This time two weeks ago I was checking out of the most wonderful apartments at Cheval Three Quays. These beautiful serviced apartments were where I, and a party of my besties celebrated my brilliantly chic hen do in London.
For the hope of avoiding any L-Plates or strippers, I insisted on organising my own hen do. I wasn’t being a bore, I was up for some fun, I just didn’t want it to be TOO cheesy.
I didn’t want to be that girl, being arm lifted into a taxi, with a red wine stained veil falling from my head, L-Plates stuck to the bottom of my shoe and murmuring ‘I Love you’ to every stranger that passed me. I just wanted to have a wonderful night out in London to remember.
If you’re looking to organise a chic hen do in London it can be a daunting task. First of all, if you don’t live in the capital, it can feel like there are way too many places to choose from and so many things to consider: How do we get from A to B? How many activities can we pack into one day? How much should we put aside for the budget? Where should we eat/drink/stay?
I live and write about the place all the time, but I still found the task of organising 24 hours of hen do activities for 18 ladies a daunting one. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of Top Tips for planning a chic hen do in London to help anyone who’s about to do the same thing.
Hopefully it will help inspire you for things to do. And if you have a large group of ladies to organise, perhaps it will help lift any unnecessary stress that organising hen dos can sometimes cause!
How to plan a chic hen do in London
1. Do use Doodle
Have you heard of Doodle? If not, it’s the best app in the world for sussing out when all your friends are free, without the need for thousands of emails and messages to be flying around. Once you’ve sealed a date when hopefully everyone can make it, you can get on with the important stuff, organising.
2. Do keep things simple
I spent literally months, trying to think of the coolest, quirkiest and unusual things that 18 women could do for a chic hen do in London. But after much thought, I concluded that a) not everyone likes doing the same things and b) everyone has varying budgets. The other issue I had was that some of my friends were arriving at differing times of the day. So while it might seem really cool to take a boat trip down the Thames / climb up the O2 arena / take a wine tasting class; some people hate boats / heights and don’t drink. So keep it all simple yet fun and you won’t have anyone feeling disgruntled or left out.
3. Do allow for extra time
I’ve heard so many stories from people who have been at hen dos where they’ve tried to fit far too many things into one day. They’ve been whizzed from abseiling to wine tasting to life drawing to dinner, without any time to breathe. As a result, everyone’s been left feeling well, a little bit exhausted and fed up. I never anticipated that our afternoon tea would take over three hours from start to finish. But by the time everyone has got there (allow for the late people, ie, me), the food had come out, extra cocktails had been ordered and a bill for 18 people had been settled, we took far longer than I’d anticipated. Then take into account London traffic and we had arrived at Cheval Three Quays much later than expected. We had to push back the dinner to allow a little extra time for fizz in the apartment but I’d much rather that than everyone be rushing. So remember, if you want a relaxed and chic hen do, fit in extra time just in case.
4. Do go for afternoon tea!
I love love love afternoon tea and I think it’s one of the easiest but luxurious things you can do for a chic hen do in London. We went to Refuel at The Soho Hotel, a part of the Firmdale Hotels group where we enjoyed an absolutely delicious spread of sandwiches, savoury snacks, hot and fluffy scones and the most delectable desserts (the banoffee pie in particular was divine). We also had a selection of teas to choose from and for a little extra, you can opt for the champagne afternoon tea which of course includes a glass of fizz. When you have a large hen do to organise, an afternoon tea is a brilliant way for everyone to get to know each other. If you’re keen not to end up a dribbling wreck by 8pm, it’s also a perfect way to pace the alcohol intake!
5. Consider a buzzy restaurant like Beach Blanket Babylon
If you are looking to organise a chic London hen do, it can be difficult to pin down a restaurant that will happily cater for 18 ‘hens’. When my friend suggested we went for dinner at Beach Blanket Babylon in Shoreditch, it seemed like the perfect solution. This is a restaurant that’s used to catering for large groups, it’s really cool inside and there’s a brilliant party vibe. I must say the music was a little loud over dinner leaving us shouting across the table a little bit, but it has a brilliant, buzzy vibe. The food from the set menu is also very well presented (the steak was the best) and you can send the restaurant a pre-order spreadsheet so there’s no faffing about with orders when you arrive. After dinner, you can continue the party downstairs in the ‘club’ where there’s a DJ until late.
6. Do book a beautiful apartment
If budget allows, the key to planning a chic London hen do is having somewhere lovely that you can go back to and end your weekend. While the Cheval Three Quays may not be within everyone’s budget, do read my review and check them out. Having my friends in London was all I wanted for my girl’s weekend. And when you consider how much it can cost to fly abroad for a bachelorette party, spending a bit more to stay in luxurious serviced apartments doesn’t sound like a bad idea at all. I loved having somewhere we could relax a bit between afternoon tea and dinner, with stunning views from our balcony over the river. It also gave the girls an opportunity to spring a sneaky game of Mr & Mrs on me… (which by the way, is a BRILLIANT thing to do.)
We partied into the night and then headed back to the apartment where we woke up to the most gorgeous morning views over the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.
Even this will make a sore head feel that little bit better….
I hope these tips have helped! Are you planning a chic hen do in London and do you have any stories of advice to share? Feel free to leave your comments below.