Global Bash: London

A London-inspired bachelorette party

Why celebrate a bachelorette party when you could have a hen party? OK, they’re actually the same thing – the infamous hen party is just Brit-speak for a lady’s final night out on the town before she gets married.

There’s nothing like adding an across-the-pond twist to your bachelorette party to make it ultra-glamorous. If your schedule and budget allow, jet off to swanky London for three days of sightseeing, shopping, spa treatments and nightlife.

Courtesy of Nathan Parton -- Flickr Creative Commons

Courtesy of Nathan Parton — Flickr Creative Commons

Day 1

Head to the airport on Thursday night, as flights from the U.S. to London are nearly always red eyes. This means you can catch some ZZZs as the pilot ferries you to one of London’s airport, Heathrow or Gatwick, to arrive in the morning.

Head straight to your hotel to check-in, if you can in the morning. For a splurge, book a room at one of London’s top hotels, Claridge’s (Rates from £300/night), which blends Art Deco styling with a modern, trendy crowd. Or, if you’d rather go full-on modern, try out Rough Luxe (Rates from £159/night), a quirky hotel mixing rough and luxury with a heavy focus on artwork.  Claridge is much more luxurious, but Rough Luxe offers something new and different for the adventurous traveler.

Late-afternoon check-in times are more the norm so you might need to stash your luggage until you can get into your room.  Once you do check-in, though, grab some shuteye; you’ll need your rest to party through the weekend in London.

While you wait for your room, cruise into London for a little sightseeing. You and your gals won’t want to miss The Crown Jewels Exhibit at the Tower of London, the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park and Kensington Palace, which houses the royal apartment and the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection.

Return to the hotel to check-in and get ready for a casual night out on the town. Visit a quintessential British pub for dinner and indulge in an ale, stout or cider. Some top-rated pubs include Anchor & Hope in London, near Waterloo station, and The Harwood Arms, both of which feature classic English dishes.

As the sun begins to set, take in a panoramic view of London on the London Eye; prearrange a special Champagne event, which allows priority board for up to 25 guests, 30 minutes on the Eye and champagne, mineral water and orange juice for approximately £500.

It might not seem like a late night, but you’ll likely be tuckered out from a full day and a spell of jet lag. Head to bed early so you’re ready for another exciting day in London.

Day 2

Pamper yourself like royalty. Make an appointment at the Four Seasons Spa – its rooftop location promises simply gorgeous views of Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. Choose from a variety of facials (including the blissful Crystal Rose Anti-Aging Facial), scrubs and other body treatments or a number of relaxing massages, plus standard manis and pedis. Prices begin at £45.

Once you feel refreshed and relaxed, partake in a mid-afternoon wine tasting at Vinopolis, one of London’s top places to sample vino. The establishment – which features five bars and restaurants – offers a number of packages to taste anywhere from seven to 16 of the 100-plus wines available. Prices are super-reasonable, ranging from £27 to £38.

You can also book a wine-and-dine experience that includes a multi-course meal or tapas and wine-tasting experience for £40 to £60. It’s just the right way to let the day wind down and the evening truly begin – after all, it’s Saturday night and you’re just getting started.

Indulge in a late dinner at Sketch, a celebrity-laden establishment that includes a number of restaurants and bars; however, do your best to be seated in the Lecture Room (pro tip: You’ll need to make reservations well in advance). Entrees range from £42 to £55 and include delights such as poached sea bass and roasted lamb and beef. For a real treat, order one of two tasting menus, either vegetarian (£75) or omnivore (£95).

Keep the bachelorette party going with a little taste of London’s nightlife. Options include Ministry of Sound, a club with three dance floors that attracts thousands of clubbers each weekend, and Club Aquarium, located in the trendy Shoreditch neighborhood. This club features a swimming pool and Jacuzzi – towels provided – along with two dance floors and a VIP lounge.

Day 3

Unless your bride-to-be is Cinderella, keep her out past midnight with a visit to one of London’s best places for late-night nosh, Bar Italia in Soho. This restaurant is a London mainstay that British band Pulp chronicled in song: That’s what you get from clubbing it/You can’t go home and go to bed because it hasn’t worn off yet/And now it’s morning there’s only one place we can go. Bar Italia is open until 5 a.m. It reopens at 7 a.m. for breakfast.

When morning comes, whip out that credit card and take advantage of all the shopping London has to offer. Forget Harrods; the London department store not to miss is Liberty of London, which has been around since 1875.

Pro tip: sign up for alerts to designer sample sales at Daily Candy on the chance that one is being held the weekend you’re in London. You pay to get in, but design clothes are marked off up to 70 percent.

Come afternoon, don your fascinator for a proper English tea at The Ritz. Be sure to make your reservation at least a month ahead of time. They have five seatings a day; for the traditional English tea, opt the 3:30 p.m. seating. Prices range from £45-£67 and can include Champagne, if you so desire. If the Ritz is booked, try The Savoy – another classic – Brown’s or the Goring.

Courtesy of jamieanne, Flickr Creative Commons

Courtesy of jamieanne, Flickr Creative Commons

Close out your final day in London with an evening at a trendy tapas bar. Tapas Brindisa in Soho offers classic tapas, such as grilled octopus, and fresher options like tuna and pear, an unlikely but winning combination. Another option is Aqua Nueva, which transforms rustic tapas into elegant small bites in a classy environment.

When your weekend bash in London comes to an end, you’ll likely be worn out from sampling everything London has to offer a bride-to-be and her ’maids. Get one more proper night’s rest, and then head to the international terminal to jet back to the United States – you have a wedding to get ready for now!

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