Daytime activities for London-based Hen/Stag dos

Fed up of the standard stripper and a pub-crawl routine? So are we!! Here's a guide to some of the capital's more sophisticated hen/stag dos

Traditionally, a hen or stag party is a party held for the 'single' person shortly before s/he gets married, so it’s his final chance to engage in activities before entering the more ‘responsible’ world of being a married person. It’s a perfect opportunity to spend time with friends and have a couple of drinks. A lot of hens/stags have historically it seems, chosen to go to a strip club or hire a stripper whilst getting very drunk, but for many people the idea of getting drunk in the company of a stripper is losing its appeal – there are many other, more sophisticated ways to have a hen/stag do in London.

Here are a few sophisticated hen and/or stag do ideas that we have come up with to give you some inspiration.

Jewellery making courses are a new hen party concept. You and your guests will be able to learn how to create your own fabulous jewellery. The jewellery making team will introduce you to crimping, wiring, attaching clasps, dying metal and working with different components, starting with a design concept. Any jewellery you make on the day is yours to take home. Try Claire Aristides

At a chocolate–making workshop you will learn how to make and decorate your own chocolates. Chocolate making workshops are ideal for a hen party - not only are they great fun, they also offer your hen party guests the chance to get hands on as you learn how to make delicious handmade chocolate from the highest quality ingredients. Courses normally last for approximately two hours or more. During that time, you will learn about the origins of chocolate and the process from bean to bar, and discover the art of making Dutch truffles, fudge and praline. You will cut, dip and decorate under a skilled chocolatier’s guidance. Most courses are held at the company’s premises, but some of the courses can also take place at your home.

Some places also serve drinks during the course of the afternoon, whilst with most companies you can create your ideal day as they are open to your suggestions and ideas. We tried My Chocolate in Notting Hill...

Party Pants!
Party Pants is a new and highly entertaining class for hen parties to quite literally 'stitch before they hitch' in a ‘brief’ lesson in knicker making. A photoshoot of all the creations rounds up the class and the best pair of pants goes to the bride to wear on her wedding day!

Funky 80s Hen Parties
Reflex Dance Studios will take you back in time to the most awesome decade of all – the 80s! You and your mates will be transformed into 80s pop stars.

The highlight of the night will be a dance class with ’Dancing with the Stars’ choreographer Giulia Settomini, who will prepare a special dance routine to your favourite 80s tune. The rest of the programme includes makeover, photo-shoot and even 80s male strippers! Read more here: tasting:
If you have ever wondered how the true masters of wine identify different grape varieties, countries of origin as well as bottling years of a wine without seeing the label, you and your guests should try some wine tasting with an expert. You will get an introduction to wine and wine tasting and you’ll be surprised how quickly certain skills can be developed. This is an activity for people who know a lot about wine as well as for novices – wine tasting is a fun way to learn a lot of things about wine, to relax and socialize while having a couple of glasses with your guests. There are lots of options including The Fine Wine Experience who you could call upon to host your wine tasting event.

How about a girlie get together? The perfect idea for a hen day is to go to a spa or health club where you can relax and get pampered before the hen night starts. There are plenty of central places to choose from and most have a swimming pool, saunas, Jacuzzis, cafes and gymnasiums to suit the most energetic or lazy guest at your hen party. Generally there’s also the option to book a beauty treatment to supplement, simply check with the place of your choice. A popular choice, as a starter for ten, is The Sanctuary in Covent Garden.

A more unusual (read exclusive!) idea is to book yourselves into a beauty parlour for the afternoon. You can all sit around, gossip and giggle whilst enjoying tea and cupcakes and being pampered head to toe. Try the gorgeously indulgent Lost in Beauty in Primrose Hill.

Cocktail classes:
Cocktail classes are a popular option for hen days as well as stag days. Not only is it a great, fun experience, but you’ll also learn the tricks and secrets of the cocktail trade and you go home with a fantastic new skill, after – like every good chef- having tasted your creations. Workshops normally last for about two hours and they’re the perfect preparation for evening activities later on.

Afternoon tea at the Ritz:
London is a great place to have your hen/stag day – why not spend some time at London’s most famous hotel, the Ritz, for a quintessentially British experience, afternoon tea? Although the Ritz has a no jeans and trainers policy (so you can expect everyone to be smartly dressed), this doesn’t affect the relaxing atmosphere. Since afternoon tea at the Ritz is so popular there are three sittings, and reservations especially at the weekend, are essential.

For a price of £45 until the end of March 2014 and then £47 per person thereafter, you will get beautiful sandwiches with fillings including classics such as smoked salmon, chicken and mayonnaise and cucumber with cream cheese, raisin and apple scones with Devonshire clotted cream, fruits compote and strawberry preserve. There also are cream cakes and patisseries like coffee eclairs, chocolate millefeuilles and mini fruit tarts.

Fun Parks:
Fun Parks are perfect for hen and stag do’s - they’re full of extremely enjoyable, high adrenaline rides (and for the less adventurous there’s always a merry-go-round). There are a few near the capital including Thorpe Park which is just outside in Surrey and is easily accessible.

Bungee Jumping:
That is your chance to get the rush of a lifetime! You throw yourself into the air, up with only a bungee jumping cord attached, rushing to the ground at 60mph. Bungee jumping is a great option for both hen and stag do’s, for all those who need a little bit of extra adrenaline – this certainly is an experience you and your guests will not forget in a hurry! The Bungee Club offer jumps in Windsor/Dachett just outside London (easy train ride from Waterloo).

Burlesque dancing lessons:
Burlesque dancing has become increasingly popular and in vogue of late and Burlesque classes are perfect for a fun hen party activity. Burlesque dancing combines the art of seduction with 1930’s / 1940’s Hollywood fashion. Since many high street stores even sell burlesque style fashion, you can easily create the look. You will be given advice on how to create your own burlesque style and how to express yourself with confidence. Most companies will have all the stuff you need to feel like a real burlesque dancer - and the best thing is that all the boas, gloves, stockings and so on come with a lesson on how use them in your dancing. Everything will be orientated around your tastes, so you have the option to decide how best to spend your classes - try The Burlesque Factory for some ideas.

Pole-dancing lessons:
Since the likes of Sadie Frost and Kate Moss took up the art, pole-dancing has also enjoyed a resurgance in popularity and classes have become a popular choice for even the most discerning group of hens. Classes are generally held in rooms which are solely yours for the class so that you have total privacy. Although learning how to swing your body around the pole isn’t the easiest thing in the world, you are guaranteed to have a great time trying to do just that. Many companies also offer special deals for your activities afterwards, whether you’d like to have a meal, indulge yourselves in some pampering or dance the night away at a club, sometimes even free entry. We like the hen party classes offered by Pole People.

Thames RIB Experience
Thames RIB Experience is the newest & most exciting high speed boat trip in the heart of the Capital. As well as receiving a wealth of knowledge and humour from our experienced guides, just past Tower where the River Thames opens up, hold onto the grab rails as the 490 hp turbo charged engines take over and enjoy a white knuckle rollercoaster ride that all the family can enjoy. Ultimate James Bond Experience now on ALL trips. Listen to Bond music whilst travelling at high speed and get to see MI5 from the water and experience an exhilarating turn in front of MI6.Cookery classes:
Cooking with family or friends is a perfect way to socialize and relax. At a cookery class, you’ll spend an afternoon with your guests learning how to create a fabulous meal. These classes are normally perfect for groups of 8 to 15 people. You will learn all the tricks and secrets that the professional chef leading you has acquired, and you will be able to improve your ability in the kitchen in a fun atmosphere. After all the cooking, you can sit down with a glass of wine and enjoy your meal that you have been slaving over! Try The Cookery School at Little Portland Street for some ideas on what's on offer.

Karting/quad biking:
A stag day can be the perfect excuse to behave like big kids-therefore karting (as well as quad biking) is one of the most popular stag activities. It’s fast, frenetic, and funny and the two-pedal principal is so simple to understand that every single one of your guests will be able to enjoy themselves. The Quad Safari centre is within easy reach of London and offers some great packages.

Paintball is guaranteed to hurt, participants will ineveitably get pretty mucky and it will make you sweat, so carefully consider whether this is something that all the stags (or hens!) will enjoy. Having said that, it remains a really popular option for stag days as well as hen days (believe it or not!). There’ll be plenty of competitive, adrenaline-fuelled action during teh game of which there are several different types available.

How about a bit of low-risk, immensely exciting fun in a casino? You don’t have to be betting the equivalent of a villa on the spin of a roulette wheel, since the magic atmosphere of a casino is not about how much money you bet, but about being in this certain environment, around those who are doing just that. While the rich can take the risks you can simply enjoy yourself watching them–although you can join in any time in case you’re one of the more adventurous. The atmosphere, the thrill, maybe some nice food and some drinks at the bar and you have a classic, yet adrenaline fuelled, fun option for a hen or stag do..Here is a list of the Casinos that we have listed on All In London.

Dog racing:
A day out at the dog track is fantastic way to get into the party spirit. And if you place the right bets and you might win some money you can spend on drinks later on. A day at the Greyhound Stadium for example normally includes admission into the stadium, a race card, a basket meal, a free drink and one free bet. The doors are normally open from 6.30pm; the first race starts at 7.30pm, and the last race is around 10.30pm. Right here in London we have the famous Wimbledon Track and Walthomstow Track to choose from.

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