We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The Tripadvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Virgin Balloon Flights - Nottingham Racecourse

Nottingham, United Kingdom
More
About Virgin Balloon Flights - Nottingham Racecourse
Situated to the west of the city centre, Nottingham Racecourse is the perfect setting for a trip of a lifetime. Rising above the racecourse to see views of Colwick Country Park, National Water Sports Centre and the River Trent making us confident you'll love every minute of it and treasure the memories for a lifetime.
Read more
Travelers talk about

Virgin Balloon Flights - Nottingham Racecourse
Booking unavailable on Tripadvisor

Want other options you can book now?
11Reviews1Q&A
Traveler rating
  • 7
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 4
Traveler type
Time of year
Language
Selected filters
  • Filter
  • English
Popular mentions
Pete C wrote a review Aug 2021
Stafford, England, United Kingdom12 contributions5 helpful votes
Having read many reviews about Virgin Balloon Flights since taking my own flight, I feel that I should make clear a number of things about the service before anyone gets disappointed or has the wrong expectations, as well as telling you how my experience went. Because trust me, it's 100% worth it, provided you do it right! It's a long review but I hope it will set a few things straight, so grab a cuppa if you like... BUYING THE VOUCHERS If you're looking to buy vouchers for Virgin Balloon Flights, then my main piece of advice is to pay the extra money to purchase the 'weather refund' option. What this means is that you can get a full refund of your vouchers, minus a small admin fee, if your flight is cancelled a certain number of times due to weather conditions (I believe it's currently 7 cancellations or more). Should you not wish to do this, then be prepared to rebook your flight any number of times due to weather cancellations, because if you don't rebook and the vouchers expire, then you WILL NOT GET A REFUND. It's clearly explained on the letter/email you receive when you buy the vouchers. My vouchers did not include the weather refund option, so each time the flight was cancelled I just had to rebook it. With regards to deciding WHEN you can fly (i.e. which type of voucher to buy), it's entirely up to you. If you purchase the weekend option then obviously that's convenient if you work during the week, as you won't have to take annual leave to fly (which may then be wasted if the flight gets cancelled). Otherwise, the choice is yours. My voucher was a 'Weekday Anytime', so I did have to book annual leave, but that was fine with me. You may also be able to upgrade your vouchers at a later date if desired (say from a weekday to a weekend voucher). BOOKING YOUR FLIGHT The easiest way to book your flight is by doing it online. The link is given in your voucher letter/email and the VBF website is clear, simple and easy to use. Once your flight is booked you will receive a confirmation email, where everything is explained regarding the rough time you can expect to fly (which is dependent on your the time of year), what to do beforehand, and anything else you need to know. With regards to the location you fly from, please bear in mind that your nearest and most convenient location may not always be available. So it's your choice whether to wait another week (flights/locations are updated every Tuesday) and see if your preferred location becomes available, or book a different location which is further away. Just remember that your vouchers have an expiry date, so don't let the voucher expire whilst you're waiting for more flights/locations. YOU WILL NOT GET A REFUND! The location I eventually flew from was a good 90-minute drive from where I lived, but the date was convenient enough and I was prepared to drive that far to get the experience of flying. Everyone's circumstances are different, so apply some logic and go with what's best for you. But don't moan at Virgin if your location isn't in the list. They can't work a miracle just because you want the flight to be on your doorstep. Also bear in mind your flight may get moved to a backup site (mine did), so make sure you plan for all potential journeys to the launch sites. FLIGHT CANCELLATIONS Aside from the possibility of COVID, the most likely reason that your flight could be cancelled is because the weather is not suitable to fly. I had this 4 times (then a 5th cancellation due to COVID). It happens. I've seen a lot of negative reviews with people saying their flight has been cancelled due to the weather, sometimes only once or twice! And then they attempt to be a meteorologist or balloon pilot themselves, suggesting the weather was 'fine for flying'. Seriously?! So you're paying for someone else to fly you out in a hot air balloon, but YOU'RE the expert who knows what the ideal weather conditions are?!? Get real. Look peeps... your flight may get cancelled many times due to the weather. Even if it's sunny and bright outside and there's little to no wind, it could still get cancelled. Leave it to the pilot to decide what's right. The weather is assessed for YOUR safety. If your flight gets cancelled then your voucher will be extended by at least 6 months so you can rebook it. If you're not prepared for this possibility, then don't buy the vouchers. I personally received my vouchers as a Xmas gift from my wife in 2017, and I flew in August 2021, so although COVID had some bearing on this, 4 of the 5 cancellations I had were due to the weather. Yes it's annoying, but deal with it and rebook your flight at the earliest opportunity. My flight got cancelled 5 times from 3 different locations before it went ahead... each time I simply rebooked it and carried on with my life in the meantime. You can do the same. Just be realistic and be organised. THE DAY OF YOUR FLIGHT Assuming you've read your booking confirmation email and the FAQ's on VBF's website a few times, you should be pretty well prepared by this point. You'll need to call your flight line from a specified time to find out if your flight is going ahead. If it is, then make sure you've planned for travelling to all possible launch sites and allowed plenty of extra time for traffic delays and finding the actual location. There's no harm in arriving nice and early! Make sure you bring food and drink, some cash, and dress appropriately. From my experience I would suggest you wear a summer top or t-shirt underneath and bring a thin coat/jacket that you can easily take off and tie around your waist if it's warmer than you expected. Trousers or shorts should be fine. Also use sensible footwear (don't be in your best shoes/high heels!). In essence, use your common sense. THE FLIGHT EXPERIENCE Once you arrive at the launch site you'll be greeted by the pilot. He'll give you a safety briefing and explain what happens during the experience. The name and mobile number of your pilot is in your booking confirmation email, so you can always call them if you're struggling to find the location or you're delayed (but hopefully not!). Part of the experience is that you help unpack and inflate the balloon. This involves a couple of people standing behind the large fans that blow cool air into the balloon, whilst two other people stand at each side of the mouth of the balloon and help to hold it open. I was one of those who held the mouth open and all I would say is if you want to volunteer for this bit, then you just need a bit of strength. It only takes 5 minutes or so to inflate. If you're too young/old/unfit or just not up for it then it's no issue. You can stand back with the other passengers and the VBF team will crack on. Once the balloon is inflated and the basket is upright you can climb in and get settled. Climbing in is completely doable and the team will assist anyone who needs it. The key here is this: the basket compartments are a quite 'cosy'. I'm 6' 1, 18-stone and play rugby, so as you can imagine there wasn't a great deal of room for me. But even the smallest, slightest of person will still have to do a bit of shuffling and banging elbows to move around. It's all part of the experience and nothing to moan about. But if you're claustrophobic or don't want to be that close to other people (because of COVID, for instance), then you need to book a private flight or do something else instead. After that, it's up and away! For me personally, it took 5 minutes to get acclimatised to being so high up. But soon enough I was relaxed, comfortable and enjoying the experience. Our pilot (Tom Hook) was fantastic! Very knowledgeable, happy to chat to everyone and clearly passionate about what he does for a living. The flight itself is so serene and the views are amazing. We flew from a backup site in Uppertown, Derbyshire (having been moved from the original launch site in Tibshelf due to wind conditions) and you can see for miles in every direction! Even though we weren't local to the area, it was still an incredible experience and felt very special, especially given how long we'd waited for our flight to go ahead. Definitely worth the wait! The landing was nice and gentle (it can be a bit rougher but we had very calm winds that day), and this was followed by deflating and packing away the balloon, then a toast with prosecco and/or orange juice, certificates and a minibus ride back to the launch site. Packing away the balloon is something the crew like everyone to get involved in, partly because it's again part of the experience, and because many hands make light work. I wouldn't consider it a major physical effort to pack the balloon away if most of your group muck in (it's basically like folding away a giant tent), but if you're not up for it then that's again absolutely fine. As with everything else, it's all part of the experience. But if you're a bit pretentious and of the "I haven't paid to do manual labour" view, then maybe a balloon flight isn't for you. Just sayin... Overall, this experience is absolutely 100% worth your time and money. It's a fabulous opportunity to do something different and in my opinion is one of those things that everyone should try at least once if you're able to (assuming you're ok with heights of course). And to be honest, even if you're not a particular fan of heights the flight is so smooth, quiet and tranquil that before long you forget how high up you are. Plus there's a GoPro attached to the balloon line to capture pictures/videos of your flight, all of which you can purchase for £20. Yes, the flight can be cancelled numerous times due to the weather. Yes, you need to be organised and read the information in front of you, multiple times. And yes, you may have to travel outside of your local area. If you can't do those things then perhaps let the grown-ups go flying and you do something more on your level. Otherwise, go get your vouchers and enjoy the experience of a lifetime! :D
Read more
Date of experience: August 2021
Helpful
Share
Response from VirginBalloonFlights, Public Relations Manager at Virgin Balloon Flights - Nottingham Racecourse
Responded Aug 11, 2021
Hi Pete, This fantastic. Thank you so much for review and a massive thank you for taking the time to write this. We at Virgin are very pleased to hear you enjoyed your flight with us and the crew. We will be sure to tell Tom the pilot to keep up the hard work. Kind regards, Virgin Balloon Flights Team
Read more
Doug wrote a review Jul 2021
London, United Kingdom5 contributions6 helpful votes
Our flight had was rescheduled from Tibshelf to a backup site to nearby Sheffield due to wind conditions on the day. The experience was amazing including helping to setup the Balloon before take off. The conditions were ideal for a smooth flight from start to finish and the views of the Peak district and surrounding areas were stunning.
Read more
Date of experience: July 2021
Helpful
Share
Response from VirginBalloonFlights, Public Relations Manager at Virgin Balloon Flights - Nottingham Racecourse
Responded Jul 19, 2021
Hi Douglas, We are pleased to hear you had an enjoyable flight with us. Thank you for the lovely feedback. Kind regards, Virgin Balloon Flights Team
Read more
Ann R wrote a review Jul 2021
Nottingham, United Kingdom3 contributions
After a delay due to Covid I was able to fly the first time I booked. A fantastic experience and well experienced pilot Tom Hook. The only problem for me was getting in and out of the basket but they were very helpful. Perhaps a small step ladder if needed for future passengers. Plenty of videos and photos to remind me of the day a retirement gift from work.
Read more
Date of experience: June 2021
Helpful
Share
Response from VirginBalloonFlights, Public Relations Manager at Virgin Balloon Flights - Nottingham Racecourse
Responded Jul 19, 2021
Hi S3609TBannr, Thank you for the great feedback. We are very glad to hear you enjoyed your flight with us! We will besure to tell Tom the pilot the good news. Kind regards, Virgin Balloon Flights Team
Read more
NottinghamWombat2 wrote a review Jul 2021
Nottingham65 contributions22 helpful votes
A great flight after waiting for Covid rules to be relaxed, and a few cancelled flights due to high winds, flooding and risk of thunderstorms - but well worth the wait. Tom Hook, Dan and Sam looked after us very well. They were clearly professional and thoughtful too. The vouchers are not impossible to use - just be patient and the right conditions will fall into place. A year or two was not unreasonable given Covid affecting 2020-2021 so badly A serene and pleasurable experience throughout. Do take a hat as if you are near the burners you feel the heat on your head. In flight catering could do with improving -Tee hee
Read more
Date of experience: July 2021
Helpful
Share
Response from VirginBalloonFlights, Public Relations Manager at Virgin Balloon Flights - Nottingham Racecourse
Responded Jul 19, 2021
Hi NottinghamWombat2, We are pleased to hear you enjoyed your ballooning experience with us. Thank you for the great feedback of your experience and our pilot Tom. Kind regards, Virgin Balloon Flights Team
Read more
Aeyshia B wrote a review Jun 2021
6 contributions
Wow! What an experience! I would 100% recommend this flight experience to anyone who loves views. I bought this for my partner and I, and both of us had the most amazing time. Really easy to book, clear instructions for on the day and we were lucky enough to have the best pilot who made the flight even more fun!
Read more
Date of experience: June 2021
Helpful
Share
Response from VirginBalloonFlights, Public Relations Manager at Virgin Balloon Flights - Nottingham Racecourse
Responded Jun 22, 2021
Hi aeyshiab2021, Thank you for the brilliant feedback. We are pleased to hear you enjoyed your experience with us! Kind regards, Virgin Balloon Flights Team
Read more
Previous