Six Sophisticated Hen Party Getaways

Hen parties of yesteryear have consisted of prosecco-fuelled mishaps featuring L-plates, sashes and garters galore, all in the name of (organised) "fun". But with many of us settling down later in life, we're leaving wild weekends of debauchery and embracing the sophisticated getaway. Whether your bride-to-be is a bohemian beach lover or worldly gourmand, here are six thoughtful hen party destinations with not a penis straw in sight (unless you bring them).


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Not just about Ferris wheels, fish and chips and flamboyance - though that does sound like an excellent combination for a party - Brighton is a hub of creativity, perfect for those looking for a getaway that's high on experience but relatively low budget. Take advantage of the roster of classes put on by local artists - be it pottery, terrarium making or painting (we particularly like The Paint Club) - before checking out the cosmopolitan restaurant scene, with eateries like Silo and Plateau giving London a run for its money. Drinks should be slurped at The Mesmerist (helpfully over the road from Plateau), and if you can't resist hitting the strip afterwards, so be it.

To stay? It's got to be the Artist Residence, a boutique hotel (there are also branches in London and Bristol) that got its eccentric style when the owner published an advertisement offering artists free board in return for their creations. Needless to say, each room is a riot of quirky artwork and local character. Finish your weekend with some shopping at the Lanes - bonus points for tracking down a vintage "something blue".



There's a reason that Lisbon has remained one of the most popular city breaks for a good few years now. A culinary capital to rival Barcelona and Copenhagen, the city is a labyrinth of traditional rustic cooking, where hole-in-the-wall restaurants jostle for space along inventive fine-dining establishments, all fuelled by an infinite supply of pasteis de nata.

Go stylishly minimal with a stay at Flora Chiado Apartments, where gorgeous Portuguese tiling and spacious kitchens create the perfect backdrop for cooking "com a familia". Visit the Rua Augusta to stock up on local produce before whipping up your own hen party feast. If you need a bit of guidance, let Taste of Lisboa show you around with a market tour and cooking class. Come summer, the city's many rooftop bars are where you'll want to be sipping in the sun.



The Hungarian capital may have a debauched reputation for being stag-party central, but bypass the packed beer halls and make your way to the old Jewish Quarter - the current hotspot of Budapest - for a weekend that ticks all the boxes. During the day, wander between hip cafés, designer stores and interesting restaurants; come night-time, the area's plethora of bars fill to capacity with locals and tourists alike (though we promise not the rowdy variety). Be sure to also check out the Palace Quarter, described by Hungarians as "the new cool part", while a trip to the baths means you'll get your spa treatment in too.

Stay at Brody House, a beautifully eclectic unusual hotel full of contemporary art. Ideally located overlooking the Palace Quarter, guests get free entry to Brody Studios, a sought-after private club operated by the hotel owners.



Marrakech's balmy air, bougainvillea-wrapped riads and baking hammams are just the ticket for soothing frazzled pre-wedding nerves while getting a bit of sun. Stay at Riad Jardin Secret, a cornucopia of gorgeous tiling and artisan furniture crowned by a cactus-strewn pink roof terrace serving vegetarian fare. Leave plenty of space in your suitcase for a haul of hand-woven rugs, Berber blankets and glittering trinkets from the souks - no matter how many times you visit Moroccan capital, there are always more treasures to be found.

After a couple of days navigating the maze-like medinas, escape to the Atlas Mountains. Tap into your inner zen as you ride camels through burnt-ochre peaks and hike through waterfalls before falling asleep under the stars at a luxury desert camp, such as Agafay. Heart to heart around the campfire optional.


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If the soon to be newlywed life is wild at heart, Edinburgh will give you the opportunity to relive your student partying days but with slightly more adult aplomb. Drop your bags at your hotel - we're looking at 94DR - and head for Panda & Sons, a Prohibition-esque bar with a penchant for pandas. Enter through the barbershop and order a round of Banamans (bourbon, sherry and Angostura bitters infused with banana chips) for the group. Continue the night on the city's famous Royal Mile. Notorious for its nightlife, you and the rest of the bonnie lasses can dance the night away.

When you resurface the following morning, head to Stockbridge Market (open on Sundays) to feed that hangover - we're making a beeline for the curry stalls. Or, if you can't muster the strength to eat until after 5pm, hold out for Chaophraya's Asian-fusion fare before readying yourself for round two on the city-facing terrace. Planning your trip for the summer? Line up your dates with the Fringe for raucous drag shows and an unrivalled party atmosphere around town. Just make sure you arrange accommodation well in advance.

And if only Ibiza will do...

Santa Gertrudis


Ibiza's reputation as a party island is being countered by its formerly revered calmer side, where you're more likely to be saluting the sun than raving until it rises. A popular hippie-chic haunt in the 60s and 70s, Santa Gertrudis is a tranquil village of orchards and olive groves, where offbeat bars join restaurants serving off-the-boat seafood, earning it the moniker the "Notting Hill of the White Isle".

Stay at Cas Gasi, a peaceful retreat hidden in the rolling hills, or head to Gatzara, the epitome of laid-back, whitewashed luxury. Gitano restaurant is the place to knock back mezcal cocktails with a side of sushi.

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