Stag & Hen Destination
There is a problem with some stag and hen party destinations, that you can venture out in the morning and not know quite where you are – and that is not just the effects of the night before’s alcohol! Some sun-drenched spots are hard to tell apart; and a few UK venues have centres seemingly made from one mould. Not so York.
York with the Minster at one end of the scale and its snickelways the other (a recently-minted word for the tiny backstreets and ginnels here) has a very definite character; this city drenched in history has a special feel – from the independent shops on the historic Shambles to the massive Railway Museum.
So that’s a good start then.
Another advantage of York is that as one of our greatest tourist destinations it is set up to cater for visitors. And with its two universities, York and York St John, the population is given a youthful boost in term time.
Of course quite a bit of your stag or hen break won’t actually be spent in the city in all likelihood, the daytime activities held in the surrounding countryside passing the time nicely before the serious cultural investigations of the evening and night begin.
Such activities include the classic wheelie deals – Quads, Karting, 4x4 trekking and a few variations on the same theme like a mini-tank driving course. Your organising company can help arrange those events – and we always recommend using an organiser, as they know who, what, where and how in their centres and can save you a lot of time, mails and phone calls – and potentially save you disappointment too.
If you want to go ballistic you can take out a few of those pesky clay pigeons – if you’ve never tried it, great fun but not anywhere near as easy as it looks. And no stag party (and not too many hen parties these days) would be the same without the ritual that is paintballing. Groom (and bride): wear padded gear. For some reason it has become a tradition to shoot at certain bits that you may hope to make good use of on your honeymoon. Laser tag could be safer. Or you could take it like a dude.
Looking after those bits, and let’s face it the rest of you too, is what you can do with one of the pampering packages – spa, massage, nails, hands, feet... And guys, don’t be afraid to go for it if this appeals more than getting your F1 on. We won’t talk about you.
A sub-genre of the hen party (and again, some guys... well, probably not) is the dance event: York can offer pole, lap, cheerleading, Thriller, show girls, Lady Gaga even. Learn a new skill (and your hubby-to-be could well appreciate the lap dancing thing) and completely coincidentally work up a thirst for the evening.
Ah! the evening. York has some terrific eateries - Spanish, Chinese, Indian, French, gosh even British steakhouse, and about a score of other cultures – with plenty of real quality. Don’t make the rookie error of treating this like it is merely a stage to be got through, a way of lining the stomach. How often do you get the chance to get outside a really fine restaurant meal? Again your organiser can point you in the right direction, but it’s got to be worth a bit of independent investigation in case something they don’t suggest really takes your fancy. Personally I’d go for the Malaysian restaurant Ning, but each to his or her own.
Before you hit the clubs you have time for a relaxing drink or two (or something similar) in one of the smart bars in the city centre. Chill. Sip a cold beer or cooler cocktail; share a nice bottle of chilled white wine with your friends. Breathe for a bit before you hit the dance floors.
And to make things go smoothly do remember to sort your queue-jumping rights and VIP passes to the club of your choice. Let your organiser sort that for you too. Nobody wants to spend an hour or more of the stag- or hen-bash queuing (in the rain).
Then it’s back to your hotel: at the risk of sounding like a recorded message, again this is something where local knowledge helps. Some hotels are to say the least not keen on stag and hen parties, and it is not unknown for livelier guests to be shown the door if they have not come clean about the reason for the stay. Best to leave it to the experts.
But back to the atmosphere of this most beautiful city. Make time to do some shopping; before you go wild, take in the sights with a stroll about the place. It will repay the effort. And then you can feel a tiny bit more self-righteous – before you party. Enjoy.