Tasked with organising a fun-filled hen party, but don’t fancy a boozy bonanza? Time to leave the loud and lairy for something a little more laid-back and luxurious, from lavish lodges to soothing spa breaks and hip health retreats…
If good-for-you grub and restful play is more your thing, why not book yourselves in to a trendy, all-inclusive health retreat for a soothing girly break. The gang at The Well Connected, based in the Lake District, create exclusive, three-night wellness retreats for small groups looking to relax to the max. Held at the Brimstone Hotel, a five-star, chalet-style hotel surrounded by 25 acres of tranquil countryside, pre-wedding celebrations might mean sipping on superfood cocktails and juices, gourmet pizzas and prosecco, tailor-made spa treatments and group yoga sessions hosted by expert teachers, all designed to nourish the mind, body and soul in a luxury fashion before the big day. Thoughtful little extras include all-natural pampering products and special goody bags filled with indulgent surprises from some of the UK’s top health food and drink brands.
Prices from £750 per person.
FILM STAR FUN
Tyneside Cinema’s hen parties combining all the elements of a perfect girly night in – but on a bigger, fun-filled scale. Pre-wedding bashes are held in the city centre venue’s private screening room, which holds up to 30 guests. Choose from a massive range of movies, from classic chick-flicks (Dirty Dancing or Grease anyone?), to action-packed favourites like Pulp Fiction and Bond, before snacking on complementary popcorn and sipping free bubbly. You’ll have your own private bar with dedicated staff throughout and can even arrange for a special, personalised on-screen message to mark an evening of in-the-dark celebrations. You’re also welcome to bring along your own party food, or can have the whole event catered for if you’re feeling extra fancy.
Prices from £20 per person. Minimum charge £160.
Fancy trying something different? Then why not book yourselves on a specialist cooking course. Malton Cookery School brings the fun-factor, combining expert guidance with stylish, homely surroundings in which you’re free to get your hands dirty and learn a few tips and tricks along the way. The school specialises in game, seafood and baking, so go with what you fancy, but we’re quite partial to a bit of sweetness when it’s time to celebrate! Head to one of the school’s baking classes and create all kinds of yummy home comforts, from Yorkshire curd tart to fine French classics like macaroons and good old chocolate fondant. Courses include morning tea and coffee and menu packs and you’ll be able to gather together throughout the day to eat your creations with a glass of wine or two.
Prices from £80 per person.
Swap sugary cocktail-making classes with butlers in the buff for something a little more elegant and exclusive at The Lakes Distillery. The award-winning distillery, famed for its own brand of whisky, gin and vodka, has teamed up with Cockermouth’s snug and stylish Trout Hotel to offer bridal parties a tasty two-night break filled with spirited celebrations. Suitable for groups of six to 16, the experience begins with an entertaining distillery tour, accompanied by a specialist guide, followed by a privately-tutored tasting of its world-class signature spirits. Parties will also be treated to a spot of Gin Afternoon Tea, with special Gin Fizz cocktails to complement dainty treats. You’ll retire to your rooms at the newly-renovated Trout Hotel via your very own branded 4×4 Discovery, before heading down for a three-course dinner.
The Whisky Loving Hen Celebration, from £222 per person.
If you think camping is just for kids, then think again. We say, rally the troops and head down to the woods for a seriously stylish stay-cation at the North Star Club in North Yorkshire. The brainchild of a fashion designer and an architect, the whimsical woodland retreat brings a whole new meaning to ‘glamping’ – ever seen four-poster beds and roll-top baths in vintage, safari-style tents? You’ll find that here. The luxury campsite, deep in the forest, marries outdoorsy ruggedness with five-star interiors throughout, creating one very chic campsite indeed for bridal parties to enjoy. Allow masseurs to visit your private suite for massages before you’re even out of your PJs, go stargazing under the canopied campfire or cosy up in the communal Woodshed. Toast marshmallows under fairy lights and over crackling fires, before curling up together for a natter with a glass of red.
Weekend breaks from £455.
The clever folk at Swinton Park have created a dreamy oasis, perfect for all kinds of cosy celebrations and parties, including brides-to-be and their female tribes. It’s called Lake Island, nestled deep within the hotel’s 200-acres of parkland, surrounded by a serene woodland lake. The private retreat was created for exclusive, intimate gatherings and can be accessed via a hand-drawn cable ferry. When you get there, you’ll discover a snug, Georgian-style summerhouse, which can be transformed in any which way you desire. Fill it with candles and twinkling fairy lights, cashmere throws and pillows, fresh flowers and indulgent treats for a truly hygge hideout. There’s a second larger island too, linked to the summerhouse by a wooden bridge, which you can access for summer picnics and barbecues, or perhaps a spot of morning yoga. Special little touches include hampers and board games, books and bean bags, rugs, blankets and an outdoor fire pit.
From £250 for half day private hire.