 73rd birthday – however I was 74 before free time and weather conditions coincided and I took to the air over Lord Lichfield’s estate at Shugborough in Staffordshire.

A small balloon was sent up so the pilot could check wind direction and fortunately at 6am on July 8th, conditions were ideal. The balloon was inflated, safety instructions given and in we climbed – into a basket divided into 5 compartments – the pilot sat in the middle, and there were four people in each corner segment. A quick blast of the flame and we were off; off so gently and quietly that it felt as if we were floating on a magic carpet above the tree tops! It was amazing! A different aspect on what lay beneath us; looking down on the roof of Shugbough Hall, seeing the layout of the grounds like a plan beneath us; beautiful homes and gardens many with swimming pools or tennis courts and trampolines; farm buildings with cattle All in the basket grazing; barges on the canal; dogs bouncing and barking at a sight they didn’t understand; a large balloon supporting a basketful of people passing over them; the M1 packed with early rush hour traffic. We viewed it all as if in a soundless box the tranquillity only momentarily  disturbed by burst from the burner.

All too soon it was time to land; a large field newly mown; ideal or was it? It was large it was flat but it had been raked with silage so we ended our trip fantastic sightseeing trip, with the true aroma of the countryside!

A brilliant experience that I would love to repeat and would highly recommend as a different way to celebrate!

135 people found this helpful

Share Article:

Diana Davies

Travel writer

Leave a comment


Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest travel tips on top destinations.

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Most Recent Articles

From a restored mansion in the Scottish Highlands to a stylish villa in Southern Spain, becoming an HPB Bondholder allows…

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.