Puddles and Splash%2C Longleat's celebratory hot air balloons.

Longleat in Wiltshire has announced that its first hot air balloon festival will take place this year; the new event, titled Sky Safari, will run from 16th to 18th September.

Groups attending the festival will be able to witness mass ascensions of 50 hot air balloons that will take place twice a day on all three days from Longleat’s lawn in front of the house.

One release of hot air balloons will take place in the morning while the other will ascend in the early evening.

Visitors at Longleat throughout Sky Safari will be able to see the balloons across the sky above the attraction’s 900 acres of parkland. Plus they’ll be able to see individual tethered ascents, in which balloons are attached to the ground.

Included in these 50 balloons, one for each year the famous safari park has been open to the public, will be Longleat’s own bespoke-made lion balloon, and two penguin balloons named Puddles and Splash.

The highlight of the festival will be a nightglow show on the Saturday evening, where every balloon will illuminate the sky with a synchronised lights show in time to music.

This festival is included in Longleat’s 2016 all-in-one ticket; pre-booking is essential, and discounted rates are available for parties of 12 or more.

More about Longleat

A variety of other events are taking place at Longleat this year to celebrate the estate’s 50th anniversary.

Groups visiting at Easter can explore a Simon King photography exhibition. King is a renowned TV wildlife presenter, photographer and cameraman, and the exhibition encompasses a series of images he’s taken of the animals at Longleat.

King’s photography will be showcased at the park for all visitors to enjoy during the main season and will be included in the all-in-one day ticket price.

Alternatively, GTOs can book to see recreations of Longleat’s animal residents which feature in daily parades through the grounds during the summer, in the form of custom-built floats and costume puppetry.

The whole park will be immersed in African culture this summer, with native dancing, daily shows, and activities for all ages.

For more information call 01985-844328 or e-mail groups@longleat.co.uk.