Lord Mayor’s Hot Air Balloon Regatta 2024: a festival of hot air balloons will float over London this month

The regatta is back for the first time since 2019, weather depending

India Lawrence
Written by
India Lawrence
Contributing writer
Lord Mayor’s Hot Air Balloon Regatta in London, with hot air balloons flying high above the city
Photograph: Exclusive Balloons

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a hot air balloon! This July, London’s skies will be filled with glorious flying balloons as the Lord Mayor’s Hot Air Balloon Regatta returns to the capital for the first time since 2019. It’ll see around 50 colourful balloons float up towards the clouds. 

There’s a catch though: the regatta can only take place if the weather is good enough. And if you’ve looked up at the sky this month, you’ll know that it has been far from it. 

Organisers initially earmarked Sunday, July 7 for the mass lift-off, but heavy wind and rain put a dampener on those plans. The event has now been rescheduled for Sunday, July 21, with July 28 marked as a back-up. 

The Hot Air Balloon Regatta was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic, and it had to be called off because of bad weather in 2022 and 2023. It’s safe to say the balloons are itching to be taken out of retirement and sent into London’s skies.

What’s all this for, you might be wondering? The hot air balloon extravaganza is to raise awareness about the Lord Mayor’s Appeal – a charity initiative that has raised more than £250,000 since 2015. 

If all goes according to plan, this year the balloons soar past landmarks including Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. It’s sure to be a sight to behold. 

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