The dates for the first Eastbourne International Hot Air Balloon Festival have been announced.

The event will take place between 29th and 30th July this summer, at Hampden Park in Eastbourne.

The weekend, which offers free admission, will feature up to 25 balloons and will include both dawn and dusk flights.

The balloon festival will also give visitors that chance to listen to live bands and watch a display of helicopters.

Highlights will include an evening spectacle on Saturday 29th July, when a group of tethered balloons will light up the sky in a Nightglow performance set to music.

Although full details of entertainment are still to be announced, a flower show, market, music, and food are all possibilities for the event.

The balloon festival will be run by the company that organises the Bristol International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta (which attracts 500,000 visitors each year). The event is being sponsored by Gatwick Airport.

More information about the event is to be announced further in the year.

Eastbourne for groups

Groups visiting Eastbourne may also like to pay a visit to some of its attractions such as Redoubt Fortress − a Napoleonic fortress, Bateman’s − the 17th century home of Rudyard Kipling, or Spa Valley Railway.

There are plenty of gardens to see as well including Carpet Gardens which runs along the seafront; Borde Hill Garden,which showcases a variety of different florals and plants; and Gildredge Park and Manor Gardens.

For those who enjoy seaside trips, Eastbourne is home to many beaches including Grand Parade Main Resort Beach, Marine Parade Beach, King Edwards Beach and Redoubt Beach.

For more information visit www.friendsofthehampdenpark.co.uk.