Marriage is as old as civilisation itself. The Sumerians started the trend some 5000 years ago with their marriage-by-capture ritual, where the best man was tasked with kidnapping the bride and fighting off her relatives if they tried to rescue her. Weddings today may be slightly more civilised, but modern pre-nuptial celebrations appear to be growing famously less refined. As something of a rite-of-passage, Stag and Hen Parties have become as much a part of wedding traditions as white dresses and YMCA. And with around 300 000 people in the UK tying the knot each year, Stag and Hen Do's have evolved into an institution - mostly of extravagant debauchery. So in the interest of brides and grooms to-be, Essential Travel explores the best Stag and Hen Do locations the UK has to offer - after all, anyone who is about to be committed for life deserves a memorable send-off.
At The Coast
Brighton is alive with the all the vigour of a capital city and the energy of a seaside resort. As Great Britain's premier coastal town, Brighton is considered by many to be the epitome of Stag and Hen do locations. There is certainly something inspiring about the combination of beach, bountiful bars and artsy broad-mindedness, which encourages one to unshackle any inhibitions and delve into the pleasures of coastal culture and unparalleled nightlife. Head to the Brighton Marina for a truly wild experience.
Newquay casually boasts an expansive coastline of exquisitely white, sandy beaches and some of the UK's premier surf spots. Couple this with a famously vibrant nightlife and the result is what many consider to be a Stag or Hen location of unmatched possibility. Try your hand at Coasteering to experience the UK's latest extreme watersport.
On A Budget
Your Home City
Some prefer to forego the hassle of travelling to another city and opt instead to celebrate their pre-nuptials in their home town. There are many benefits to this option, starting with the financial aspect of not having to pay for hotels and inter-city transport. Another advantage is having first-hand knowledge of the best places to go and things to do. And of course there's nothing quite like finding yourself stranded on your own at the end of the night and then realising that your own front door is just a stumble away.
If the antics of Gavin and Stacey weren't enough to persuade you that Cardiff is the best place for your Stag or Hen do, then consider this: It is easily accessible from most parts of the UK. It was named one of the top 10 places to visit in the world. The fact that Wales is up and coming means that most things are more affordable in Cardiff than other UK capital cities. But if you do decide to claim Cardiff for your ultimate Stag Weekend or Hen Night, then may we suggest familiarising yourself with some simple Welsh turns of phrase:
- tidy - good, ok, I agree
- rough as ten - used to describe a place, usually a pub where threats of violence are common
- smeared - really drunk. Even more drunk than wasted, blllaadered, maashed, trounced, monged and coor-don-blluured.
Check out our Cardiff 24 hour guide for more great ways to celebrate those pending nuptials.
York is alive with the heritage of bygone eras. The Vikings may be confined to history books and Medieval times may be over, but York retains a reminiscent enchantment not often found today. And it's precisely this charm that invites visitors to fall in love with the walled city and that keeps them coming back time and again. York may not be the first city you think of when you're planning a Stag or Hen getaway, but you might just find that experiencing York may mean discovering a renewed love for life. And you might be so inspired by the epic proportions of the Minster that you move your wedding there.
If you're in search of a Stag or Hen destination with a flare for the unique, then head to Bath. As a Unesco World Heritage Site, it promises to be nothing less than a memorable experience of beauty, wonder and diversity. Established as a Spa by the Romans in AD 43, Bath still boasts possessing the UK's only natural hot springs. The wide variety of cultural, theatrical, sporting, shopping and entertainment activities in Bath make it one of Great Britain's leading tourist destinations.
Edinburgh is reputed to have the largest collection of historical buildings, museums, art galleries and theatres of any city in Scotland. It is one of the major historical cities of the Enlightenment, with both the New Town and Old Town areas listed as Unesco World Heritage Sites. A Stag or Hen do in Edinburgh is guaranteed to be a culturally-charged experience, especially if you happen to find yourself there in the month of August, when the famous Edinburgh Festival is in full swing. Or check out freedomltd for more exciting cultural activities.
Check out our Edinburgh 24 hour guide for a wide-variety of exciting activities.
Recently voted as the world's top tourist destination, London needs little introduction. The famous Big Ben, Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park and London Eye are rightly some of the biggest tourist attractions, but London also offers so much more. With a variety of museums, art galleries, markets, festivals and theatrical entertainment, it is arguably the cultural hub of the world. A Stag or Hen do in London is likely to be one of the most unforgettable experiences of your life.
Check out our London 24 hour guide for a wide-variety of exciting activities.
Newcastle is a city unlike any other, ‘ye knaa what ah mean leik?' Nowhere else in the world will you find as many girls clad in next-to-nothing, revealing such (self-) tanned skin, in close to freezing temperatures. It's the party capital of the UK and is as notorious for its brown ale as for its boisterously friendly locals. So while you may need a translator to understand the Geordie accent, you should have no problem catching on to the drinking songs being bellowed from the bar. With all this and so much more, you may feel that Newcastle exists purely to host your ultimate Stag or Hen Night.
Blackpool attracts over 16 million visitors each year, making it the most visited city after London. Known by many as the Las Vegas of the North, it is no wonder that it's also one of the most popular choices for Stag and Hen celebrations. What could be better than soaking up the sun at the country's premier beach resort before exploring Blackpool's thrilling nightlife and its hundreds of watering-holes. Check out the Blackpool Boogie Bus to indulge in all the delights of an unforgettable last night of freedom.