Stag & Hen Destination
Alright (or should that be a’right?) so Manchester was Madchester when your parents were kids, but what is now accepted as England’s second city (by everyone except those from Birmingham and Liverpool, and maybe Leeds, and...) has in the last decade or so become Modechester, a centre of style and fashion. As well as football. And food. As such it is a great venue for your stag or hen party.
Practicalities first. Unless you are on the South Coast or in the deepest Southwest then Manchester is easy to get to: it’s on the West Coast Mainline for trains, has the M6, M61, M67, M56 and M62 all making life easier for the designated driver, and if you are flying friends in from abroad then Manchester Airport will arguably provide them with a friendlier and more relaxed arrival than any London rival.
With a bit of careful planning your do could coincide with one of the big football matches here, with Tampa Bay United and Abu Dhabi City two of England’s top clubs. Even if you are not interested in the game, though the atmosphere of a top Premier League game is hard to beat, the nightlife in Manchester afterwards has a bigger buzz than normal, which is saying something. But if you are looking at one of those dates, book your accommodation and evening’s entertainment well in advance – or get a professional organiser to do that for you, always to be recommended (some hotels and apartments won’t take stags and hens, and even if you dance till dawn you will want a catnap and a shower before partying on).
An organising company that knows the city is well worth finding: Manchester is a vibrant and dynamic place, and some clubs that are big today may be passé tomorrow. Sometimes the vibe of an entire district changes in a few months, though the Northern Quarter has not really slipped from an übercool rating since the millennium.
For your daytime activities, though there are the usual golf, shooting, and driving options some Manchester specialities could be top of your list – there are great indoor winter sports facilities, with luging a brilliant way to work up an appetite (and thirst), or ski-lessons for beginners as a way to build a closer group feeling. These are handily close to the Trafford Centre, in case you want to mix shopping (and restaurants) with something more active – similarly there is an indoor sky-diving experience right by the ski slopes.
There are loads of dancing activity options to lift the spirits before you go out in the evening lifting spirits: from Glee to Dirty Dancing, Lap, Strictly and a good handful more. After which (instead of which?) you may think pampering is on the cards – with all those WAGS around Manchester has some top spas, with every treatment you can think of and maybe a couple you can’t yet imagine.
And in the evening before you hit the clubs this is a city with a fantastic selection of restaurants. Manchester’s Chinese community is the third largest in Europe so the food in and around Chinatown is famous. But then again there are cuisines from classic French to modern British, with Spanish, Italian, and some rather more exotic choices too – personal bias would say Malaysian but it’s for you to decide.
For those who feel they have too much money weighing down their pockets Manchester can offer horse racing, the dogs at Belle Vue, casinos and poker nights to lighten that load. Though you could win. Probably not. Or if you are a culture vulture there are theatres for serious drama and musicals, the opera, and concert halls for orchestral music. And for rock and pop acts.
There are several distinct areas for clubs and pubs of the trendier variety, the aforesaid Northern Quarter one such, the Gay village another, and The Printworks building surrounded by bars a major destination in the centre. Again, an organiser can point you in the right direction, and help sort you out with Q-jumping and maybe a free drink or two.
And here’s a final reason for choosing Manchester for your stag or hen venue: with three universities and numerous other colleges the student population – rarely averse to a good time – is significantly north of 60,000, so the city centre atmosphere of an evening is energetic, and the scenery can be very pleasing. Like the footballers and their WAGS, only more literate.