If you’ve been tasked with the seemingly impossible challenge of planning a hen party for a bride who hates all the typical hen stuff, we reckon that you’re probably feeling pretty overwhelmed right now.
You’re going to be avoiding spa days and butlers in the buff at all costs, but what options does that leave you with and where to begin when plotting an original hen itinerary without a penis straw in sight?
That’s where we come in. Leave the L plates and the door and scroll on down to discover some of the best unusual hen weekend ideas to make your bride’s day unforgettable and your hen party planning as slick and stress-free as possible. Put the kettle on, take a breath and get booking one of these ingenious hen party experiences that are anything but average (just like the gal herself).
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Unusual London Hen Weekend Ideas
There’s so much on offer if you’re booking a hen party in London so we’ve narrowed it down – whether she’s into crafts or cats, we’ve got it covered.
1. Hot Tug Hot Tub Party
Try saying that after a few margaritas. Celebrate your pal’s upcoming wedding by bobbing town the Thames in a hot tub. You’ll be relieved to know that each tub is filled with fresh hot water and you’ve got the option to either captain your tub through the hustle and bustle of Canary Wharf or choose a more sedate route in Lakeside, Essex.
BYOB, hire an ice bucket to keep your drinks cool, rent towels and robes and get your hands on a sailor’s hat for the bride. She can keep it as a memento of all the fun you’ve had because it’s not every day you get to steer a jacuzzi through the capital’s business district.
READ MORE: The Most Fabulous Hen Party Bag Fillers
2. Jamie Oliver Cookery Class
Whether your bride is a culinary pro or a total cookery novice, heading to a Jamie Oliver cookery class is a fun and unique hen weekend idea.
Jamie’s classes are especially brilliant because there are so many cuisines options to choose from – you can learn everything from how to rustle up the ultimate Vietnamese street food feast to how to create unbeatable filled pasta. You’ll all go home with an extra string to your bow and the classes are great value for money too. They all take place in Islington – you’ll find heaps of cool bars and cosy pubs in the area to relax post-feast.
3. Duck & Dry Blow Dry Party
For those of you wanting to arrange something indulgent but not ordinary, celebrating the hen at Duck & Dry could be just the ticket.
Duck & Dry is a blow dry bar with outposts in some of London’s most sought-after locations. Whether you choose Oxford Circus, Spitalfields, Chelsea or Carnaby Street, you’ll be pampered to the nines and each enjoy a blow dry of your choice. Hang out with your girls in some seriously Instagrammable surroundings, sip fizz and leave with a do to die for. You never know, the bride might even be tempted to switch up her wedding day hair plans after a trip here...
4. Afternoon Tea at 100 Queens Gate Hotel
We’ve enjoyed lots of afternoon teas in our time, but the spread at 100 Queens Gate Hotel in South Kensington was up there with the best. Any bride with a sweet tooth (and a penchant for picture perfect settings) is sure to love it.
You can hire out the luxurious atrium space, Botanica, and feast on everything from chocolate roulade to summer fruit macaroons, lemon and lavender gateaux and blackberry rhapsody scones.
Oh, and if you don’t want to venture far for Champagne and cakes, you could choose to stay here overnight too. It’s a brilliant base for exploring London and handily close to the museums, Notting Hill and Harrods, plus it boasts its own on-site cocktail bar. The staff will have you all feeling like royalty, whether you’re just dropping in or lingering longer.
5. Get Cultured with Takayo
Fancy injecting a little culture into your upcoming hen do? Takayo offers something completely different to your average hen party activity by way of their Japanese Kimono-inspired parties.
You’ll be immersed in the delights of Japanese culture as you learn your name and its meaning in Kanji, the rituals of dressing and practise the traditional art of calligraphy on the paper fan (which every guest will get to take home at the end of the day).
The workshops can take place at a venue of your choice or from home, and you can even add in additional extras such as a sushi-making class or reserve a private photographer to capture your day. Your hens will never have experienced a party like this before.
READ MORE: 17 Steps to Planning Your Dream Wedding Day
6. Feline Afternoon Tea
If the bride is a bonafide ‘cat person’, a trip to Whiskers & Cream in Islington will be a dream come true. Book an opulent afternoon tea (there are vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free and gluten-free options aplenty) and then relax while cuddling cats. Just be sure to double check that no hens have pet allergies before you book...
7. Drink, Shop & Do in Kings Cross
A crafty hen HQ that doubles up as a bar, café, independent shop and even an occasional nightclub. Keep an eye on the calendar of creative workshops and events – past options have included indoor gardening, flatbread making and crafting decorations out of used drinks cans (which could come in handy for the wedding).
8. Cheese Tasting at Neal’s Yard
Whether you book a ‘cheese of the month’ tasting or a full cheese masterclass, if the bride is considering a cheesecake for her wedding you know that this unusual hen party activity will be just to her taste. Be sure to let the team know if any pregnant hens will be in attendance so that they can tailor a selection to their needs.
9. A Bespoke Food Tour
More ideas for a foodie bride, Walk Eat Talk Eat offers food tours that will not only unearth the capital’s culinary delights but can also be tailored to your time schedule, budget and the bride’s whims.
You could begin at Tower Hill with a cronut and glass of fizz, head on down to the jostling stalls of Maltby Street Market, pop by a gin distillery, sample slow roasted brisket with margaritas, discover hidden foodie havens under east London’s railway arches and end with a final sweet treat in Borough Market. Hen quests don’t get more delicious than this.
10. High Tea & Tease in the West End
If you thought that high tea was stuffy, think again. Combine finger sandwiches and bubbles with burlesque and cabaret for an unforgettable afternoon of entertainment. A rolling cast and live piano performances means that you never quite know what you’re going to get, and that’s half the fun.
11. Glimpse of London Helicopter Tour with Fizz
Just celebrating with a small 'I do' crew? Go all out with a helicopter tour over London and a glass of bubbles on landing. Up to four of you can get on board and tours come in at just under £100 per person so it’s not quite as extortionate as you might assume. If you’re looking for one ‘blow her out of the water’ event, this is it.
Unusual Manchester Hen Weekend Ideas
Hen parties in Manchester are arguably up there with the best, so choose from this selection of unique ideas to give your bride a weekend to remember.
12. Luxury Chocolate Making
Calling all chocoholics! My Chocolate offers up the sweetest of hen party packages from its Manchester location and also from a luxury mobile chocolate van for even more flexibility.
Ideal for groups of all sizes, you’ll get stuck into chocolate making and tasting in no time, perfecting your ganache and leaving with a heaving box of truffles to take home. There’s really nothing not to love about this particular hen activity idea.
READ MORE: The Sweetest Chocolate Wedding Favours
13. Coffee Tour
Wake up the entire hen crew by kicking off your Manchester hen do with a coffee tour of the city. Led by Hannah Davies, co-founder of the Cup North (the home of the Manchester Coffee Festival), you’ll begin your tour in the Royal Mills of Ancoats, learning all about how coffee is grown, processed and poured directly into your cup. After sampling the Ancoats roast you’ll tour other speciality coffee shops to try innovative takes on the daily staple and discover the history of coffee in Manchester.
14. Bake With a Legend
If the bride’s a lover of The Great British Bake Off, you can’t go wrong with one. Get your wedding party together at one of Bake With a Legend’s high quality kitchens and have a baking lesson with one of your favourite chosen Bake Off stars. You’ll bake something challenging yet beautiful, with recipes reflecting the specialities and talents of the star baker of your choosing. From there, as if decreed by Prue and Paul Hollywood themselves, you’ll have three hours to whip up your masterpiece.
All fizz, soft drinks and snacks to keep you going are included, and if you don’t fancy leaving the comfort of your own home, one of the baking stars can even come to you.
READ MORE: Mary Berry’s Ultimate Wedding Cake Recipe
15. Urban Axe Throwing
Well, you were on the lookout for unusual hen party ideas, right? Learn how to sling axes to an awesome soundtrack, then enter a hen party tournament by competing to hit targets. A winner will be crowned at the end when you can head off to celebrate and commiserate with drinks and snacks at the bar. Never fear, there’s a safety briefing before you get let loose on the axe box.
16. Comedy Crime Club
Combining improv, intrigue and a good old murder mystery format, Murder Inc makes for a fun night out and when all of that laughing and guessing starts to sap your energy you’ll be quickly revived thanks to rounds of pizza and drinks.
17. Go On a Secret Bar Crawl
From bijou bars in backstreets to a bar moonlighting as a newsagents and a drinking den fronting as a launderette, Manchester excels when it comes to ‘secret’ bar concepts. Get intrepid and see how many of the following 13 underground locations you can tick off over the course of your hen weekend. Just don’t forget to allocate water breaks otherwise you may not be finding them at all.
18. Step Back into Victorian Times
Travelling back in time is a pretty impressive hen do feat. Visit this Victorian street in Salford to immerse yourselves in the atmosphere of a gaslit winter evening in 1918. Poke your head around the printers, toy makers, general store and pub and perhaps finish with a trip to the dressmakers and haberdasher for wedding fashion ideas. They do say that trends come back around...
Unusual Edinburgh Hen Weekend Ideas
Got a hen break planned in the Scottish capital? These unusual ideas in and around Edinburgh are sure to get you excited.
19. Make Your Own Perfume
Enjoy a 90 minute to two hour consultation with an expert perfumer, during which you’ll learn about 21 different blends before combining your favourites to make your own unique scent which you can take away. You’ll also get a Fragrance Registration Certificate so you can order more. Why not invent your own unique wedding perfume?
READ MORE: Our Favourite Wedding Candles
20. Play in the Highland Games
If you fancy treating a sporty bride to an exhilarating Scottish experience, it’s heard to beat playing in the Highland Games. Compete for points in a variety of unique games including tossing the caber, throwing a sheaf over a pitchfork, rolling haggis, welly hurling and the classic tug o’ war. You may not all prove to be naturals but we can guarantee that you’ll have a whole lot of fun trying.
The day takes place at Whitemoss Farm which is situated just 30 minutes from Edinburgh city centre and just a 10 minute drive from the airport, which could be handy if your hens are flying in from afar. There’s nothing like lobbing a welly as soon as you get off a flight to get your feet back on the ground.
21. Dance the Day (and Night) Away
Go full Strictly on the hen night out and the wedding night itself by taking part in a dance lesson at one of two amazing Edinburgh locations.
A professional choreographer will tailor the lesson to the group’s ability and preferences – you’ll begin with the basics before mastering a short routine. Now all that’s left is to do is choose a theme before you book so have a think about what gets the bride on her feet and go from there.
22. Whisky Tasting in Scotland’s Smallest Pub
Fancy getting to grips with some of Scotland’s finest whiskies? Now you can, from inside Scotland’s smallest and frankly most charming pub. Your own personal whisky expert will take you on a tour of the tipples of the nation with a tasting session, after which you can all tuck into a selection of breads, dips and mini desserts.
For a real trip around the isles your party can continue long after the tasting is over if you head on over to Biddy Mulligans, the authentic Irish pub next door which hosts live music and sits in the heart of the historic Grassmarket. For a right old Scottish/Irish knees up, look no further.
READ MORE: The Best Wedding Venues in Scotland
23. Silent Disco Adventure
An affordable hour long tour through Edinburgh that’ll be just the ticket for an exhibitionist bride. Sing and dance through the streets wearing high tech headsets and take in local landmarks as you serenade onlookers – you won’t be able to hear yourself so that might melt away some anxiety. Or not. This may not be a hen activity for everyone but it certainly fulfils the ‘unique’ brief.
24. City of the Dead Tour
Haunted hen do anyone? The acclaimed City of the Dead tour crew offer all sorts of spooky Scottish experiences, including roaming through Edinburgh’s creepy historic underground city to graveyard tours and a ‘double dead’ route that takes in haunted vaults and a prison famed for its paranormal happenings. Expect storytelling, entertainment, a history lesson and a fright night all in one.
25. Tasting Menu at Six By Nico
With inventive rotating themes and a surprisingly affordable six course tasting menu (including a vegetarian option), a trip to Six by Nico is a decadent, tasty thrill that will delight foodie brides and hungry hens. Add on tailored wine flights for an even more boujis evening.
Unusual Brighton Hen Weekend Ideas
Brighton offers up a bit of everything, from sand and sea air to brilliant shopping and a multitude of hen weekend options. Here are our top picks…
26. Flower Crown Making
Give your queens the crowns they deserve with this super-cute arts and crafts experience. A professionally trained florist will come to your hen accommodation and you’ll use fresh flowers to create magical crowns to be worn that evening and add a bit of flower power to your celebrations!
The 90 minute session is the ideal activity if your bride is planning a rustic, spring wedding too.
27. BA i360 Yoga in the Sky
Experience Brighton like you’ve never experienced it before with a day at the BA i360 centre.
Glide up 450ft above the coast and take in stunning views of the sea and city before beginning a yoga class in the clouds. We can’t think of anything more relaxing!
Once you’re feeling suitably zen, head back down to the West Beach Bar & Kitchen for brunch and breakfast cocktails. The ‘Old Spot’ Full English takes our fancy.
28. A Home Away From Home
Who says you even have to do anything on your hen do? If you’re considering splashing the cash on a seriously swish hotel room for the night, you may as well enjoy it to the full and make R&R priority number one.
We love the Artist Residence Hotel in Brighton for its creative, non-stuff vibes. It’s the brainchild of Justin Salisbury who left university to take over the family B&B in 2006. He had no budget to revamp the place, so he invited hundreds of local artists to decorate the 23-bedroom townhouse in return for board. The result? The most contemporary and sumptuous family-run seafront hotel complete with on-site cocktail bar and an elegant restaurant. You’re going to struggle to come to terms with checking out of this place.
READ MORE: The Best Wedding Venues in Brighton
29. Unleash Your Inner Artist with The Paint Club
Run by husband and wife duo John and Alice, The Paint Club teaches hen parties to paint whilst they enjoy cocktails and afternoon tea.
The arty duo can host your party in one of the venues they regularly work with or travel to a location of your choice within 80 miles of Sussex, which is pretty flexi as hen activities go. They’ll also consult you beforehand to plan a painting project that fits in with your chosen theme or reflects the bride’s vibe.
30. Vegan Wine Tasting
Head on down to the much loved Ten Green Bottles for a niche wine tasting session that promises to be anything but snooty and formal. A private vegan and vegetarian wine masterclass will explain the processes involved in wine production, including tastings of six wines that your sommelier especially rates accompanied with nibbles.
31. Beach Volleyball Lessons
If the bride has a competitive streak, a private beach volleyball taster is sure to tick her boxes. Make like you’re on a beach in LA with a warm-up, drills and match play on the beach led by a qualified coach. Then catch your breath and reward your hard work with sundowners by the seashore afterwards.
32. Succumb to Pier Pressure
Crystal Maze fans will adore this Brighton hen weekend activity. Solve puzzles and riddles against the clock, navigate your way around different escape room settings and put your communication and teamwork skills to the test as you decode key clues. There are multiple options and difficulty levels to tickle your group’s fancy and you’ll get a taste of the local atmosphere too with challenges such as ‘loot the Lanes’ and ‘Pavilion perplex’.
Unusual Hen Weekend Ideas in the Midlands
Birmingham and its surrounding areas have some unique hen weekend prospects to offer. Take your pick from these amazing options…
33. Gin Tasting at Chase Distillery
Take to the Herefordshire countryside (an hour’s direct train from Birmingham) and embark on a day of gin tasting at the bucolic Chase Distillery.
From the home of the well-loved Pink Grapefruit Gin and Marmalade Vodka, an expert guide will talk you through the spirit making process, from traditional mashing and fermenting to distilling and bottling.
After the tour, you’ll head to the Chase Bar to enjoy a tutored tasting of all Chase blends. If there’s something that especially takes your fancy on the trip you can pick it up from the Boutique Distillery Shop and shake up a storm when you get home.
READ MORE: The Best Wedding Venues in Herefordshire
34. Host a Hen-Fest Weekender
Ensure the hen do is the best weekend of your bride’s life by planning your own private music festival. Courtesy of Go Hen, you can organise a weekend of festival-inspired fun in the Cotswold countryside. You’ll enjoy two nights of starlight glamping, a butler in the buff, hot tub hire, a private performance from an acoustic band, a private BBQ chef and many more outdoorsy surprises. Hen breaks don’t get more extra than this.
35. Peaky Blinders Night
Would the bride secretly like to join the Shelby family? This Peaky Blinders themed night is made for her. Take a trip to the Black Country Living Museum near Birmingham (where the hit BBC show is filmed) for an immersive evening of Peaky fun.
36. Explore the Lost Pubs of The Jewellery Quarter
You’ll begin your ‘lost pub’ crawl at the aptly named Jeweller’s Arms before touring historic former pubs and stopping for a drink at the atmospheric Gunmakers Arms. Expect Gothic detail aplenty.
37. Dig In at Digbeth Dining Club
Held in scenic locations all over the midlands, from the grounds of Warwick Castle to the ruins of Coventry Cathedral, Digbeth Dining Club has evolved beyond its original home to combine Michelin starred cuisine with authentic street food, unforgettable drinks and live music from local bands and DJs. If you’re craving a delicious hen weekend with a real sense of place, DDC has it covered.
Unusual Liverpool Hen Weekend Ideas
Take to the city famed for wild nights out for your bride’s upcoming hen do. One of these unusual Liverpool hen party ideas should kickstart proceedings...
38. Go Old-Skool Bowling
Pins Social Club is a hub of stylish retro themed fun. There’s traditional ten pin bowling, shuffleboard, karaoke, a rooftop bar and an American-style pizzeria to keep you sustained and entertained. You could spend all evening here and still not feel boredom creeping in, which is just the ticket when you’re chief hen organiser.
39. Life Drawing Class
Never done a life drawing class? They’re quite the experience and a hen do provides the perfect opportunity to flex your pencil and give it a go.
Try your hand at portraiture as you sketch a handsome model who’ll be striking a pose for your private group. Relax with a few drinks throughout your class while you brush up on your artistry skills – you’ll be glad to hear that a tutor will be on hand to offer professional tips.
The class is sure to induce a few giggles, and will be a fantastic ice breaker if your hens don’t all know each other.
40. Go Behind The Scenes of The Beatles’ Club
Considered one of the most famous music venues in the world, The Cavern Club hosted The Beatles’ first gigs among many other famous musician’s sets. Take a Behind The Scenes Tour to discover the history of the club and the origins of Liverpool’s vibrant music scene before sitting back with a drink to enjoy a live gig.
41. Cocktails and Conjuring
A trip to The Oracle is not what it seems. This mysterious, stylish bar is hidden away in Liverpool city centre and will see you sipping cocktails as different magicians visit your table to delight and deceive you. It’s sure to make for a night to remember (or...perhaps not?).
Unusual UK-Wide Hen Weekend Ideas
Some hen weekend ideas are just so good that they can be done the whole country over. Peruse some options that are sure to work wherever you are…
42. At-Home Booze Tasting Experience
Grab some flutes and glasses and enjoy a two-hour tasting led by a Waitrose drinks specialist. Drinks will be delivered direct to your door beforehand and you can choose from a ‘gin o’clock’ evening, a ‘cocktails at home’ class or a ‘simply wine’ session. The expert leading your unique session will also recommend snacks to go with your drinks beforehand so you can fill your basket in advance.
43. Secret Yoga Club Retreat
If you’re in the market for an injection of instant calm, take your hens on a yoga retreat for a weekend that’s sure to restore everyone’s inner zen.
The Secret Yoga Club runs a range of retreats up and down the country throughout the year, hosted by some of the world’s best yoga teachers. You’ll be perfecting your poses in some of the most tranquil locations that the British countryside has to offer – you’d be hard pushed to find a more peaceful group holiday.
If a whole weekend of yoga sounds a little too much for you, the Secret Yoga Club also offers shorter classes at a variety of locations, so you can tie one in with a fun packed weekend of other activities. Soho Farmhouse would be our first choice.
44. Hiking Hen Party
Be even more at one with nature by hosting a hiking hen party. Get away to a gorgeous hotel in the British countryside and use it as a base for your day of walking. It’ll be a refreshing and unique change from the usual hen weekend.
Once you return, all fresh faced and rosy, arrange for a cosy dinner and cocktails as the perfect end to your day.
Our pick of mini-moon hotels in the UK would double up as a great guide to inspire your weekend of walking.
45. Go White Water Rafting
If your bride’s a bit more of a daredevil, get fast and furious with a white water rafting hen party. Into The Blue arranges a wide range of white water rafting packages up and down the country which are both great value for money and all include a substantial amount of time on the water.
46. Take a Bow
More adrenaline fuelled activities, this time in the form of a more focused but no less exciting archery lesson. Choose from several UK locations and book some luxe hen accommodation alongside your archery through The Sophisticated Hen.
If you’re still struggling with organising a hen do, we feel you! Our 15 emotional stages of planning a hen party will speak to you and if nothing else, laughter is always a great stress reliever.