The best UK cities for a hen do
With Google search volume data revealing a 402% search increase for 'hen party ideas' since December and 2023 wedding season in touching distance, organising a pre-wedding celebration is already on the bridal party to-do list.
Getting all of your nearest and dearest pals together for a hen party can be challenging - whether it's catering to availability, budget, activity preferences or dietary requirements. Hen party decoration supplier, Ginger Ray, has done a little digging to find the top 19 UK cities to host your pre-wedding celebrations. Based on an overall ranking of cities that provide the most options for a memorable stay according to Trip Advisor data - considering everything from bottomless brunches and spa treatments to availability of the infamous Whispering Angel wine - here are the top hen do hotspots across the UK:
Perhaps the unexpected underdog, Bath came out on top as the best hen party city in the UK, with 1 in 4 venues (26%) providing a brunch menu and over a quarter (28%) of restaurants being group friendly. With warmer weather typically appearing from June, Bath is an ideal destination for outdoor dining. Bath boasts a huge variety of vegan (44%) and gluten-free (45%) options - certainly the place to be when catering for all your bride tribe's dietary needs.
What's more, Bath has an impressive 553 group activities to choose from when you're feeling like having some fun away from the boozy bars and restaurants, ranging from escape rooms, to Paint by Wine workshops.
Shockingly, despite a whopping 125 venues stocking Whispering Angel wine, the hallmark of any 2023 hen do, London ranked 15th with little choice in spa facilities and live music venues for hens - an underwhelming turnout from the Big Smoke. As one of the most expensive cities in the world3 London offers little for a higher cost.
Manchester also ranked surprisingly low on the list as the third worst city for hen parties, due to limited venues offering gluten-free (14%) and vegan (17%) options, and only 3% of venues hosting live music. Karaoke standard or not, a pre-wedding warble is a must.
Jess Martin, hen party expert at Ginger Ray comments: "It's surprising to see how the different cities ranked with some unexpected cities such as London and Manchester towards the bottom of the list.
"While the bride is the main focus of your hen party, so many people are involved in making it special and it's really important to factor this into hen party planning, whether it's dietary needs or accessibility. The index is also a great way to scope out which city suits your group's vibe, whether it be outdoor activities or bars and restaurants - making sure the city you visit is the best place for those preferences will ensure that there's no disappointment amongst the group."
And for any head bridesmaids, maids of honour, or best pals planning a hen party this year, Jess Martin shares her top tips on how to plan an unforgettable hen party, that doesn't break the bank...
1. Prioritise your budget over plans
"One of the biggest ways that planning a hen party can get a little out of control is where the budget is concerned. Make sure you have a number in your head from the beginning and you'll be able to quickly get an idea of how much you can comfortably afford to spend on your games and activities. Bear in mind what is affordable to one person may not necessarily be affordable for all your guests. One thing you wouldn't want is people dropping out at the last minute so to make sure there are no dramas, share a few options including the cost before booking anything to get a sense of everyone's financial expectations."
2. Plan in advance
"Planning a hen party can end up being a lot more expensive if you leave it till the last minute. Last-minute deals on hen parties don't really exist as they do with holiday packages, so you'll want to start planning with as much time as possible to ensure you get everything you need to make it one to remember. Try to get the main bookings out of the way early so you can make the most of the early-bird bargains. This will give you the chance to spread the cost over several months making it much more manageable for everyone."
3. Keep it simple
"To put it simply, the longer your hen party lasts, the more expensive it'll be! You can still organise an unforgettable hen party that is just for one night. For budget-friendly options, keep it simple and plan a fun night out with lots of free activities and personal touches without the massive bill! If you feel that one night is too short and it doesn't give you enough time for all you have planned, then why not start early and make a whole day of it."
4. Decorate with maximum impact for a minimal cost
"Decorations can set the overall tone of the party, but It's important to remember that you don't always have to break the bank in order to make an impact. You can have a budget-friendly party with VIP decorations. Instead of opting for a fancy dress theme where costume prices can add up, a classic Bride to Be Sash never goes amiss! A balloon arch is also a great, low-cost way of adding a striking focal point to your accommodation or venue. If budget allows, you can go to town with other props too such as a customisable photo booth or a party game hamper to add to the fun."
5 Research and find free or low-cost activities
"It's about who you're with, not what you do! So researching some fun free activities that you can plan in for the day is a great tactic, and also a great ice breaker to get everyone laughing! There are endless free games or activities you can get involved with to keep costs low but spirits high."
For all your hen party needs and to shop the new collection, visit: gingerray.co.uk/hen-party