Take the pain out of planning a hen do with some original ideas to make your celebration one to remember for all the right reasons
We’ve all been there. The “Hey Ladies…” round-robin email you’ve been waiting for arrives in your inbox, and once you read beyond the “The lovely [so-and-so] is getting hitched and I’m sure we all can’t WAIT for the big day etc.” and cut to the chase, your heart sinks. Just a little...
To your dismay, it’s yet another hen party afternoon tea-spa combo. While eating scones and being massaged are undeniably lovely ways to spend a weekend, when it’s the fifth time you’ve paid for the same hen-do activities in the same year, it can all start to feel a bit samey. You’ve iced enough cupcakes to open your own bakery and taken so many tap dancing classes, your skills could you a gig in the Westend! Indeed, when people have scrimped and saved all year to afford these (often costly) trips, they want a memorable experience that doesn’t just merge into the typical hen do fare. The bride-to-be deserves better after all!
So if you’ve been given the unenviable task of organising a hen do (or are the bride in question and have decided to arrange your own) it’s worth getting a bit creative if you want everyone to be upbeat and genuinely enthusiastic when the date rolls around. But you don’t need a giant budget or loads of bells and whistles, just a bit of creative thinking! With that in mind, we’ve taken the tried-and- tested classics and given them a unique update. If you’re leaving the details to your maid of honour, maybe subtly slip a few of these suggestions her way and prepare for an unforgettable party.
Swap a dance class for… a trampoline workout
Instead of piling into a studio to strut your stuff Beyoncé-style, literally take things to the next level with a trampoline-workout hen do instead. You and your girls can wear fancy dress or gym kit and learn fun routines to fabulous tracks, all on a trampoline. bouncefitbody.com
Swap outdoor games for… the Hen-Limpic games
Serious about sport? This may not be for you, as it’s an unashamedly silly take on the Olympics. Compete against other groups in events such as foot darts, giant egg and spoon, and caterpillar archery relay. You might not break any world records, but you’ll have a great laugh. gohen.co.uk
Swap afternoon tea for… afternoon tea on a Routemaster
If you still want to get your fix of scones, cream and tea, do it with the sights of London as your backdrop, motoring around the city in a vintage double-decker. london.b-bakery.com
Swap lunch for… a retro ’90s brunch
If you’re a child of the ’90s, you will love this nostalgia-fest. Taking place in ever-changing London locations, this combines brunch with a trip down memory lane. All the food, drink and music is ’90s-themed, and there are era-appropriate games such as Mario Kart. Don your Doc Martens, slick on some berry lipstick and step back in time. the90sbrunch.com
Swap a pub crawl for… a craft beer tour
Head to London’s East End to learn all about the history and culture of this iconic area – and sample some craft beers along the way. You’ll stop in at a variety of pubs, from Victorian gems to contemporary cool hotspots. thisiscluck.com
Swap a cooking class for… baking with a GBBO contestant
This three-hour experience sprinkles some Great British Bake Off magic on an old hen favourite.
After some Prosecco, you’ll enjoy a baking demonstration from an ex-contestant on the programme, then roll up your sleeves to make your own sweet treat. The former GBBO baker will be on hand to help, give tips and advice, and, most importantly, answer questions about their time on the show. Just don’t forget to share all the Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry gossip with us! henheaven.co.uk
Swap clubbing for… a roller disco
Sound the retro-fun klaxon, it’s time to go old school! Strap on your skates for a dancing do with a twist. Some of the roller discos are exclusive hire, meaning nobody else will see if you take a tumble, and there’s even the chance to bring your own music. henheaven.co.uk
Swap getting ready in your hotel for… taking over a chic salon
Getting ready for a night out is almost as fun as the night out itself, but rather than all clamouring to fit around the mirror in your hotel room, why not hire blow dry bar Duck & Dry to get you and all of your hens ready?
The expert stylists can create 16 different ‘dos, to suit each and every hen, and you can even decorate the space and bring all your party desires from butlers in the buff, cupcakes and games.
Fancy celebrating your upcoming wedding by bobbing along the River Thames in the world’s first hot tub boat? With Hot Tug, you can!
You and your hens will get over an hour blissfully sailing around the capital in a hot tub which is filled with fresh, hot water.
You can either take in the hustle and bustle of Canary Wharf by booking your experience from West India Quay, or you can head to the original Hot Tug site at the Islington Boat Club and sail along the quaint Regents Canal.
You’ll be able to BYOB, hire an ice bucket to keep drinks cool, rent towels and robes and get your hands on a sailor’s hat for the bride (which she’ll be able to keep after). So. Much. Fun.