Dozens of hot air balloons will float across the London skies one Sunday morning this summer or autumn, for the Lord Mayor's Hot Air Balloon Regatta.
The event, run by Exclusive Ballooning, is a charity fundraiser in support of the Lord Mayor's Appeal. Corporate partners pay to have balloons decked out in their company livery, to join the floating parade. In the past, orbs in the shape of wellingtons, lions and trophies have been airborne, along with dozens of more traditional balloons in all manner of colours and designs.
The Lord Mayor's Hot Air Balloon Regatta is an annual event... well, in theory it is. In 2020, it was cancelled due to Covid-19, and the 2021 and 2022 events were scuppered by bad weather. Back in 2019, though, the regatta went ahead, with 46 hot air balloons taking off from Battersea Park early one Sunday morning.
The weather is the crucial factor — conditions such as wind and rain are taken into account before it's declared safe for the balloons to fly. As a result, several dates are pencilled in each year, to give the event the most chance of going ahead. The 2023 dates are:
Sunday 14 May 2023 Not going ahead
Sunday 21 May 2023 Not going ahead
Sunday 2 July 2023 Not going ahead
- Sunday 1 October Not going ahead
- Sunday 22 October Not going ahead
Oh, and one more thing. You'll need to set your alarm preeeetty early if you want to see the regatta. Balloons take off from Battersea Park around 5.30am. Ouch. However, the spectacle of dozens of colourful balloons gliding gracefully across across the summer sky by sunrise makes it sooo worthwhile.
Here's the video we made when we joined in the party in the sky a few years back:
More info on the The Lord Mayor's Hot Air Balloon Regatta 2023.