Stag & Hen Destination
Contrary to the movie Robin Hood Prince of Thieves Nottingham is not a short walk from Dover (nor from Hadrian’s Wall). But it is one of the easiest cities in the UK to access, pretty much central and with the M1 running right by, mainline trains serving it, and even East Midlands Airport no great distance away.
With an event as special as a stag or hen party, however, you need reasons other than good transport links to plump for a venue. Nottingham can give you plenty. For a start, though one of the top 10 most populous cities in the UK it is very compact, with the great nightlife centres of The Lace Market and Hockley adjacent to one another. Then there are the opinions of some pretty big names who rate the place highly – the New York Times and travel guide publishers Dorling Kindersley among recent converts. And thirdly there is that indefinable quality of ambience, here blended from the history – Robin and the Sheriff again – the architecture - which happily includes some truly ancient inns one of which has a good claim to be Britain’s oldest, and the large student population bringing with it a wide range of pubs and clubs.
For the stags there is another attraction, the oft-cited imbalance in the population where depending on whom you believe there are two or three women of um, danceable age for every man. Don’t bank on it though, other stags, studes and dudes have heard the same thing and at the weekend it is a fair bet you’ll estimate the balance at even.
We’d offer one other major advantage for Nottingham. Of all the major stag and hen venues in the UK it seems to enjoy the widest range of daytime activities. Diverse, fun, different, with all of the ones you’ll have seen elsewhere and a few more besides. True you’ll only be able to fit one or two – at most three – of them into your hectic schedule of humiliating and titillating the groom/bride, enjoying a small glass of something restorative, and laughing yourselves silly, but it’s good to try new stuff.
All of the classic stag and hen activities are to be found in Nottingham, though some have a twist. Take the time-honoured option of getting behind the wheel of some very different vehicles. Along with quad bikes (which are always good value), karting indoors and out-, segways and mud buggies you’ll find some odder choices: driving a two-ended car (great for bonding in the group), or controlling a 4x4 blindfold for example; or going one (well, four) better and taking to an 8x8 Argocat; or foregoing the wheels maybe a hovercraft floats your, er, boat as it were. If the testosterone is pumping you may fancy piloting a tank, or a mini-monster truck.
In the home of the National Watersports Centre it would be a surprise not to find waterborne activities featuring on the menu: power boats, white-water rafting, and water-skiing are just three of the possibilities, though maybe something gentler would take your fancy, like a party afloat.
Should you wish to eschew the vehicles and craft there are again lots of ways to get your party bonding: Zorbing, zip-wires, assault courses, tight-rope walking and abseiling should challenge you. If ballistic stuff appeals then along with the clay-pigeon shooting you have archery (it’s Nottingham), and even crossbow-shooting. Plus paintball, laser tag (legen- - wait-for-it - dary), and Quasar. We’re eight again and we don’t care. Pyaow, pyaow.
To balance out all that frenetic activity there is the rather more restrained – if learning to lap-dance, cheer-lead, belly-dance, and can-can... can be called restrained. Make a CD with your friends; have a big-time makeover; visit the greyhounds; do some tutored wine-tasting or learn to prepare sushi. And as Nottingham is rated sixth biggest retail centre in the UK there is shopping till you’re dropping as an alternative.
Though plenty of stags and hens enjoy the basic pleasures of the pub crawl on their evening out, you can play tunes on that with clubs – organising companies are great at getting the tickets sorted, avoiding queues, booking limos or buses and even arranging VIP packages – including comedy and flesh-flashing for both sexes, and the simple joys of the table – Mexican, Italian, French... and medieval naturally (all venison guaranteed stalked by Little John, honest).
A good stag or hen do is always about more than just drinking. In Nottingham there’s seemingly just more of that more.
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