I went through a stage of surprising Beard with random things I thought he would enjoy after we had a particularly stressful year. If you follow us on social media, you will already know I am immensely geographically challenged. I’m that person that buys a chair in Wales for 99p on eBay but has to pay £90 for a return train fare (Virgin, of course) to get the damn thing back because I thought it was only 2.3 miles from our house.
So when I booked this and put the postcode into our Sat Nav, needless to say, Beard wasn’t surprised that TomTom said: “you have reached your destination” in the middle of the A2 just before the Dartford Tunnel. Accidentally, I had somehow tapped in an utterly wrong postcode near Bluewater shopping centre. Of course, we should have been heading in the complete opposite direction, towards Tunbridge Wells for take-off.
You can be a tad more organised than me and check out the locations available to you here, as opposed to pretending you know where you are going as a geographically inept half-wit like myself.
Alas, because of me, we screech into the gravel car park and wheel spin the car into a parking space in a way only James Bond would respect. As we get out, the Virgin air balloon staff on the ground shout, “The balloon is lit and going up – we can’t stop it! RUN!!!”
Beard ran through a massive cow pat catapulting cow turd up his jeans and all across my boots and jumper. Approaching the hot air balloon, I then launched myself at the basket and had to be pulled on headfirst into the already slightly snug area by the other passengers. Poor Beard required a “bunk up” from the workers on the ground because the balloon has already gone up another foot. Bear in mind; he had shit all over his feet; this can’t have been a pleasant experience for them. Then, all of a sudden, no sooner were we in the basket (feeling embarrassed while everyone stared at us gobsmacked at our stupidity) and also seeing the staff on the ground shaking their heads at us and wiping their poo stained hands on the ground, we were 10 foot off the ground going up up up and away…
After we clambered on board, we did laugh with our fellow new best friends about how we joined them as they were enjoying a glass of fizz. Granted, it was a slightly unorthodox method of joining the party; however, all the more memorable. We still laugh about it now.
We didn’t take the kids with us on this occasion because they are too young – they can enjoy the experience from the age of 7 years old. Thankfully I didn’t tell Josh what we were doing. Firstly, because he would have told Beard and ruined the surprise and secondly because I know he would have informed me of the dangers of Hot Air Balloons. Personally, that would have terrified me!
There’s something slightly unnerving about being 3,000 feet above the treetops in a basket with a fire above you. It caused a bowel movement for a split second, but pushing this to the back of my mind, I’ve never felt freer. Just floating above the countryside of Kent, it was stunning. It felt liberating. I felt free. Lighter than air. It honestly was an incredibly euphoric feeling.
Our Virgin Hot Air Balloon trip was fantastic, the staff were extremely friendly, and the hour we spent in the sky with the clouds passing by, went so quickly, I wish we could’ve done it all over again! But just because we now had our feet firmly on the ground didn’t mean the experience was over. We were greeted with a glass of bubbly and then it was time for the fun to start in packing the balloon down. At the start, I thought this was lazy slave labour on behalf of the Virgin staff, but actually it was brilliant fun squishing all the air out and seeing this giant inflated thing slowly compacting down to nothing.
There are tons of offers on Hot Air Balloon flights; however, Virgin have nailed this experience, and at £124* per person, you can’t go wrong! Book your flight here.
*Price at time of booking.