Feb 23

Probably the best hen party…ever


Is it possible to organise an amazing yet affordable hen party weekend?

As yet another invite to hen party in Prague arrived I was getting just a little bit short of cash and excitement.  With my own wedding planned I wanted my hen party to be fun, memorable and yet without leaving my mates broke and resentful!

Firstly, I wanted to be together for a whole weekend, without being losing the Friday and Sunday evenings to sitting in airports.  Why be getting stressed about check-in, when we could already be relaxing with a glass of wine and catching up on the gossip?  So I wanted somewhere gorgeous but easy to reach.  With friends scattered across the UK the Peak District, in the middle of England, was an obvious central choice.  My mind then turned to creating a weekend of magical memories.  How to create the perfect mix of action v relaxation, choice v togetherness, whilst not expecting the girls, with their various financial situations, lay out too much money?

I’d been on hen weekends which were so action packed, I’d never really got to spend any time with the hen!

So, my solution….?

Gather in Party Houses Chels Barn on Friday afternoon/early evening.  Some of the girls took the whole day off work and met for lunch at a local pub then enjoying a glorious Peak District walk in Dovedale before arriving at Chels Barn about 4m.  I arrived with the essentials and breakfast food, my chief bridesmaid brought the ingredients for a big ‘one pot’ supper and everyone else brought the wine!

As Chels Barn is situated inthe beautiful Staffordshire Moorlands, it really was easy to reach, se even my Southern mates who had to work on the Friday arrived by 8pm.  By then we had settled in, had great fun collectively cooking supper and started on the wine and the gossip.

It was such a relaxed atmosphere we chatted and laughed into the wee small hours.  Someone had brought a board game, but we never drew breath long enough to play it.  We did put on some 80’s tunes and danced with abandon (no need to worry about being in a club and what everyone else thought about you!). Of course, as we’d brought our own drinks there were no huge bar bills to pay either.

I had planned a range of activities for the Saturday afternoon. The Party Houses website is fantastic and made my job so easy.  With so many options, from action packed adventures such as zorbing or riding from the highest village in England, to loads of places to visit (Alton Towers or Chatsworth anyone?) to gentle activities such as walks right from the door and lovely local tearooms.

Those in our group feeling adventurous left for a rock climbing lesson on The Roaches rocks!  Others choose to spend the afternoon either just mooching around the pretty local towns of Leek (great for antiques and independent shops and Buxton (with its lovely architecture), the final group went for an afternoon making chocolates.  Because Chels Barn has a key code entry system, we didn’t have to worry about who had the keys and who got back first.  A little detail, but it really added to the ease of the weekend.

We regrouped to prepare for the evening.  There had been some debate before arrival on whether to get a Chef in to cater or whether to invite in a Murder Mystery team for the evening.  We plumped for the Chef, together with ‘Dress to Impress’ attire.  So we had a fun time getting our glad rags on and having a pre dinner glass of fizz (and some of those lovely handmade chocolates!).  Chef David Wakefield for the Dinner Party Company arrived with waitresses who served us a fantastic three course meal plus coffee, and they even washed up.  We sat around one large table and laughed and laughed as we shared joint memories.  At just £25 a head, no restaurant prices for te wine and no cab fares home – it was brilliant value to be treated like royalty.

Sunday morning, the sun shone brightly and we used the maps and directions for local walks provided to enjoy the fresh air and views before a big pub lunch.  Feeling refreshed, we headed back to Chels Barn for our final treat.  Beauty therapists from My Personal Sanctuary arrived, with candles, towels, massage beds and wonderful treatment products. We had previously chosen our treatments, from simple manicures, to luxury facials or full body massage (or for some of the girls – all three!).  Heaven!

Our final evening was spent playing that board game (and discovering some secrets about each other we hadn’t known).

Everyone agreed it had been the best hen party they had ever attended.