Stag & Hen Destination
Asking what there is on offer for stags and hens in London is a bit like the ‘What have the Romans done for us?’ thing. Apart from the incredible variety of cool bars and clubs, perhaps the world’s best selection of restaurants, the greatest range of fun activities, the finest shopping on the planet and awesome surroundings historic and contemporary, what has London got going for it?
It would possibly be easier – and far shorter - to list stuff that you can’t get in London, but from your planning point of view that might not be 100 per cent helpful. So let’s begin with the geography 101.
London’s population is officially a little over 8,000,000. Unofficially you can add significantly to that with those not supposed to be there, and the army of commuters arriving from outside daily. Recent discoveries show that the settlement has been there for more than 6000 years. It has an area of 611 square miles, and is divided into 32 boroughs and the City of London.
That’s a lot of people to keep fed, watered and amused, so no wonder the capital is pretty much Europe’s party city. Another reason for that is that it is easy to get to – by train from anywhere in the UK and Europe; by air likewise with Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and City airports all easy options; by coach; and (though the congestion charge can complicate matters) by car.
But let us focus on fun. Take the bars. There are achingly cool on-trend ultra-contemporary places where last week’s shoes are frowned upon. And there are bars that have been around since Adam was a lad, all worn-wooden floors and gilt mirrors. In between you will find karaoke bars, chic cocktail places, cabarets, comedy bars, jazz bars, rooftop joints with views over the vibrant cityscape, gastro pubs, posh burger places, sports bars, French cafes and South American cantinas, and that is just for starters.
Same with the clubs: if you can’t find a club in London that suits your taste then you may need to think about your taste. How about super-cheesy disco era, where you can dance around your handbags to the sounds of Abba, Georgio Moroder and The Average White Band? Or something a tad more Now, where the music is defined by one permutation made from one or several of the words electro, techno, house, garage, urban, R&B and sponge (lied about the last one).
As for shopping – and this is a unisex sport – choose from the most established of arcades like The Burlington, to the newest malls and those quirky little backstreet stores that one day will be household names in fashion. Gape at the superb suits in Savile Row; the jewellers of Hatton Garden; the everything of the King’s Road, Oxford Street and much of Mayfair.
You don’t need to do everything at a million miles an hour in this city either, the River Thames at its heart offering a sedate way to enjoy the sights with a glass in hand, maybe even a DJ or a band on deck, or a plate of something restorative in front of you.
And talking of sights, it would not be beyond the scope of any good organiser – and as ever we recommend you use one, save yourself hassle and tears – to arrange a guided tour, maybe on a double decker, for your party. Buckingham Palace, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Hyde Park, Saint Paul’s, The Tower of London, and all those other places that you should visit at least once in your life but even Londoners often don’t get around to.
With careful timing, or just a tiny bit of luck, you can coordinate your party with one of the multitude of major events in this city that barely dozes let alone never sleeps (though you will have to, which means finding suitable accommodation - again it helps to have an in-the-know organiser). There will almost certainly be a major festival of some sort going on – sporting, musical, dramatic or whatever – during your stay. Barring acts of god the West End will be full of musicals. Depending on the time of year there will be big football matches, international cricket, American football, or something else where other people do the sweating for you. Obviously tickets have to be obtained, but that yet again could be down to the organiser.
If you must have daytime activities then the classics of karting, laser tag, paintball and dance classes are all there. But this is a city where maybe you will want to do the different rather than the usual. Enjoy.