Bristol Hen Weekend - The guide for your Bristol hen do
Bristol has become one of the most popular Bristol hen weekend destinations in recent years. The UK’s eighth largest city has a vibrant mixture of culture and style guaranteed to give any Bristol hen do a great time and fabulous memories. Bristol is so much more than Vicky Pollard!
With a fine range of cafes and restaurants, including an incredibly stylish piazza, there’s plenty of scope for hen parties to refuel before strolling round the historic Castle Park, regenerated Bristol docks and waterfront.
Bristol hen weekend Ideas, kick off your Bristol hen do in style
With a large young population and many students there are of course plenty of nightclubs in Bristol. From the large pulsating waterfront and city centre clubs to the more cosy yet hugely popular Clifton Triangle venues, all great venues to dance your Bristol hen weekend away into the small hours.
Night time sees the Bristol floating bars, restaurants and renowned Thekla boat night club come to life. For a completely novel slant on a hen night try the famous Oompah Saturday at the Bristol Bierkeller, a great venue with fun atmosphere.
Bristol breeds comedians and there is no shortage of comedy clubs where the hen parties can laugh the night away to the next Lee Evans, Mark Watson or Marcus Brigstocke, all Bristol boys.
Tips for a great Bristol Hen Do
The Bristol Hippodrome and nearby Colston Hall always have shows and concerts on and there are many smaller venues with live music to party to. Thespian hens may like to take in a production at the renowned Bristol Old Vic Theatre.
Hungry hen parties are well catered for in Bristol with a diverse range of places to eat. From street cafes to fine dining, Chinese to Lebanese, Noodles to Nachos, a Bristol hen party can easily peck their way from the centre, up Park Street and into fashionable Clifton.
Bristol Hen Weekend Guide
Planning your Bristol hen do
Planning a Bristol hen weekend can be a huge honour and privilege – but it can also be quite a stressful task. Even if you know every hen party member (which is often unlikely), making sure everyone is catered for is a tricky business, and one that often takes time and careful consideration. So here are a few Bristol hen party ideas and tips to make planning your hen party that little bit easier.
Firstly, numbers. Make sure you get preliminary numbers secured, so you can start to plan the right type of Bristol hen do activities. It’s worth getting a rough idea first, so even if people drop out at a later stage, it (hopefully) won’t be a significant amount, which could have an effect on whatever you have planned.
Once numbers are semi-secured, consider the activity. Larger groups will be better catered for by specialist venues such as West Country Games, while others are better suited to slightly smaller groups, such as cocktail making. With this in mind, it might also be worth considering the demographic of your hens. The younger, more lovely crowd might prefer a good old fashioned knees-up around the city, while more mature groups may prefer a more sophisticated affair, with more food and less booze.
Exactly when then hen happens is always dictated by the main event, the wedding itself. But think about the activity and the season in which the hen will take place. It might be the warmer part of the country, but Bristol still gets pretty chilly in the colder months, so an outdoor activity might not be the best choice during Winter or Spring.
With the activity in the bag, ask your hens to help with any deposits at this stage; if you’re looking to book accommodation in the city, start to work out how much it will cost each individual to attend the Bristol hen do. For many, knowing the costs upfront makes it easier to accommodate for the expenses, and save. It will also alleviate the pressure from the organizer, who sometimes had to foot the bill for any cancellations (an upfront down payment is an instant deterrent to the more flakey of hens).
Bristol Accommodation, where to stay in and around Bristol
Bristol Harbour hotel and spa
For luxurious Bristol hen weekend accommodation in Bristol, sleep in style at one of the city’s newest and most decadent hotels; the Bristol Harbour hotel and spa. The beautiful building, situated on thriving Corn Street, has been lovingly renovated to the highest of standards. It comes equipped with exceptional spa facilities, so you and your Bristol hen party can pamper the day away before the big night out, or relax and rejuvenate the morning after!
West Country Cottage
If you’re looking for more of a family feel to your Bristol hen party, then going self-catering is a great choice. West Country Cottage is a stunning self-catering option for up to 12 guests. Just a short drive to Bristol city centre, this rustic cottage comes equipped with all of the latest mod cons, so all everyone on your Bristol hen weekend can get ready together.
The best option for shopaholics, the Marriott is the perfect choice for hens looking to shop ‘til they drop. Just a one-minute walk from Cabot Circus and the main shopping areas of Bristol city centre, the Marriott is an upmarket option for a Bristol hen do that has shopping at the top of their agenda.
Brooks guest house
One for the more intimate Bristol hen weekend, Brooks guest house is a kooky and alternative way to spend a night in the city centre. Situated right next to St Nick’s market – just off of Corn Street, Brooks is a boutique guest house with some exciting modern twists. The décor is chic, the prices reasonable and the breakfast is legendary. And if you fancy staying somewhere a little different, try the retro rockets on the roof – shiny metal caravans that feature every imaginable mod con.
What to do – Bristol Activities
Pirate pub crawl
As the home of some of the most infamous pirates in the UK, it should come as no surprise that Bristol also caters for pirate-fanatics. The Pirate walk around Bristol is a great opportunity to get your Bristol hen do all dressed up as Captains and pirate wenches, and wander through the old streets of the city, learning about some of the most famous locations (maybe with a cider or two en route!)
Making your own boozy concoctions with a resident expert is a fun way to enjoy the company of your friends and fellow Bristol hen party goers. There are numerous places in Bristol where you can experiment with the spirits of your choice and create a delectable masterpiece, which is bound to kick start a memorable Bristol hen do.
Boozy barge trip
The river Avon runs smack bang through the centre of Bristol, making it a prime place to gather your hens for a day on the water! Bristol offers a range of exciting boat trips that run through the heart of the city, giving your Bristol hen do group the opportunity to embrace the sights and sounds of Bristol. Most of Bristol’s boat trips offer regular stops en route to some of Bristol’s most iconic and popular bars, so you and your Bristol hen party can sample the local atmosphere, both on and off of the water.
Live music is an extraordinary experience, leaving you with a buzz that lingers for days – sometimes weeks – after the event. So what better way to celebrate the prenuptials of your bestie on a Bristol hen weekend than by watching one of your favourite acts play in the small, intimate venue of Bristol academy. In the heart of the city, the venue is surrounded by local eateries and bars – so you can make the most of the city before watching your chosen artist take to the stage. A wide selection of A-list bands bless Bristol with their musically-gifted presence, so keep an eye out in advance and see if any of the groups or artists tickle your fancy.
West Country Games
Saving the best ‘til last, West Country Games has something to offer for every type of Bristol Hen party. Based just outside of Bristol, this whacky, fun-filled day out is a crazy way to get your hen party into the spirit of things. A wonderfully different option for hens of all ages, West Country Games will have your hens rolling around in fits of laughter from start to finish. Nine crazy, west country-themed activities are guaranteed to entertain, amuse and excite everyone in the group; from Welly Wanging to the hilarious Cider Run, it’s a blast that’s bound to bring people together and cement friendships for many years to come.
When’s to best visit Bristol
Bristol is an incredible city that always has something going on. Recently named one of the coolest cities in Europe by Nation Geographic Traveller, it’s no wonder Bristol is often packed with visitors from around the globe. That being said, there are some key times that make it super busy – something you might want to avoid when planning a Bristol hen weekend.
Bristol’s famous Balloon Fiesta is an annual event in August, and one that draws a massive crowd to the city. While it’s a magical spectacle, it can make certain areas of the city difficult to access – a factor worth considering when looking to visit the city.
Another key consideration are match days at Ashton Gate. When Bristol city is playing on home turf, the city comes alive with football fanatics, which can make it difficult to navigate around certain areas of Bristol. It’s also a definite no-no for brides looking to escape the game, as many bars around the city will proudly air the game on TV, inviting a footie-frenzied crowd!
Bristol’s Harbour Festival in July attracts huge numbers to the city centre (mainly around the harbor area) which can make it difficult to navigate this part of the city on foot. Although it’s a fantastic event that makes for a great day out, rounding up a group of hens through the tight crowds around the river can be tricky, and might be something you want to consider when planning your Bristol hen do.
Best places to eat on your Bristol hen do
Smack bang in the centre of Bristol’s lively shopping area, Brasserie Blanc is a classy venue for the discerning hen. Right next to bustling Cabot Circus, the French-inspired restaurant serves up delicious dishes devised by the much-loved celebrity chef, Raymond Blanc. The decadent friary building, in which the restaurant is housed also benefits from a fancy al fresco bar area – the perfect place for your Bristol hen weekend crew to relax on hot summer days.
For scrumptious Indian cuisine, look no further than Nutmeg. Instead of the usual culprits that adorn most Indian menus, Nutmeg prides itself on cooking regional favourites that you won’t find everywhere. From the customary poppadoms and dips to their mouthwatering curries, everything is freshly prepared and tangibly top-notch. Bench-seating also lends itself to hen party dining, and the attentive staff promise to make it a meal to remember.
Zaza Bazaar, Bristol Harbourside
Zaza has long been a favourite for any Bristol hen do – and for good reason. Its convenient location on Bristol’s harbourside lends itself to post and pre-meal drinks, with a range of bars and clubs on its doorstep. If there’s disparity about the type of cuisine your hens would like, fear not – Zaza has you covered. The venue boasts a huge mix of cuisines from around the world – from Italian pizzas and Mexican nachos to Vietnamese noodles and Indian dishes. Simply grab a plate and help yourself from the extensive buffet.
The Stable, Bristol Harbourside
Located on Bristol’s lovely harbourside, the Stable is a solid choice for any Bristol hen party. The venue offers free room hire for larger groups – a good idea, as the restaurant is always busy, thanks to its delicious grub. There’s a great choice of pizzas on offer, as well as pies and other options for those looking for lighter bites. If you have cider lovers in your party, then this is the venue for your Bristol hen do! There’s a huge range of alcoholic apple juice on offer – as well as a taster plank, for those who are feeling a little more experimental.
There might be multiple restaurants in the city that serve French food, but Cote is the perfect place for a sophisticated meal at some point on your Bristol hen weekend. Great wine, a delicious menu and an upmarket atmosphere await any group of hens that choose to venture to Cote in Clifton village. The surrounding area is filled with fantastic bars and pubs, so when it comes to after dinner drinks, you’re not limited for choice.
Places to party in Bristol
Nestled in the centre of Clifton village, Amoeba is an atmospheric, luxurious joint for any cocktail-adoring fanatic. Their fancy tipples include the classics, as well as the exotic, more obscure concoctions you’d never think to combine. The chilled atmosphere makes it an ideal place to relax with your Bristol hen do, and enjoy the generous 2-4-1 cocktails on offer until 9pm.
If you’re lucky enough have a Bristol hen weekend in the summer months, The Apple is a must. It’s an iconic cider boat on the rover Avon, which serves a huge range of apple-based alcoholic drinks. Their large outdoor seating area is a great sun trap, and an ideal place to start your Bristol hen do.
The Milk Thistle
This secretive venue is often overlooked by newcomers to Bristol. There’s no point looking for any signage – this venue prides itself on being one of Bristol’s speakeasy’s – a secret bar, which you need to know about, not stumble in. The beautifully grand exterior gives nothing away, and entry is granted only by pressing the buzzer by the main door. Be warned; this bar won’t accept large, raucous groups. But once in, the cocktails and suave atmosphere and service will make the hunt for this elusive bar worth the wait.
Turtle Bay is a Caribbean-themed restaurant, and a great choice for cocktail-loving Bristol hen party. A huge array of rum-based cocktails are on offer, most of which are 2-4-1 until 7pm. There’s no disputing the presence of the lively Caribbean spirit, which hits you as soon as you enter the brightly adorned venue. The food is delicious and freshly prepared, should you fancy a spicy snack to soak up the rum before you venture further afield.
Situated in a lively area north of Park Street, The Botanist is a great choice for larger parties looking for an impromptu tipple. The large bar caters for a wonderfully eclectic crowd, and their huge range of beer, wines and spirits makes it the perfect choice any Bristol hen do.
It’s no secret that Bristol is a great choice for hens. But if you’re looking for something a little off the beaten track, try North Street in Bedminster, and see Bristol from a local’s perspective. South of the river, North street is up and coming, and now offers a wide selection of eateries and bars, making it a cool and convenient place to plan your Bristol hen do.
It is well worth a visit to the Visit Bristol website and view the Stag and Hen Parties page for more information on planning your Bristol hen weekend. If it’s a sophisticated country hen weekend or a raucous city hen do that your group are after, you can guarantee that Bristol will tick all the boxes!