It’s that time of year when 1. everyone is researching holidays and 2. newly engaged couples are starting their wedding planning, so I bring to you my list of the hottest hen party destinations, first published in The Irish Bride Guide by Xposé Mag.
Win all the prizes for best bridesmaid by booking one of these unforgettable breaks in Ireland or abroad.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]
[dt_gap height=”10″ /]Adventure and relaxation
For the ultimate blend of adventure and pampering in Ireland, Delphi Adventure Resort has expertly managed to combine the two, making it the perfect hen destination for fun loving groups of girls.
Surrounded by the stunning scenery of Connemara’s mountainous and coastal backdrop, choose either budget or luxury accommodation that best suits your groups needs. You can spend the morning practicing yoga, abseiling from the 64ft Delphi towers, zip lining in the forest or go out kayaking on the wild Atlantic before chilling in the jacuzzi in the thermal suite while treating the bride to be to a relaxing massage or indulging in your own spa treatment. At night, meet up for cocktails in the bar and enjoy seafood caught fresh in the Killary fjord.
Packages from €99pp for one night B&B in value accommodation including a pre-dinner cocktail, 3-course meal and activity or spa treatment. Upgrade to 4* accommodation for two nights plus extra activities and treatments from €209pp. Alternatively, build your own bespoke hen. Bride-to-be goes free with parties of ten or more. See delphiadventureresort.com[dt_gap height=”10″ /]
[dt_gap height=”10″ /]Festival Vibes
Indiependence Festival 29th-31st July 2016 Mitchelstown, Cork
Indiependence has one of the most friendly vibes of all Irish festivals. Loads of first-time festival goers have chosen Indie as the place to have their first festival experience over the last ten years, and most of those end up returning. It’s ideal for groups, as the site is relatively small and it’s hard to lose anyone. The campsite is also right next door to the arena, so there are no long hikes involved. It’s a pretty easy going festival experience. 3-day camping tickets €119, see indiependencefestival.com[dt_gap height=”10″ /]
[dt_gap height=”10″ /]And away…
Hop on the ferry to Holyhead and drive over to Portmeirion, a picturesque Italiante village in Wales which plays host to a truly different festival experience. The bespoke, boutique gathering feels really surreal. You’re surrounded by Mediterranean architecture and sub-tropical vegetation, exotic woods and a sandy shore…every corner you turn there’s something new and awe-inspiring to see. The curated crowd can be described as more refined, with arts, comedy and gourmet food and drink drawing people to this very unique weekend. the daily s’elf reader, Brighde Barnes celebrated her own hen at the festival and said it was “the best weekend ever, Portmeirion is a dreamland, I definitely this it’s one of the hottest hen party destinations.”
Visit festivalnumber6.com for tickets, line up and accommodation options.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]
[dt_gap height=”10″ /]Night out in the city
Bring the party to Lillie’s Laboratory in Dublin, Ireland’s first nightclub micro-distillery, where you’ll spend two hours creating your own flavoured gin or vodka guided by the expert team, as well as some sampling of course. For parties of ten or more, your senses will be guided across carefully selected fresh fruits and berries, foraged botanicals and dried fruits infused in neutral spirits by Lillie’s Laboratory. Their mixologists will help you design your own personal combination of Lillie’s Bathtub Gin or Vodka. Having perfected your own custom concoction, enjoy the fruits of their labour and conjure up a couple of bespoke cocktails. The bride-to-be will receive a 500ml hand waxed bottle, personalised with her name.
The Lillie’s Laboratory unique experience costs €25 per person with a minimum booking of 6 people with times available during both day and night. [dt_gap height=”10″ /]
[dt_gap height=”10″ /]Fun in the sun
If the budget is bringing you abroad, what better way to spend a week of debauchery than on a yacht floating on the Adriatic in Croatia? Round up the troops and set sail with Life Before Work Travel on one of their ‘YachtLife’ trips which sees you travel the seas for seven nights of fun and frolics never to be forgotten. Sail to stunning locations from Split and Vis, to Hvar with the sun on your face, wind in your hair and cold beer in hand.
Private DJ sessions on the boat, beach parties, games of beer pong and trying to limbo will take all the organising work out of your hen trip, plus there are theme nights too for dressing up. Opt for extras like a BBQ, buggy safari, waterfall day trip or go for the ultimate add on with tickets to Ultra Music Festival, a 3-day long extravaganza with big name DJs like Tiesto and David Guetta and average temperatures of 30 degrees, you won’t need to worry about wellies.
See lbwtravel.com or read my first hand experience of island hopping in Croatia, plus 6 reasons your next holiday should be on a boat.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]
[dt_gap height=”10″ /]How to Organise the Perfect Hen
Being responsible for planning the perfect party to send the bride-to-be off can be stressful, but follow these guidelines and you won’t go too far wrong
- Budget: It’s really important to bear in mind how much people can afford and what they’re prepared to spend. Consider the total cost and provide a breakdown so everything is transparent and everyone can see where their hard earned cash is being spent
- Duration: Week-long or leisurely lunch? We don’t all have the same amount of spare time with work and family commitments varying wildly within a group, so it’s no harm in throwing out some dates and durations to see what suits before deciding how long the hen will last
- Location: Home or away? Some people love the idea of combining a hen party with a holiday and see is as a great opportunity to get away, while others consider it a bit much to ask of guests. Gauge the group before making any decisions, sometimes it’s best to do a bit of both to keep everyone happy; a long weekend in the sun for those who can and want to then a night out closer to home for anyone who couldn’t get away.
- Invite list: You might need to tie-in with the hen herself to make sure you’re not missing anyone that isn’t in your close group of friends. Ask if family should be included too, or perhaps they’re having their own low-key celebration themselves.
- Activities: While you need to make sure you’re maybe ticking some stuff off the bride’s bucket list, remember the interests of the group as a whole. For example, wine tasting might not be the best choice when some people don’t drink or one of the guests is pregnant. The party is for the hen, but should be a celebration of a group of friends together, so keep that in mind when choosing what to do.
- Themes: This one is more about what the queen bee likes, steer clear of anything tacky if she’s never expressed any interest in ‘L’ plates or penis paraphernalia before! If there’s a dress code, make it quite general so that it’s affordable and easy for everyone to get involved or add a little extra to the budget to buy accessories.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]
[dt_gap height=”10″ /]All prices for the hottest hen party destinations were correct at time of going to press.