Dozens of hot air balloons scattered across the skyline of south-west England ahead of the 45th Bristol International Balloon Fiesta.
More than 20 balloons took part in a mass ascent at Ashton Court Estate, where the popular event takes place, at 6am on Monday morning.
Half a million visitors are expected to descend on Bristol as it plays host to Europe’s largest annual meeting of hot air balloons this week.
From Thursday to Sunday, more than 100 colourful hot air balloons of all shapes and sizes from across the world will attend the event.
Chris Allcock, chairman of the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, told the PA news agency that the event would be packed with things to do including a new family day on the Friday.
Speaking after Monday’s launch, Mr Allcock said: “The weather was absolutely perfect, it was utterly still on the ground.
“I am told that it was something like seven knots at 1,500ft, which are great conditions. Once they got up there, they drifted across very very gradually.
“This gave the people riding in the balloons a great view but also people on the ground were able to enjoy seeing them as they moved across the city towards Bath.”
Mr Allcock said there would be a mass ascent on Thursday evening, followed by ascents at dawn and dusk throughout the fiesta.
Special shaped balloons – including Thomas the Tank Engine, Snow White and a Piggy Bank – will be inflated on Thursday afternoon.
Visitors to the festival will be able to meet balloon pilots and ask questions, as well as watch them take part in races to see which team can inflate their balloon the fastest.
There will be nightglows, in which the balloons are illuminated in time to music, on Thursday and Saturday evening.
Mr Allcock urged those wishing to attend the fiesta to purchase car parking and shuttle bus tickets in advance.
While the weather last year was too hot for balloons to take off during some schedule flights, Mr Allcock added that this year the forecast “looks truly excellent” for ballooning.