1 Mar

(Hen) do it differently

From crafting your own wedding flowers to floating down the River Thames in a hot tub – Surrey is choc-full of fabulous and unique hen do ideas. Cora Lydon rounds up some of the best and a couple that are further afield.

Best for … Nature Lovers

If the bride-to-be’s footwear of choice is more wellies than Louboutin why not round up the hens for a spot of conservation work with Surrey Wildlife Trust. Across the county there are more than 80 sites needing volunteers to do anything from the traditional skill of coppicing to clearing scrubland. During the work party you’ll be working from 10am through to late afternoon under the watchful eye of a ranger – and can pack up a special picnic for lunch complete with Champagne.

To book:surreywildlifetrust.org; 01483 795440

Best for … Foreign Jaunts

What better way to celebrate a bride-to-be’s final weeks of freedom than gathering all of her friends and jetting off to somewhere abroad. An up and coming hen destination is Riga in Latvia, which is gaining popularity for its colourful mix of culture and party nightlife. By day you can take in the world-famous gallery or visit the bustling Central Market and by night head for the Terrace Riga – an al fresco beach-club style venue where you can really get the party started.

To book: Whizz Air, Ryanair and BA all fly to Riga.
Visit: latvia.travel/en 

Best for … Party Lovers

For a spot of nostalgia you’ll be hard pressed to find something more fun than a Girls’ Night in the 80s at the Brooklands Hotel in Weybridge. In your room you’ll find a set of crimpers plus a selection of classic movie hits from the decade, an interactive DVD game to test your knowledge of all things 80s, retro penny sweets and a Polaroid camera with 10 complimentary prints. Plus you will each enjoy a 25-minute manicure or pedicure. To spice up the hen do add extras like a hot tub with Prosecco, 80s Karaoke or a cocktail masterclass.

To book: brooklandshotelsurrey.com; 01932 335710; reservations@brooklandshotelsurrey.com

Best for … Crafty Types

If you’re craving something classier than ‘L’ plates and male strippers it’s time to get the creative juices flowing with a The Crafty Hen session. The Bride and her Hens can craft some beautiful wedding day keepsakes, from bunting and painted tea sets to tiaras and memory books. The mobile service can come to you at the location of your choice or it also works with a range of selected venues across the UK. It promises to be a unique and productive hen do experience.

To book: thecraftyhen.co.uk, 0117 954 8002

Best for … Active Types

So a warehouse in North London doesn’t sound like the most glamorous spot for hens to celebrate – but when you step inside you’ll be transported to the set of 90s cult TV viewing The Crystal Maze. The hens will don fetching bomber jackets and be tested in a series of mental and physical challenges. And of course there’s always the threat of a lock-in if you fail a game. Trainers are a must, as you’ll be running around the maze between zones shepherded by a guide in character.

To book: the-crystal-maze.com; info@the-crystal-maze.com 

Best for … Small Groups

The hottest ride of the year is all ready to welcome hen groups in Surrey – and the dress code is swimwear. The Runnymede-on-Thames hotel’s newest addition is the UK’s only HotTug – a floating hot tub that can be enjoyed as you cruise along the River Thames. The HotTug uses a wood-burning stove to keep up to six bathers warm whatever the weather, and the vessel can be used as a self-drive boat, a self-drive hot tub or a floating hot tub moored on the Runnymede-on-Thames’ spot in Egham.

To book:therunnymede.co.uk; 01784 220600; info@therunnymede.com

Best for … Boozy Fun

Sample the best that Surrey has to offer in the way of ales and lagers with a tour of the famous Hogs Back Brewery. Housed in the original 18th century farm buildings, the brewery makes for a fun way to kick-start a hen do. Under the expert eye of one of the Hogs Back’s tour guides you’ll get to learn how it brews its award-winning beer. A generous range of the beers are available for sampling, you’ll get to explore the hop garden, collect your free Hogs Back half pint glass and make a stop in the brewery shop. Tours last approx an hour and three quarters.

To book: hogsback.co.uk; 01252 784495