I had two quick trips to London over the past few weeks and wanted to share some new places and ideas that might work for a classy, alternative or low key hen party. I only left London in 2013 after living in Islington for 8 years so I do still consider myself a bit of a Londoner. I absolutely loved visiting for non work related weekends and enjoying the city and catching up with friends.
My first London visit was a surprise for my lovely amigo @Islingtongirl. Her sister and a few of her friends arranged the nicest surprise birthday bash for her. They booked a private area in the very cool The Dolls House in Hoxton Square. I absolutely loved it. I had wanted to go there since I spotted it on Made in Chelsea a few months ago. It’s an excellent venue for an intimate gathering. I’m sure you could have a small and stylish hen party in there – but you definitely would not want to be bringing any typical hen party accessories or games with you! They place is far too cool for that and there is no way the tack or typical hen party would get past the door! Definitely more for a low key ‘hen’ event with it’s gorgeous roof top, black and industrial décor, amazing cocktails and excellent staff. We had cocktails, dinner and stayed on until it closed at midnight. Then onto the Dalston Superstore!
The above images are from The Dolls House website as mine do no do it justice! The below is the group having dinner in our private dining room.
My second London trip was to see The Libertines in Hyde Park. I am definitely one of the most unlikely Libertine’s fans. If it had been sunny and warm, I had the perfect white, off the shoulder top to wear with a cute flower crown. I opted for a denim shirt and chunky necklace instead as the weather wasn’t great. Phew! I would have felt very out of place in my cutesy boho outfit and probably would have been beaten up… It was very rowdy (the music was stopped twice as the crowd were scaling towers, throwing bottles and lighting flares!!) but amazing all the same. Hyde Park was decked out tropical Cuban style. Palm trees, lights and cute shops fronts. And, they had a champagne van. I was saved!!
I forgot how much I loved London parks on a nice summer day. For my very first birthday in London (years ago!!) I had a mad hatters tea party in Hyde Park. We brought a load of tea cups, tea pots, alcohol, food, games etc. and had the best day in the park. It’s still just as amazing. If there’s a gig on, you can sit outside and hear the music. If you’re planning a summer hen party in the city, it’s definitely a nice, budget friendly and low key option.
London also has a fab collection of outdoor cinemas. The Nomad Cinema has a fantastic collection this year and have been given exclusive access to several unique London venues including Fulham Place, Grosvenor Square, Mayfair and Hyde Park Lido for fantastic summer evenings of alfresco! You and the girls can evening on a bespoke fairy lit Magic Carpet with nibbles, bubbles and enjoy the gastronomic delights of London’s hottest street food vendors.
This years programme includes:
- Four Weddings & A Funeral, Grosvenor Square Jul 11
- When Harry Met Sally, Grosvenor Square Jul 17
- Romeo + Juliet, Middle Temple Gardens Jul 21
- Dirty Dancing, Fulham Palace Aug 28
- Footloose, Fulham Palace Sep 4
- Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Hyde Park Lido Sep 25
Some of my other current favourites for a girlie / hen weekend in London.
Book into The Dolls House if you’re not looking for the typical hen night and want more of a cool, East London experience. If this isn’t an option, head for a rooftop bar. You can’t beat the atmosphere on a city rooftop in the summertime.
Brunch it up in Caravan in Granary Square near Kings Cross. If it’s a sunny morning, it’s the perfect sun trap.
Book a private shopping experience with Topshop for early on the Saturday morning. Even if Topshop isn’t your thing, you might get a few basics and it’s always such a lovely, relaxed, girlie experience there isn’t pressure to spend buckets of cash. If your style is a little more quirky and independent, take a wander down Brick Lane, Commercial Road and the surrounding areas for some stylish boutiques and quirky vintage stores.
Alternatively, get some manis and pedis anywhere – go for something more polished with the Benefit or Chanel pamper boutiques or just head to a local nail parlour who will be just a good. Sacrifices had to be made over the past years with the life of an entrepreneur… I forgot how nice it was to have some new summer nails. I’m addicted once again and the nail ban just has to go. A nail session is also perfect for a girlie natter.
We love our newest addition to The Hen Planner directory, Glam Hatters. They are based around the Islington side of London but spread their wings and come to you if they need to (London and beyond!). They offer a range of fascinator making classes with afternoon tea and a BYO policy. We love this business as Janie has tons of experience, personality and loves it. They have been featured in Vogue, Elle, Rock My Wedding and much more. Read more about them here.
I always have my choice of a few friend’s fabulous places in Islington when I visit. But when you are booking in somewhere, if the hotels are stretching you a little too far, book a nice apartment on AirBnB. Try find somewhere around Upper Street or Hoxton for a nice, alternative London experience.
Ladies, feel free to share your personal tips and advice on London below. We’d love to hear your experiences.