I’ve observed a strong trend in 2016 involving stag groups seeking out slightly classier options. Lap-dancing bookings for The Stag Company declined by almost 50%, for instance, with club bookings down by 29%.
Typically, these are being replaced by gentler activities like bubble football (in which players are hilariously encumbered by inflatable balls), or simply by dinner reservations and comedy clubs. I see that continuing in 2017.
EDINBURGH: Whether its whitewater-rafting or whiskey-tasting...
The Scottish capital has been growing in popularity among stag groups looking for something a bit different. There’s a number of unique activities I’d recommend trying during the day, such as the mini-Highland Games experience and its tyre flips and tugs o’ war, or whitewater rafting on the Tay and Tummel rivers. I’ve also noticed a strong increase in malt whiskey-tasting as a daytime event, often followed by some comedy. Watch out for the Fringe festival in August however; prices spike, and hotels become near-impossible to book.
BOURNEMOUTH: Zip lines and watersports in Britain’s new activity HQ
I didn’t anticipate this a few years ago, but Bournemouth has become our top-selling destination for thrill-seeking stag groups. That’s mostly thanks to the impressive Bournemouth Pierzip, as well as climbing challenges in the RockReef activity centre. The It’s A Knockout course, based on the 70’s game show, appeals to older, nostalgic groups. Bournemouth can also be a venue for multi-watersports packages, involving windsurfing, kayaking and gentle paddleboarding.
HAMBURG: There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done...
The Beatles might have hailed from Liverpool, but they were made in Hamburg. This German city, which was previously best known for its seaport, became a hub for musical bands looking to make it big in the ‘60s. Whether it’s Hamburg Zoo or the Miniatur Wunderland, there is plenty to see; most impressive is the new Elbphilharmonie concert hall. Start your day off with a cruise along the Elbe River, before warding off hunger pangs with a classic Bavarian feast, followed by a brewery tour.
PRAGUE: From ice hockey to scenic coffee
Prague was our best-seller last year, chiefly thanks to the vast range of activities available on offer and relatively low prices. Visit during winter and you can book Czech-league ice hockey tickets, something quite unique to us Brits, and try tobogganing. Whitewater-rafting is again an option, while the cultural options include Prague Castle and coffee-sipping on Wenceslas Square. To ensure the groom makes it home safely, touch the statue of St John of Nepomuk on handsome Charles Bridge – this supposedly brings good luck.
BRISTOL: Bushcraft weekends and British Bake Off lessons
We arrange survival and bushcraft weekends to grooms who prefer fitness to fancy dress, and outdoor challenges to drinking games. Run by an ex-military instructor, you’ll learn to live without technology and get in touch with nature. If that sounds a bit too trying, why not try 18 holes of golf? Bristol is surrounded by some great courses. And fans of the Great British Bake Off series can try Bake With A Legend, where you will be trained by a former contestant of the show.