Stag parties in the south west
Stag do ideas with a difference
Ditch the bar crawling for something more modern, fun and personality-packed with a stag do you'll be pleased to remember, rather than happily forget
Today's stags should be seeking to put as much of an individual stamp on their final single moments as they will on their first matrimonial ones, and the south-west is full of things to keep himself and his posse amused. From wine tasting and private cinema nights to more esoteric experiences like bushcraft and horror-themed day trips, here's our top pick of stag party offerings close to home...
For outdoor adventures...7th Rise
Offering a variety of wild outdoor experiences in Cornwall, 7th Rise's brilliant preoccupation with 'rewilding modern man' makes for a unique and totally unforgettable stag party.
The brainchild of nature enthusiast and star of Channel 4's 'Hugh's Three Hungry Boys', Thom Hunt, 7th Rise has grown since its creation on the grounds of a 300-year old stone woodsman's cottage in 2012, evolving into a 'woodland wonderland' comprising a huge firepit, hunting lodge, tree house, boat house, outdoor kitchen, feast table, indoor barn, hammock area and herb and veg patch.
Hosting all-inclusive outdoor adventure and bushcraft weekends including five guided sessions by expert instructors, private and exclusive hire of the stunning woodland venue with accommodation, and all food and equipment, pick from a brawn-enhancing array of activities to individually suit.
Learn bushcraft survival with axes, fires and knives as you tap into your inner Bear Grylls; brace yourself for a stint of Canadian canoeing on the River Fal; enhance your culinary prowess with foraging and cooking; opt for a competitive session of archery; or go complete caveman with full deer carcass butchery.
After an adrenalised day of self-wilding, tuck into the freshest al fresco feast before bedding down in your pick of accommodation including a tree house, cottage, potting shed, shepherd's hut and hunting lodge, for a starlit end to an awe-inspiring day.
For adrenalin-fuelled antics...Adrenalin Quarry
For adventuring made easy, Adrenalin Quarry's huge mix of things to do and pick 'n' mix style of itinerary building means that a stag party can be customised to include whatever kind of big-kid fun you want. And thanks to a booking system that automatically discounts as you go, with bargain Flexi tickets to add on to your day, it's at a budget to suit.
Situated near Liskeard in Menheniot, the spectacular site provides a giant playground for a plethora of activities including go-karting and axe throwing - or sample a thrilling ride such as the 150ft clifftop swing or 490m-long 50m-high zip wire as you fly at 40mph over the jaw-dropping flooded quarry.
Particularly popular for stags is the immense inflatable Aquapark, which is home to fun features including extreme trampolines, monkey bars, slides and swings; or book an exclusive Grand Prix at the all-weather outdoor track at Kartworld.
And with a variety of spaces to sit and recharge after an energy-depleting day, such as a lawn, lake-fringing beach and marquee, the venue also caters for a prime spot of pasty-munching downtime.
For top-tasting tipples...Trevibban Mill
Tucked away in the spectacular heart of the Cornish countryside near Padstow, Trevibban Mill provides the perfect spot to slow down the pre-marital celebrations as you sample some award-winning wines at a stunning venue.
Select a session of tutored wine tasting as you knock back no less than eight of the working vineyard's finest offerings (with light lunch options also available); or make it a night-time event of self-testing, courtesy of Trevibban's tasting notes and wines being pre-delivered to a destination of your choice.
So whether you wish to wander the wild flowers and explore the venue and vineyards with a guided tour or opt for a more intimate wine-tasting experience in the comfort of your own home as a delicious party-starter, Trevibban's tantalising offerings are sure to hit every stag's sweet spot.
For quality downtime...
Woolacombe Bay Hotel
Offering an alluring mix of things to do, Woolacombe Bay Hotel makes a top-notch venue to enjoy some quality time with your best buds on the Devon coast.
Not just for girls, if you fancy slowing things down a little and relishing some pamper time, then pay a visit to the new Alchemist Spa, where a range of treatments are available. Most treatments are vegan-friendly and feature products exclusively from the Natural Spa Factory in Bath that are jam-packed with natural and uber-nourishing ingredients - helping you to polish up ahead of the day of "I dos".
Continue the kickback vibe with a stint in the hotel's new Neo Cinema, where a classic dinner served with expertly muddled mojitos can be followed by a blockbuster-filled film night. Seating 30 on snug sofas and armchairs, you can even stake sole use of the cinema for a private screening of your favourite film - or stage a superhero marathon as you sink into your comfy surrounds for the night.
If you fancy breaking a sweat as part of your stag do, a one-night Fitness Bootcamp includes dinner, stay, spa access, and two exclusive training sessions from the pros at SALT Gymnasia.
Alternatively, let the team craft a bespoke break. For example, stags keen to improve their surf skills can enjoy a tailor-made workout before hitting the waves with surf tuition, paddleboarding and coasteering that can all be organised (along with fat bikes and hiking tours).
Or for a mini-break experience, the hotel's self-catering accommodation includes flats and apartments that sleep up to six guests. Spend time in the spa, head out for refreshing beach walks, or hit the surf on Woolacombe Beach.
For a house party with a difference...Deer Park Country House
More than 80 acres of private Devon countryside estate await visitors to Deer Park Country House, where they'll also discover a beautifully restored 18th century country house. The perfect place for escapism, immerse yourself in the sublime natural surrounds as you forget about guest lists and grooms wear and relish some best-bud downtime.
Whether you're keen to chill, play or eat, Deer Park offers a tailor-made approach and a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces for a personality-packed stag party. Learn to fly-fish, schedule a wood-fired cookery class, try a Land Rover off-roading experience, or host al fresco fine dining from award-winning chefs.
Menus are a well thought-out affair, presenting rustic food with warmth and an "obsession with provenance - fig trees bask in the sun, and fresh rosemary or lemon basil might adorn a gin and tonic at sundown", says events manager, Georgie. "Our guests have the freedom to ask for anything: wild cherry compote, fresh fruit salad with our own apricots and peaches, organic juices, garden vegetable tempura, red mullet sashimi... Everything can be picked and made to order."
Tara Statton Photography
Hell In A Cell
If fright nights are your thing, then Bristol's Hell I A Cell was made for you.
Named the Scare Awards' top escape room attraction in Europe, the adrenalin-pumping game experience will ensure the ultimate terrifying trip.
In short, the 19th century former underground cells in the dark depths of Bristol's Old Crown Courts is the lair of a chainsaw-wielding maniac 'Pigface' who hoods, handcuffs, 'kidnaps' and imprisons each visitor who must then work in teams under petrified pressure to escape.
Lasting an hour-and-a-half, you will enter the 'deliberately dramatic' set of a horror escape film (think 'Saw', 'Hostel' and 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre') where you'll use clues and puzzle solving to elude captivity before Pigface returns.
Once your stomach has settled, the centrally located venue is in close proximity to a variety of bars and clubs in which to continue the party (not to mention numb your terror) with a night out in the city.
For foodie fellas...Exeter Cookery School
Perfect for those seeking a more sophisticated stag do, Exeter Cookery School hosts some lip-smacking options, with a classic package providing a two-and-a-half-hour cookery experience at a stunning setting on Exeter's quayside.
Pick from essential cooking skills such as bread making and cake baking to perfecting your pasta, pastry or patisserie prowess. For more extended shenanigans, you can create a host of tasty treats such as canapes, Mexican street food or an afternoon tea before savouring the fruits of your labours over a glass of fizz.
All ingredients and equipment are included, with tea and coffee on tap, leaving you only to muster your best culinary skills and appetite. Maximum numbers will depend on the activity chosen, but range from 10 to 30.
Another option that's ideal for smaller groups (or a sneaky pre-wedding date with your fiancee) is the opportunity to cook a pre-arranged two-course menu under the expert guidance of the Exeter Cookery School chefs. Once you've hung up your aprons, the team will transform the room into a memorable private dining experience around the cookery school's bespoke dining area lit up with fairy lights and candles.
"The stag dos we have hosted have been full of fun and laughter, and of course, lots of flavoursome food!" says head chef, tutor and co-owner of Exeter Cookery School, Jim Fisher. "If you want to carry on after cooking with us, there are also a host of brilliant pubs, bars and restaurants within walking distance."
words Hannah May
Copyright Wed magazine 2019