The Handbook has had a few good friends get married this summer and so of course we’ve been to the various hen nights, weekends and even holidays to celebrate with the blushing bride to be. So taking experiences from each event, we thought we’d round up The Handbook’s ultimate hen weekend, including bars, restaurants, hotels and even the odd fitness class – any Maid-of-Honours-to-be, take note!
What: Pre-dinner cocktails
Why: Start off the hen weekend in the heart of Soho, a great central location for hens to congregate post-work. From cocktail master Tony Coniglaro, Bar Termini is a great little coffee and cocktail spot to enjoy a quick pre-dinner drink. The Bellini, made with peach puree, almond blossom and prosecco, is an elegant tipple of choice, while the Negroni – available Superiore, Rosato or Classico – is the bar’s signature serve.
Where: 7 Old Compton Street, Soho, W1D 5JE
Mele e Pere
What: Dinner and drinks
Why: A short stroll from the bar, is Mele e Pere, a small Italian restaurant on Brewer Street serving killer Negronis and LOTS of prosecco. They offer two set menu options for large parties, which controls costs and helps when it comes to splitting the bill! For £35 per head you’ll be spoiled with five sharing plates to start – think white truffle goat’s cheese bruschetta, roast pumpkin and balsamic and San Daniele ham with gnocci fritti – an indulgent choice of main courses, from roast fillet of sea bass to Charcoal-grilled Surrey Farm rib-eye steak, and homemade dessert.
Where: 46 Brewer Street, Soho, W1F 9TF
Ham Yard Hotel
What: A (very luxurious) room for the night
Why: Avoid travelling home individually and stay central at Ham Yard Hotel in Soho. With an urban village feel, the hotel revolves around a tree-filled garden and boasts 91 individually designed bedrooms and suites. For a real girly experience, go four to a room in one of the hotel’s two bedroom suites, which offer a separate living room, dining area, powder room and sleek kitchen, not to mention marble and oak bathrooms with double basins and a deep, relaxing bathtub. You’ll also get a bottle of champagne on arrival – the perfect celebratory tipple to end night one of the weekend!
Where: 1 Ham Yard, Soho, W1D 7DT
What: Spinning with a Spin
Why: Take the party to the spin studio at 1 Rebel, where they mix high intensity spinning sessions with live entertainment from internationally acclaimed DJs. With either a 30 or 45-minute ride, the class won’t take up your whole day but will burn last nights alcohol out of your system, so you’re ready for whatever the weekend throws at you. The changing rooms are stocked with top-end grooming and skincare brands, so you’ll be photo-ready from the studio to the show (see below).
Where: 63 St Mary Axe, City of London, EC3A 8LE
What: Theatre of ‘varieties’
Why: The Handbook recommends popping back to the hotel between spin and show, if anything for an afternoon nap before the evening’s events but also to get your ‘gladrags’ on before heading to The Box a short stroll away in Soho. It opens the doors at 11pm with the first show or several starting around 1am. Tuck into burgers and fries to keep your energy levels up as you dance the night away in this alternative and very exclusive London venue.
Where: 11 – 12 Walker’s Court, Soho, W1F 0SD
What: All natural brunch
Why: The name alone makes Farm Girl the perfect place for a group of hens to head for brunch. The Portobello Road eatery values fresh, nutritionally nurturing ingredients and serves them in warm, welcoming scenery; the perfect place to start a day of pampering and indulgence (and recover from the night before!). Go for brunch and tuck into the Berry pancakes, made with homemade buckwheat mix, amber maple syrup and coconut shavings. Coffee is by The Roasting Party – try the lavender latte and coconut drip for something different – or opt for a nourishing Velvet Cacao smoothie with banana, cacao nibs, cinnamon, rose petals and coconut milk and oil.
Where: 99a Portobello Road, Notting Hill, W11 3DB
What: Pretty Parties
Why: Next for a spot of pampering. Cowshed offers ‘Pretty Party’ packages, which vary from spa to spa – try Primrose Hill’s outpost, which can host between 12 and 15 hens. Parties start at 4pm on a Sunday and begin with a welcome drink before you’re seated in one of their luxe leather armchairs and treated to two of their pretty party treatments; choose out of a manicure, pedicure, facial and back massage. More delicious drinks and nibbles are served throughout so you and the bride feel utterly pampered from start to finish. And to top it off, you get a Cowshed goody bag to take home.
Where: 115 – 117 Regents Park Road, Primrose Hill, NW1 8UR