Having a blast and a craft on a hen
THE BRAVE BRIDE: URBAN RETREAT, HARRODS, LONDON
You’d be forgiven for thinking spa-ing can be a little on the tame side. This isn’t. Urban Retreat have done extensive research into traditional Moroccan hammams (the art of purifying and detoxing to perfection) and recreated an atmosphere that’s pure luxury but 100% authentic. The entire space can be hired out with a total of 7 slabs available at one time. They also have a super luxe VIP Suite (from £250 for 2 hours). Be prepared to be stripped, splashed and scrubbed to within an inch of your life. You will leave like you’ve floated out on a personal cloud with skin glowing to radioactive levels. Just be sure to leave your dignity at the door.
BOOK IT: www.urbanretreat.co.uk (£125 per hen head for 90 mins)
THE CHEEKY ONE: THE MAKERY, BATH
Just because there’s an outright ban on willy straws, doesn’t mean you can’t have a giggle. Chic doesn’t have to be uptight so Nipple Tassel Making at The Makery could be the perfect way to appeal to a crafty crowd, but still keep a happy level of hen do naughtiness. Workshops take place in a stately 4-storey Georgian house in Bath and last 1.5hrs. All your sequins, sparkles, tassels, (bells?) are provided, as is tea and coffee, but you’re welcome to bring fizz and food with you too. Alludes to the erotic and tease but without employing male students to show their bums.
BOOK IT: www.themakery.co.uk (£30 per hen head)
THE FASHIONISTA’S FIND: ALL OVER LONDON
Darling Hens is the perfect bridesmaid’s PA when you’re called to organise a showstopper of a hen do. Bespoke, tailor-made ideas with champagne buckets of style. Their Personal Shopping experience is VB levels of posh with a professional stylist who uses her insider knowledge to advise how to dress to suit your body shape, what colours and shapes work for you and how develop your signature style. Each hen gets alone time with her to discuss their personal fashion wants and she even calls in the favours for some discounts and savvy deals. The best thing? The shopping trip is tailored to your bank balance so if your budget’s more Primark than Prada, she’ll take you on a tour of the best of the high street instead.
BOOK IT: www.darlinghens.co.uk (£59 per hen head)
THE THRILL-SEEKER: PERTHSHIRE
Ever thought to take a Private Charter Safari complete with your own ranger? No us neither but now we know it exists, we have to try it! Picture heavy-duty Land Rovers rumbling over the Scottish Highlands, or alternatively their new armoured juggernaut of a vehicle affectionately named ‘The Pinz’, which they’ll even let you take the wheel of and drive if you’re crazy enough to try. You may be lucky enough to see Red Deer, the Famous Grouse, the elusive Mountain Hare or the soaring Golden Eagle as you traverse through thick forests and over mountains and moors. Included in the Private Charter are tea, coffee, Kenmore Shortbread and a dram of Dewars Whisky surrounded by awe-inspiring mountain views. Just like Kate at Balmoral!
BOOK IT: www.highlandsafaris.net (prices start at £40 per hen head)
THE ECO SPA WEEKEND: THE SCARLET, CORNWALL
Very seldom does green living manage to be truly luxurious. Then we heard about The Scarlet Hotel tucked away on quiet Cornish beach. Clever initiatives like rain water harvesting and planted roofs keep it in harmony with its idyllic surroundings but then there are giant art sculptures, panoramic views of crashing waves and cushions so expensive looking you’ll be turning them over to check the labels. Unfortunately their exclusivity doesn’t extend to hen dos but thankfully their incredible spa does. They offer the full spectrum of indulgent treatments such as Ayurvedic facials and massages but your day also includes a unique outdoor eco pool filtered by reeds and Swedish style hot tubs atop dramatic cliffs. We fell in love the pod relaxation room for that post-treatment sleep state. Not an inch of hemp in sight.
BOOK IT: www.scarlethotel.co.uk (spa days from £75 per hen head)
THE FOODIE FIND: RIVER COTTAGE, AXMINSTER, DORSET
Don your Hunter wellies because this dining experience begins with a tractor ride down to the famous farm itself where you’re greeted with a complimentary seasonal aperitif and homemade canapés. Dinner follows consisting of a sumptuous four courses, coffee and petit fours cooked by your own River Cottage personal chef. We love that they have an open kitchen door policy which means you can meander in, glass of fizz in hand, to oversee the preparations or roll up your sleeves and get stuck in and learning. It’s honestly up to you and your attention span.
Alternatively you can arrive earlier and do a masterclass of your choice – bread making, canapé building, butchery or our personal favourite, The River Cottage Great Farmhouse Bake off. Hen-to-hen choux pastry baking and blind baking challenge judged by their Head Chef. You never know, Mary Berry might just make an appearance too.
BOOK IT: www.rivercottage.net (£95 per hen head or £115 with the 1.5hr cooking masterclass beforehand.)
THE BIG SCREEN: HARROGATE
Check this out. At Rudding Park Hotel you can don your pyjamas and scuttle down to their 14-seater private cinema to watch any movie of your choice (a classic romcom is obvs the right choice here). Order snacks and fizz or get them to lay on a themed Bento Box (Yorkshire, Surf ‘n’ Turf and Sweet Bento Box all hit the spot) and of course there’s a phone within the cinema to call should drinks need replenishing. Then it’s just the matter of a staircase to bed.
BOOK IT: www.ruddingpark.co.uk (midweek exclusive hire £125 or weekends £250. Popcorn included)
SURF’S UP: WATERGATE BAY, CORNWALL
The Cornish Wave Surf School are a chic little outlet of hardy Cornish surfers (you’ll no doubt develop a small crush on a few of them – we did) who’ll take you out to battle the waves with the hope of standing up at the end of the two hours. They’ll equip you with super cosy wetsuits, high quality surfboards and a cheeky glass of bubbly to get you going, before the practical lesson begins. Then when you’ve been pummeled by the waves enough, amble down the beach to Jamie Oliver’s original Fifteen restaurant for some posh nosh (as the cockney charmer himself would put it).
BOOK IT: www.cornishwave.com (£19 per hen head)
THE DALLAS DINERS CLUB: CLIFF BARNS, NORFOLK
The words cowboy and Norfolk don’t naturally go hand-in-hand but this is what Cliff Barns is all about and yee ha does it work! Sure there are saddles hanging over the four poster beds, Navaho rugs aplenty and more than a carnivore’s share of cow hides but they come alongside roll top baths and gorgeous REN beauty products. Host your own dinner party at the ranch with a private chef who’ll prepare a seven course tasting menu for your group before you hop in the outdoor hot tub for champagne. There’s even a dress-up corridor for when things get really silly, that brings a whole new meaning to ranch dressing (sorry, we couldn’t resist!)
BOOK IT: www.cliffbarns.com (£75 per hen head for 7 course tasting menu)
THE HOME HANGOUT: PERFECT 10, ANYWHERE INSIDE THE M25
Hen dos don’t even have to mean leaving the house. So if you’d rather keep it low key and just host an intimate gathering in your five-bedroom Kensington townhouse (we can dream!) then demand the fun come to you. Perfect 10 are an elite mobile beauty company who arrive at your house in a fleet of flash mini coopers to tend to all your pampering needs. Their experienced therapists turn their hands to manicures, pedicures, massages and blow dries so each hen can chose exactly what she wants and pay individually to avoid any unladylike squabbles.
BOOK IT: www.perfect10mobilebeauty.co.uk (from £15 per hen head)