After months and months of planning and perhaps fretting a little, it’s time to gather together a group of your favourite people and head off somewhere really good for a hen weekend, to raise a glass to that not-so-far-away big day and your new life as a Mrs. You won’t go wrong with Ortus House, it’s absolutely perfect for those more sophisticated girly weekends away, and if you’re thinking of arranging some sort of outing or activity then you’ll be spoilt for choice.

If your visit coincides with a race day at Salisbury Racecourse you can get all done up, big hats and that, and head off to cheer on the nags; if you prefer to actually get on them then get in touch with Brockenhurst Riding Stables and book up to see the beautiful sights of the New Forest on horseback. Maybe you’re an adventurous bunch and you’d like something more lively like Delta Force Paintballing or Houdini's Escape Room Experience at Southampton; the idea of a swing through the trees on the high ropes at Go Ape Moors Valley might appeal, or if you go to New Forest Activities you can look forward to canoeing, kayaking or archery.

But maybe your crew are the refined types who would rather go for a gentle stroll in the forest, or a spiffer of an old-fashioned picnic at Hatchet Pond. Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary is quite an experience, and if you like beautiful gardens and big old houses, a visit to Mottisfont Abbey or Furzey Gardens should tick the right boxes. If you all like a bit of retail therapy… well, a tough choice awaits you! Perhaps a day in the city at Southampton, or Portsmouth where there’s a very good outlet at Gunwharf Quays; you’ll all come back laden with bags! What about a spot of pampering? You could go to Limewood Hotel in Lyndhurst or to Chewton Glen Hotel, and tie it in with a leisurely lunch or afternoon tea.

And that’s another matter, where to eat. Luckily there are several very good places in the village or within a few miles; the nearest is the Waterloo Arms just down the road (tottering distance), but there’s also an excellent gastro pub, the Fox & Hounds, and the Oak Inn or the Trusty Servant at Minstead are good. If you like Italian go to La Pergola in Lyndhurst, or for authentic Asian cuisine there’s Anissa’s Thai Kitchen. Back at base you can get together for a session in the steam room, relax in the hot tub or lark about in the outdoor or indoor infinity pools. No doubt there’ll be plenty of stories to tell at the wedding! Don’t dally, have a look at the availability calendar and book your hen weekend now.

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