Have you been tasked with planning your best pal’s hen do and wondering where to start? Whether the bride-to-be has requested a low key, relaxed affair, or if they’re hoping for a jam-packed girly getaway, we've rounded up our most unique hen party ideas in Essex to make it extra special. #SecretEssex

Six Apples

Stay in a beautiful country barn

Six Apples, a beautiful barn conversion, sleeps 8 and with plenty of parking and no minimum night’s stay from October through to June, this is a great option for a luxurious weekend away with the girls. Play games by the fire, sunbathe around the outdoor heated swimming pool or visit the “most photographed village in England,” Finchingfield, only a 30 min walk across fields, with pubs and tearooms. From June – September, you could also visit the nearby Lavender field. From £400. 1-hour direct train from London, 15 min drive from Braintree train station.

On The Wall Distillery

Make your own gin 

Is the bride a gin lover? We have the perfect activity. Make your very own gin, then wax and label your 70cl bottle to take home with you. This 5-hour hands on experience at On The Wall Distillery Gin School will have you picking your own botanicals and crafting your gin in your own still, sampling as you go. Choose from a delicious home-made afternoon tea or grazing board. From £80pp, 2-6 people plus drivers, 1hr 15 mins train from London, 15 min taxi ride from Southminster station.

Talbooth House and Spa

Talbooth House & Spa 

Unwind and relax with your favourite girls at Talbooth’s boutique spa in the beautiful Dedham Vale. You’ll feel like you are on holiday lazing on one of the sunbeds with magazine and prosecco in hand. The adults only spa boasts a hot tub, outdoor heated pool, sauna and 6 treatment rooms, using Elemis products. Choose from day and half-day options. There is also stylish accommodation on-site and sister restaurants nearby. You’ll leave this boutique spa feeling fresh and chilled, perfectly timed for the big day! From £80pp. 50 min direct train from London, 15 min drive from Colchester North station.

Electric Palace Cinema

Hire your own cinema

Enjoy a private screening in one of the world’s oldest and least altered cinemas, Electric Palace. Used as a film set for the latest Downton Abbey film, and often frequented by patron Clive Owen, sit back in the plush red seats, and enjoy a glass of wine with your favourite snacks while watching a film of your choice. You could even create your own cinema tickets! Price available upon request. 1hr 45 min from London by direct train, 15 min walk from Harwich Town station.

Crouch Ridge Vineyard

Wine Tasting

Book ‘All The Bubbles’ wine tasting at Crouch Ridge Vineyard. Sample English Sparkling wine, Champagne, Cava & Prosecco as you soak up beautiful views of the vines and the river below upon the terrace. Available add-ons include a private vineyard tour, or sparkling afternoon tea. £50pp. Min 6 people, duration 1-2hrs. 1hr from London by train, 10 min drive from Burnham-on-Crouch station. 

The Clockwork Hotel

Hire a hotel 

Take over The Clockwork Hotel for the night… but you have to find the keys first! Enjoy a glass of bubbly on arrival before racing against the clock to solve the puzzle together. After using all that brain power, relax in the hot tub and sauna. Sip on another cocktail and tuck into a 3-course dinner cooked and served by your private chef. From £170pp, 16-22 people, 1 hour 10 min train from London, 2 min walk from Burnham-on-Crouch train station. 

Topsail Charters

Cruise the River Blackwater 

Cruise the River Blackwater and soak up the sun and marshland scenery underneath the iconic red sails of an historic Thames Sailing Barge. Depart from bustling Maldon Hythe, sail past colourful beach huts, and private islands as you tuck into an Afternoon Tea on this 2-hour trip. From £42pp. 40 min direct train from London, 15 min drive from Hatfield Peverel train station.

Teybrook Orchard

Glamp at Teybrook Orchard

Choose from traditionally hand-crafted Mongolian yurts, bordered by meadows, and named after cool Disney characters, to Bell tents nestled amongst the trees. Sleeping up to 40 guests across Teybrook Orchard, tailor your stay down to the tee. From waking up to a yoga session, forest bathing, or dance workout to relaxing in a woodland hot tub, pamper sessions, cocktail classes, flower workshops and more. On-site catering can be arranged under a large marquee, cook over the BBQ, or wood-fired pizza or alternatively dine in the farm restaurant, only 5 mins walk away. From £80pn. 1hr from London by direct train, 10 min drive from Marks Tey train station.

Bushcraft with Essex Outdoors


Release your wild side and practice Bushcraft with Essex Outdoors in Danbury. From learning how to start a fire, to preparing food outdoors, and cooking it! Throw in shelter building, or even overnight camping under the stars. Tell tales as you soak up the warmth of the roaring fire. Just let the team know what you would like to have a go at when you pre-book, dates on request. From £120 per group, maximum 10. 30 min direct train from London, 10 min drive from Chelmsford station.

Behind the Scenes Tour at Royal Opera House

If you have a hen interested in the arts, go behind the scenes on a tour of the Production Workshop at High House Production Park in Thurrock. Discover the fascinating work of scenic artists and craftspeople who create the stunning sets and scenery for the Royal Opera House stage in London. Your tour will also include the beautifully landscaped garden, the kitchen garden and the refurbished 16th century farm buildings. Fridays, from £16pp. 30 min direct train from London, 15 min walk from Purfleet station.

Creeksea Place Barns

Stay in a barn complex 

Creeksea Place Barns are perfect for group gatherings, set on a picturesque farm. Sleeping up to 30 guests within six self-catering timber framed barns and two hotel style rooms, relax in a hot tub and salt therapy room with treatments also available for ultimate pampering. Parlour Café is just next door, or venture into the town on foot for a quirky cinema, seal boat trips, traditional pubs overlooking the water and more. 2-night min stay, from £2,090. 1hr from London by train, 6 min drive from Burnham-on-Crouch station.

Writtle Sunflowers

Go sunflower picking

If you are planning a summer hen do, check out Writtle Sunflowers for beautiful blooms as far as the eye can see each July and August. Get lost in their maze, have your own photoshoot amongst the sea of yellow, picnic with a stunning backdrop, and take some flowers home as a memento of your time together. 30 min direct train from London, 20 min drive from Chelmsford station.

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