On the search for the best hen do destinations in the world? We’ve got you covered.
Weddings of late might have been slightly different, but as we exit Lockdown 2.0, with vaccines and a new year on the horizon, all signs are pointing in a positive direction for 2021 brides.
And if you’ve been honoured with the task of standing by your friend’s side at the altar, there is no more important task then planning the best hen do. Be warned, however: although, gathering your closest girlfriends and bringing them together to celebrate sounds like a total blast. Wine! Food! No partners to judge our drunk antics for the weekend! What could be more fun?! But like all girls weekends away, the planning of them can be an *actual* nightmare. Are you looking for hens ideas? Look no further, Magic Men has you covered.
‘I can’t do that weekend!’, ‘That’s too expensive!’ and ‘Can I let you know nearer the time?’ are the bane of every Maid of Honour’s existence. Now throw in the uncertainty of living in a COVID world and finding the perfect hen-do destination will feel like mission impossible.
So if you’re taking on the lead role in a hen do planning, we salute you. By way of a bit of good karma, we’ve decided to put together a list of the best hen-do destinations in the world (as well as the best places to stay in each), so that you can at least cross off the “accommodation” box on your to-do list. Whether your bride is after one last party with the girls before the big day, or a relaxed spa weekend to calm the nerves, we’ve got the perfect hen-do destination for you.
Our favourites? We’re obsessed with this manor house near Dublin, listed on Airbnb. With 5 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms, there won’t be squabbling over getting ready space, and although you’ll be in the city centre for a night out in just a short cab ride, it’s also remote enough that what happens on the hens, stays on the hens. There’s also this light and airy home – walking distance to Brighton beach, so perfect for a UK seaside retreat, not to mention the crisp white linens and stripped back wooden floors worthy of a Soho House. Dreamy. Check out a range of hens ideas Sydney.
Here are the best hen do destinations in the world
HomeAway Cabin, Bristol, England
Best for: Day trips
How fabulous is this cabin near Bristol? It’s set in the middle of the countryside, has space for up to 17 guests (perfect if you have a larger party) and boasts a large heated swimming pool and hot tub in the back garden.
What to do:
Bristol is just a stone’s-throw away from Bath, which makes for a lovely day trip. Visit the Roman baths and wander around the quaint, old streets.
What to eat:
The best thing about hiring a cottage like this one is that you don’t even have to get out of your PJs to have dinner. The cabin boasts a gorgeous open-plan kitchen with a massive dining table so that you can cook up a storm and party all night without stepping foot outside.
Spacious Retreat, Brighton, England
Best for: blustery beach walks and brunch
If you want a beach-side hen do but don’t fancy leaving the UK, Brighton has got to be your best bet. It has no-end of fabulous restaurants and breakfast spots, a beautiful beach and lots of bars. The countryside is on the city’s doorstep, too, if you fancy a wholesome walk.
What to do:
Once you’ve walked along the beach and played in the pier’s arcade (nope, never too old), take a stroll around the independent boutiques in The Lanes and relax in the gardens of the Royal Pavilion. There are endless places for a night out when the sun goes down.
What to eat:
The Set at Artist Residence is a cool and quirky spot for dinner, nestled inside the best boutique hotel in the city. Curry Leaf Cafe is great for vegetarian Indian cuisine. Polpo (one of London’s most significant Italian chains that have now landed in Brighton) offers some of the best pizza and pasta around.
Adriana Hvar Spa Hotel, Hvar, Croatia
Best for: Securing that pre-wedding tan
Though it may be more difficult to reach than other European destinations, Hvar boasts amazing weather, stunning views and nightlife worth the journey. Take speed boats around the Croatian island’s blue seas, or head to the beach club to work on that pre-wedding glow.
What to do:
Sunbathe from dawn to desk on one of Hvar’s glistening beaches.
Where to eat:
There’s no shortage of breathtaking restaurants to take in Hvar’s unbeatable views. Head to Carpe Diem for a round of margaritas with the girls before taking your time over a lavish meal at Restaurant Gariful. Either way, you’re guaranteed a group of happy hens.
Glamping with Wildrevive, New Forest
Best for: Glamping
If you fancy a festival-style hen do, consider these glamping tents in the New Forest. You get to choose the campsite for the location most ideal for your group, and the host can organise activities from yoga to pamper parties.
What to do:
Besides hosting your bride’s own mini Glasto celebrations, the New Forest is all about long country walks and pub lunches – ideal for a bride whose a country girl at heart.
Where to eat:
The original Pig Hotel is situated in New Forest so book ahead for delicious cocktails and the best Sunday roast you’ll ever have.
Grade A Listed Mansion, Edinburgh, Scotland
Best for: A fun city break
Scotland’s capital is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, built over hills which overlook the sea. You could go time and time again and find different things to do – from shopping to eating (a lot) and all of the culture. And walks. Don’t forget the stunning walks. This Airbnb is located near to the city centre. It’s one of Airbnb’s Plus properties, meaning every corner of the place is gorgeous. It sleeps 16 guests across nine luxurious bedrooms and boasts extensive grounds for garden games and al fresco dining. What could be better?
What to do:
Climb Arthur’s Seat or Carlton Hill in the morning before enjoying lunch at one of the city’s many delicious brunch spots. Wander down to Dean Village and along the river to Stockwell in the afternoon, or shop ’til you drop on Princes Street. There’s also the castle to check out, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and Princes Street Gardens (which comes to life at Christmas, FYI).
Where to eat:
Try Ting Thai Caravan for the Thai feast of your life and The Bon Vivant for a Sunday roast to die for. The perfect hangover cure, if you ask us.
Can Bán, Ibiza
Best for Nightlife
Perfectly situated for a mix of beach days and party nights, this Ibiza villa has sea views to cure even the worst hangover. Only 10 minutes from Playa d’en Bossa with it’s (in)famous clubs and a long, sandy beach, it’s the ideal base for wild nights out.
What to do:
For the full Ibiza experience, head to Nikki Beach for a rose-fuelled lunch followed by sundowners at Casa del Mar. The next day, swim off your hangover on a breathtaking day trip to Formentera.
Where to eat:
Based on Santa Gertrudis’s main square, Finca La Plaza is the perfect candle-lit hideout for those looking to unwind over a bottle of crisp white wine and fresh, zingy plates. For the all-out Ibiza experience, head to Cafe Mambo for world-famous DJs and a shot (or seven) of tequila.
Hotel El Call, Barcelona, Spain
Best for Beaches and bars
Explore the stunning city of Barcelona, visit La Sagrada Familia, Park Guell and shop until you drop on La Rambla. Then, at night, head for a delicious dinner, followed by sangria and a club to dance the night away. The perfect combination of culture and clubbing!
What to do:
From Barcelona’s world-famous food markets (make sure you visit La Boqueria), to the city’s impressive array of museums (The Gaudi is a must-see) and stunning stretch of beach, there’s no shortage of activities to get stuck into. The only difficult decision is deciding where to head first.
Where to eat:
Our top picks include late dinner at Lolita Taperia for a leisurely late dinner, Xiringuito Escriba for paella and rose on the beach and Hetta Cuisine for an elegant, flavorful evening. Prepare for some of the most mouth-watering tapas of your life. And the wine’s not too shabby either.
Organising a Hen Party Abroad: Tips and Tricks for a Stress-Free Experience
Planning a wedding is a time-consuming and stressful experience, and the hen party is a chance for the bride’s closest friends to take her mind off what still needs to be done by giving her a day or weekend she’ll never forget. With flights to mainland Europe costing peanuts if they’re booked in enough time, having a hen party abroad has never been easier but it’ll take some extra organising to pull off a truly fantastic trip. Here are our top tips for planning a hen do abroad with the minimum amount of stress:
Ascertain the Dates and Budget Before You Start Looking
Money is always a tricky subject to approach, especially if you don’t know some of the other guests very well, but it’s important to ascertain how much each person is willing to spend and pick something to suit everyone. After all, a hen party is the bride’s chance to spend time with her best friends, and she’ll want everyone to be there if they can, so don’t price people out. Don’t forget that flights will get more expensive as the day gets closer, so book as far in advance as possible! As for the dates, try using a planner like Doodle to schedule a trip what will suit everyone.
Instead of leaving each guest to organise their own flights or trains, it makes much more sense to book everyone’s tickets at once. That way you won’t all be stuck at the airport waiting for one person’s delayed flight whilst you could all be having fun. Organise a meeting point and make sure everyone gets there in plenty of time.
Give Everyone a Checklist
There’s nothing worse than setting off for your action-packed weekend and somebody realising their passport is out of date, or they’ve forgotten their European health insurance card. Sort out two checklists: one for everyone (travel documents, essentials etc.) and one for individuals (who’s bringing the wine, who brings the party games and so on). Don’t forget, no liquids over 100ml in your hand luggage!
Organise an Itinerary
No-one enjoys a trip away that’s so regimented they might as well be at Sandhurst, but equally a ‘relaxing weekend’ shouldn’t mean sitting about with anything to do. This can seem like a daunting task, but there are ways of making it more comfortable. Remember to factor in enough time for relaxing, lunch and hangovers!
Have a Contingency Plan
No matter how meticulously you’ve planned the trip, things never run quite as expected. Sometimes this works in your favour, but it pays to be prepared if things get out of hand in a way you haven’t anticipated. Make sure every guest has the name and address of your accommodation in case you get split up, ideally on a slip of paper as well as in their phones. Check the phone number for the country’s emergency services before you go, and ensure everyone has a map, a few basic phrases in the local language and a taxi number or two.
Check it’s what the bride wants
Before planning a hen do abroad, one of the most important things you’ll need to do is check that it’s actually what the bride wants. We know that half the excitement of planning the hen do surprises the bride. You should definitely check that the bride would be happy to go abroad for her hen do in advance. For some brides, the idea of travelling abroad for a hen party fills them with fear, while other brides may have specific locations where they’d prefer the hen to be held. You don’t have to be precise, but you should definitely float the idea beforehand.
Make sure everyone can travel
Another important thing to take into account is the guest list. Once the bride has given you her preferred list of guests, you’ll need to be sure that all the invitees are happy to travel abroad. Please consider any pregnancies, as expectant mothers won’t be able to fly in their third trimester, and check that there are no flying phobias in the group.
Choose your destination
Once a destination hen does has been given a thumbs up, then you have the exciting task of choosing your hen party destination! Think about whether your bride wants a relaxing beach break, a city trip with plenty of food and culture, or a party island with plenty of nightlife. If you have a small group and a large budget, you could even think about going for an amazing long-haul trip, such as New York, Las Vegas or Thailand! However, we would recommend short-haul for most abroad hen do. Here are some of our top picks for destinations:
While you might be able to book holidays last minute, we don’t recommend putting off your travel booking when it comes to organising a group hen do! You’re likely to get better rates on hotels and airfare if you book early. If you’re in a large group, then leaving it until later means that you may struggle to accommodate your numbers. Not only will organising in advance save you money and headaches later down the line, but it’ll also give your hens time to save.
Package vs DIY
Whether you choose to go through a hen party planning company or plan the parts of your hen party separately is entirely up to you, but you should consider the amount of free time you have to plan, and how well you know the location. Going for a package with a dedicated supplier can take a lot of stress out of planning, and ensures that lots of the travel and transfers are taken care of. Still, if you’re looking for precise requirements, then you may be better off planning the entire thing yourself.
Create an itinerary
When deciding on your activities, be careful not to over-plan the weekend – you want to leave time to enjoy your destination without strict time limits! However, we also recommend that you familiarise yourself with your destination well in advance, and be sure that you know exactly where the local supermarkets, bars and restaurants are, as well as how the local public transport works. Depending on your group’s size, you may want to book your meals or tables at bars in advance too. Once the activities and meals have been decided, let people know the itinerary to pack accordingly. Check out our customized hens packages for easy ladies night planning.
Add the finishing touch
If you’re giving out hen goodie bags, then make the most of it with fun treats inspired by your destination! Personalised sunglasses, Bride Tribe swimwear or flipflops, tote bags (good for souvenir shopping!), passport covers, travel toiletries and mini bottles of sun cream are all cute yet practical gifts to give the hens.