Stag & Hen Destination
Whisper it gently so as not to put too many others onto the thing, but Sheffield, though it may not spring immediately to mind as a venue for stag and hen parties (probably hen and stag parties is a bit more accurate btw) is actually a brilliant city in which to hold such events.
Putting hens before stags as regards Steel City is not just because of The Full Monty, though it is just possible some hen parties may be interested in seeing some muscular local dancers perform (just as tags could be taken with the idea of popping in briefly to a lap dancing club). Sheffield is also a top spot for hens because of the fantastic shopping – there is the massive Meadowhall Mall that could occupy the shopaholic for several days, and a characterful city centre with loads of independent stores, nice little cafes and eateries, and a great vibe.
That city centre vibe will appeal to hens and stags alike. Thanks to a student population north of 50,000 there is no shortage of bars, clubs, and sensibly priced places to eat. The music scene, partly fuelled by that same student market, is great here too: along with the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Pulp there has also for a decade and more been a focus on dance music in the capital of the people’s republic of South Yorkshire.
Adding to the youthful studenty feel of the centre are the many sporting types who live and train in Sheffield, which over the last maybe 20 years has become one of the major centres for elite sport in Britain. And though these athletes won’t (or shouldn’t) hit the booze of an evening, they may well hit the clubs. Keep the bride and groom under control (though single friends are free to go on the prowl...).
So, shopping for something new or blue, maybe a new outfit, bars, restaurants and clubs clustered in the centre, that’s a good part of the weekend sorted. But what about activities? Again, the sporting facilities can come into play here, but so too does Sheffield’s location, with the Peak District on its southern and western doorsteps, and plenty of other fine stretches of countryside within easy reach.
Hens can choose to stretch their muscles in a nice warm gym or studio, learning how to do Dirty Dancing, or Burlesque (dirtier), or Pole Dancing (probably dirtiest). Think of it as a present for the groom if you want – another way to put a smile on his face on honeymoon.
Rather gentler pursuits could offer a contrast – perfume making, cocktail shaking, and, one with a great local reputation, wine tasting (with chocolate tasting thrown in if you fancy that, and who wouldn’t?).
Likely to appeal to both sexes are the fun-on-wheels options, whether that be a karting session, buggies and quad-biking in the hills, or one to tickle the ribs this, micro quads.
It has become almost a folk custom for stags, and some hens, to indulge in a paintball session, and Sheffield naturally can offer that. There is something almost ritualistic about shooting the groom, who would be well advised to bring a cricket box to this engagement. Dodgeball is a variation on that theme too, another activity on offer in Steel City.
Surrounded by such fine countryside there is no surprise that Sheffield (which is also one of the UK’s greenest cities by the way) can offer a tailored golf package too, rather more civilised (and safer) than paintball, though maybe not quite as adrenaline-packed.
If you are sporting-minded but not sporting–bodied, perhaps a flutter on the dog races à la Lord Ickenham, or a plunge on the gaming tables à la Lord Lucan, will be more to your liking. But as ever, don’t bet the honeymoon money!
As we would always recommend, at least think about using an organiser. They can find you accommodation that will welcome stags and hens, rather than reject you; and can arrange all the activities with expert companies used to helping people have a good time. And they will also have a local presence able to direct you towards the best bars, pubs and clubs, and do deals with the restaurants (Mexican, Asian, Fusion, Italian, Cuban... there is no lack of choice in the city), and at those clubs get you queue-jumping VIP passes and maybe even a sneaky beverage.
If you haven’t been to Sheffield before you’ll be surprised at the great feel the place has these days, and at the often funky urban architecture blending with the best of its Victorian heritage. And if you are already familiar with the city, why are you reading this? you know it’s a cool venue for your party. Enjoy.