Hen dos have generally got quite a bad reputation for being parties of drunk women marauding through the streets of some unfortunate city dressed as schoolgirls or nuns, usually ending the night passed out in a heap or vomiting on their shoes. However, they don’t have to take such a messy turn, and there are plenty of ideas for locations – both in the UK and abroad – that offer a more sophisticated experience for parties not interested in L Plates and rude straws.
1. Have a great British picnic
This is a fantastic idea for hen parties looking to have a fun
time without breaking the bank, and to take advantage of
the odd sunny day in the British summer! To make the occasion extra special, pack a proper wicker picnic hamper with champagne, strawberries, cupcakes, pork pies and the like, get hold of a good sized picnic rug and pack a Frisbee and some sun cream. If you don’t want to spend
the whole hen on a picnic then this makes a great start to a day of celebration.
2. Take afternoon tea
Afternoon tea feels extra special and offers everyone the chance to get properly dressed up, hats and all. Teas in London vary between £25 for the cheaper options and around £60 for somewhere like The Ritz or The Savoy. Whilst the cost of hen weekends is a constant source of chagrin for women between the ages of about 25 and 35, most people are willing to stump up the cash for something as special as tea at The Ritz and few people are disappointed with cucumber sandwiches, champagne, delicious cakes, and scones with jam and clotted cream. Plus, everything is refillable so you can take away a doggy bag for later!
3. Hire a longboat
Drifting down the canal in the sunshine, with some good bottles of wine on the go and a mouthwatering gastropub lunch at the other end is a far better way to celebrate impending nuptials than drinking luminous shots and losing your phone (and you dignity) in a sweaty club. The network of British canals runs through most of the country and there are longboats for hire within a reasonable distance of most major cities. The different options for longboat hire include a day trip or a route of several nights, and the great thing about these barges is that they’re usually easy enough to steer that you can ‘drive’ them yourself.
4. Opt for a villa
If you want to head abroad for your hen then a villa is a great, economical way to accommodate everyone and encourage a party atmosphere without breaking the bank. You can get some much better deals and a far better standard of accommodation by opting for a villa than booking everyone in to hotel rooms and you’ll give the group a better chance to bond as you’ll have your own pool and lounge areas. Popular destinations for villas for hens that are within an easy flight of the UK tend to be Ibiza, Majorca, Tuscany, Portugal and Greece.
5. Take the Eurostar
It’s so much easier to take the Eurostar than to fly and the ease of travelling means that you can make it just a day trip for your hen, which is less expensive and less hassle for all the other hens. You can take the Eurostar from London St Pancras International for a classy day of patisserie and shopping in Paris, or head to Brussels and enjoy a long lunch of mussels, frites, beer and Belgian chocolate.
Hen dos don’t have to be a brash and drunken affair where you don’t remember anything between the first sickly cocktail and waking up the next day with a head like lead. With these suggestions for some alternative hen dos you can make it an altogether classier affair.