After a weeks delay to the London balloon rides season due to the Royal Wedding of Kate and William, weather conditions were good on Tuesday for our first flight this year. And what a flight. While every day before and after had winds above our flying limits our London flight was able to go ahead in a small but ideal weather window. A few days before we received a call to fly a group of tourists here for the day from Indonesia so a second balloon was quickly scheduled to add to our regular flight.

On the day in our regular balloon we had the company of a giraffe and a frog, probably confirming to the Indonesian passengers in the other balloon how eccentric we British can be! To add to the excitement, just before take off the tourists told us they had to be at Heathrow to fly out by 10.30am. So an extra challenge to get things spot on when we landed. Not a problem, after a great flight out of the centre of London the balloons had a "stand up landing" alongside each other at Theydon Bois Golf Course. This being our first flight since the end of the 2010 London balloon rides season we had our first view of a new London landmark, the Shard being constructed on the south side of the Thames.

Passenger Mike Singer kindly sent us these aerial pictures from the flight. Here are a few facts to go with them:

  • Sitting just south of the River Thames, The Shard, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, is 800ft tall and is already officially the capital's tallest building, and there is still more to build.
  • The tower has just overtaken the previous record holder - Canary Wharf's One Canada Square, which stands at 770ft.
  • The Shard's expected completion date is May 2012 and it will be the tallest building in the European Union.

Flying past the Shard over the river Thames, London Aerial view of the Shard by the River Thames London
Group shot during London hot air balloon ride Giraffe and Frog in London hot air balloon flight

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Reg No 4837166

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