Patchwork quilt workshop – This is one of the most heart-warming hen ideas we’ve come across: you and your hens work together to create a perfectly pretty patchwork quilt, giving you a lovely memento. The experts at The Crafty Hen will show you exactly what to do – novice crafters welcome! – and provide a range of fabrics and embellishments. You can even theme the quilt around all the hens’ relationships with the bride. Truly delightful. From £32 per person, minimum group size of 10.
The London Cabaret Club – If you’re looking for a last minute hen do idea this winter, look up the Christmas Winter Wonderland at The London Cabaret Club, as well as the usual showstopping acts, there’s a candy cane forest and an adult Milk and Cookies pop up bar. Guests enter the candy cane forest through a secret door, concealed by cosy winter coats (The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, anyone?!) Candy canes hang from fir trees (just try and stick to the wedding diet…) and the room is strewn with brightly wrapped presents, twinkling lights and scented with festive peppermint – if that’s not a magical hen do, we don’t know what is!
Villa Rose, French Alps – For an adventurous hen weekend, look no further than Villa Rose, a boutique villa in the picturesque Alpine village of Samoëns, just an hour away from Geneva airport. Activities you can take part in include skiing (for winter hens!), mountain hiking, parapenting, water rafting and even hot air ballooning. If you are after a bit of pampering though, fret not, you can arrange for beauty therapists to visit you at the villa, or simply chill in the Jacuzzi. villarosesamoens.com
Activities – Keep things classy at your hen party with Emma’s Afternoon Tea, set in the elegant Orangery in Longleat, Wiltshire. The quintessentially British tea presentation includes a selection of speciality teas, afternoon cocktails, delicious sandwiches, homemade meringues and intricately crafted cakes, all made using locally sourced ingredients. With the beautiful backdrop of Longleat estate and set in the stunning orangery, Emma’s Afternoon Tea is the ideal hen party for brides-to-be who want to take it easy in the lead up to their big day. For animal lovers, there’s also the option to have a VIP safari park tour after or before the afternoon tea.
Cocktail ring workshop – We love few things in life more than statement jewellery, so this cocktail ring workshop at The Crafty Hen is right up our street. They provide beautiful glass beads, Swarovski crystals and freshwater pearls, and show you and your hens how to create some unique pieces – a gorgeous hen party keepsake you’ll treasure. £32 per person, minimum group size of 10.
Activities – Gin-loving brides-to-be will adore this quirky hen party idea. Gather up to 20 pals at The Ginstitute, and get stuck in creating your own gin, with unique blends of botanicals, fused together to make a drink that is exactly to your liking. You can even take your creation home, and since all recipes created are kept on file, if you particularly love the tipple, you can reorder it and even serve it at your wedding – talk about a personal wedding day! To book make an enquiry visit The Ginstitute’s website or call 0203 034 2234
Accessories – Now, it’s certainly not compulsory (or indeed expected) to give your hen party attendees a present, but if budget allows, it’s a nice touch. I cannot tell you how happy I’d be to receive one of these pretty personalised notebooks. Admittedly, I’m a stationery addict, but I think they’d please most guests. papier.com
Abroad – The Nikki Beach luxury beach clubs are a firm favourite with the Y&YW team: cool and sophisticated, but still with an element of fun. You’ll find them everywhere from Marrakech to Marbella. The latest location is on the rooftop of Fairmont Monte Carlo, with spectacular views to enjoy as you sip champagne on your poolside lounger. nikkibeach.com
Activities – Well, this is clever. It’s the classic hen party game of Mr & Mrs, but with all the organisational annoyance removed. Simply go to himandhervideos.com and upload your questions. The bride and groom record their answers by webcam (or smartphone), then you get a DVD and video link to play on the night. In the words of a certain TV meerkat: simples.
Activities – Planning on DIY-ing your flowers? Blooming Green in Kent allows you to combine this with your hen, for ultra wedding efficiency. You can invite your chums to one of their flower-arranging courses, so you can get some practice (bespoke courses are available). Or get them along to help you pick the actual wedding flowers – followed by some thank-you prosecco, of course. bloominggreenflowers.co.uk
Accessories – These cute, budget-friendly thank-you gifts come in at a wallet-friendly £2.50 each. Team Hen at notonthehighstreet.com
Activities – Take to the high seas – ok, the waterways of England – with a boating holiday. My experience of narrowboats is limited to a wet weekend on a Girl Guides trip many moons ago, but I’ve come across some luxe options that look rather hen-worthy. You don’t need to do anything more energetic than temporarily moor at a waterside pub if you so choose, or you can add in some exploration time. hotelboatkailani.com For more hotel boats, visit britishmarine.co.uk
Activities – If you’re looking for a makeup refresh – or just want to learn how to do the perfect eyeliner flick – a Makeup Masterclass could be right up your street, with insider tips and tricks from a professional makeup artist. darlinghens.co.uk
Accessories – It’s a foil balloon shaped like a giant pair of lips. ‘Nuff said. thepeacockbride.com
Activities – Come over all Brideshead Revisited with a punting party in Cambridge or Oxford. For a purely relaxing experience, go for a chauffeured punt, leaving your hands free to raise a glass or two of fizz as you watch the world go by. redsevenleisure.co.uk
Abroad – Ibiza may be famous for its nightlife, but there’s plenty to delight peace-seekers, too. Striking self-catering villa Schillinger House is perched on a hill overlooking the pretty town of Santa Eulalia. You can choose to enjoy a totally serene hen surrounded by nature, or dip into the island’s scene at will. Sleeps 6, only-apartments.com
Activities – Plotting a London hen? Consider a blow-dry party in the private lounge of Duck & Dry, where cocktails plus choose-your-own decor and playlists will add to the good-times vibe. Bonus: when you hit the town later, you’ll be Bridey with the Good Hair*. *Cannot resist a Beyoncé reference, however shonky. Sorry. duckanddry.com
Activities – My ultimate girls’ night in would involve Beyoncé and I eating pizza together in our PJs while listing all our ex-boyfriends’ flaws. However, assuming that’s not going to happen, the Girls’ Night In package at Somerset country hotel Ston Easton Park looks like a good bet. There are numerous activities on offer, but I’m most taken with the £75 pamper hamper, which includes face masks, popcorn, chick flicks (not my phrase), chocolate, wine and magazines. stoneaston.co.uk
Activities – This is clever: Patchwork is a brilliant online tool for hen organisation. You can choose from one of their suggested activities (including a letterpress course or a yoga retreat), or simply use the site to organise your own idea. Hens can see exactly what they need to contribute, whether that’s cash or their skills for a DIY party. patchworkit.com
Accessories – Ok, you don’t have to send paper invites, but it’s a nice way of building anticipation. Hen party invite, from a selection, zazzle.co.uk
Abroad – Croatia is one of my favourite places for a break – atmospheric cities and deserted islands, great weather and a cool beachlife vibe in summer. So I was delighted to discover that Chillisauce have added the country to their list of hen destinations. There are plenty of activities to choose from, including sky diving in Zagreb (!) and sea kayaking off Split, but my personal pick is a luxury yacht trip to the Palenki Islands, just off the beautiful island of Hvar. chillisauce.co.uk
Activities – Looking for a chic and unique hen? I love the idea of Takayo’s kimono parties. You and your hens will be dressed in gorgeous kimonos and kanzashi (hair ornaments), learn how to write your names in Japanese and practise traditional calligraphy on paper fans – all in the comfort of your living room. Add-ons include a tea ceremony and sushi-making class. Kimono Hen Party, available in London (although travel to other areas will be considered), from £35 per person for a group of eight, takayo.co.uk
Party pad – Linton Lodge, Scotland This beautiful house has stunning interiors and all the tech mod cons a modern hen needs, from the cinema to the music system. It has a gorgeous countryside location while still just 20 minutes from Edinburgh. Oh, and there are five hot tubs. Sleeps 24+, oliverstravels.com
Accessories – I am very taken with these keepsake hen party books – they manage that tricky balancing act of being both fun and stylish. There are suggestions for activities and games and a quiz for the bride, as well as space for photos and messages. £19.95, illustries.com
Activities – In the immortal words of Tom Cruise in Top Gun: I feel the need… the need for speed. That’s why a stock car racing session appeals – get rid of some of that wedmin stress by haring round a track trying to beat your friends. Drive it like it’s stolen, ladies. Stockcar Racing Hen Parties, available Birmingham & Nottingham, gohen.com
Night-in essentials – It’s a piñata shaped like a mirror ball. Surely you don’t need any further convincing? Disco Ball Piñata, thepeacockbride.com
Abroad – Cortijo Maria Camila, Andalucía, Spain Now, this is delicious: a luxurious farmhouse with rustic-chic interiors and – most importantly – some simply wonderful outdoor spaces for lounging, dining and drinking sangria, plus a private pool. Spread your wings, hens, and fly away to sunny Spain. Sleeps 8, oliverstravels.com
Activities – Well, isn’t this civilised: a game of croquet on the lawn, with a picnic basket of afternoon tea and vintage china. This is exactly what Lady Edith from Downton would have done for her hen (Lady Mary presumably would have been too busy accidentally killing Turkish diplomats in her bed chamber to have a hen do). A sophisticated summer option. Croquet Hen Party, available London & surrounding areas, darlinghens.co.uk
Party pad – The Pamper House, Bournemouth, England Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside… particularly when the seaside house we’re renting has a dedicated in-house pamper room for everything from nail treatments to massages. Sleeps 21, henheaven.co.uk
Accessories – I’m not normally a huge fan of name tags for hens – I know they’re practical if your besties don’t know each other, but there’s just something a bit school trip/corporate conference about them. However, I’d happily wear one of these beauties. Hen Party Badges, £2.95 each, Wood Paper Scissors at notonthehighstreet.com
Health & wellness – Casa Mayato, Ibiza Think Ibiza, think hedonism? Actually, think healthonism, with a wellness getaway at gorgeous Casa Mayato. Over the course of seven nights, you’ll get two healthy dinners courtesy of a specialist chef, two group yoga classes and two fitness classes (along with flights and transfers). And you’ll still have plenty of time to enjoy some poolside snoozing and to explore the nightlife, should you wish. Seven Night Healthy Villa Holiday, from £995 per person based on six sharing, thehealthyholidaycompany.co.uk
Activities – Hotel La Tour in central Birmingham has launched a new range of hen party packages, with activities ranging from afternoon tea (does that count as an activity? I think yes – all that raising-cake-to-mouth business is hard work) to go-karting and chocolate making. One night’s accommodation and one activity, from £85 per person, hotel-latour.com
Accessories – Planning on putting together a survival kit for your hens? Fill these pretty pouches with treats you know they’ll appreciate. If it were me, I’d include a roll-on perfume – Aesop, Cowshed and Diptyque are good spendy options, but wallet-friendly Tisserand is also delightful – and some Alka-Seltzer. Hen do survival kit pouches, £2.10 each, weddinginateacup.co.uk