Harrogate Hen Shenanigans

A week ago today I was here:

And it was HEAVENLY. For those who haven’t been or don’t recognise it, the picture above was taken in the Turkish baths in Harrogate, where I spent the first few hours of my hen do last weekend.

The entire weekend was meticulously planned by my bridesmaids. On the Friday lunchtime I arrived at Kings Cross Station, where I was suitably adorned with a veil and (classy) sash, given a glass of fizz (the first of many) and met by a gaggle of gorgeous girls to travel up to Harrogate with. Our journey got off to an excellent start when the lovely Richard from Virgin Trains, gave us a few extra chilled bottles of prosecco for free. What a ledge!

 

Practicing those smiles for the wedding

 

Excited/ apprehensive/ gin-downing face

The apartments in Harrogate were beautiful and perfect for a hen do. We had apartments across 5 floors, with a big kitchen and living room in the bottom flat for hanging out together and playing games. We arrived around 5pm, dropped off our bags and did a speedy turnaround back out to the Turkish Baths (which are situated in the same building as a Chinese restaurant – causing me much confusion that we were about to go for dinner instead!)

The baths were originally opened in 1897 and were said at the time to be the most advanced hydrotherapy centre in the world. Having gone through various periods of popularity and decline and with a number of famous clientele (we were reliably informed that Agatha Christie regularly visited), in the late 90s, as a result of various grants and partnerships, the baths were lovingly restored to their former Victorian beauty: beautiful mosaic floors, theatre-style changing rooms, fine polished dark wood surfaces and brightly coloured glazed bricks. Combined with how pristine the baths are kept, they may well be up there as some of the most beautiful I have ever visited. And if you don’t believe me, check out the photos:

  
  
There is a steam room, one huge sauna with two levels and a FREEEEZING plunge pool. The sauna is tiled and the layout is very sociable, with space to sit on chairs or sit around the outside of the room on the tiles. The top level was around 80 degrees so my kind of heat too!

It was such a perfect start to my hen do: relaxing with all my friends and doing what I love to do! Harrogate Turkish Baths easily gets some of my top rankings yet:

COST: I was treated to the entire hen by my sisters and did not put my hand in my purse all weekend (I know, I am totally spoilt). But I have been reliably informed that while it certainly isn’t cheap, the Harrogate spa is good value for money and isn’t extortionately expensive. More information on price is available on their website.

CLEANLINESS: 5/5

IN THREE WORDS: HEAVEN, HEAVEN, HEAVEN!!!

For more information on Harrogate Turkish Baths and its facilities go to: http://www.turkishbathsharrogate.co.uk

After the baths, we headed back to the apartment to have pizza and prosecco, play a few games and catch up with everyone.

On Saturday, after a fair amount of teasing directed my way about the day ahead, we arrived via minibus to How Stean Gorge to go gorge walking and abseiling. Now anyone who knows me will tell you that I like a challenge and I love the great outdoors so a hen activity right up my ally. But I would be telling a big fat lie if I said I wasn’t quite apprehensive about how cold the water was going to be!! And I was right to be – it was FREEEEZING!! We abseiled down into the water in our wetsuits and hard hats and once we were all down were thrown straight in (literally) – submerged shoulder deep into the water! There were a few unhappy faces (me included!!) as we started off, but as the water in our suits warmed up and we started to get the hang of it and work as a team, we began to successfully conquer How Stean Gorge and made it out alive and feeling pretty damn proud that we did! Just to show you how hardcore (and in hindsight how beautiful) it really was, here are a few photos:
   After we got out and changed, I was treated to THE best hot chocolate I have ever tasted and then we jumped on the minibus and headed back to the apartments.

As fancy dress has featured pretty heavily in my adult life and in my university life with RBJ, I was under no illusion that I would be wearing any of my own clothes out on Saturday night. And the girls did not disappoint! I was dressed up in a red tartan dress, with pop socks and a wee scottie dog called Russell who I became particularly fond of and was told not to part from all evening (which I didn’t until the end!!):

My bridesmaids also wore tartan dresses and then the rest of the girls wore something tartan: too:

Bridesmaids 🙂

My gorgeous big sister

Lucky Russell

Mummy McV

The girls 🙂

Crop top wedding dress anyone?

The night was filled with so many fun games, including a wedding dress making challenge with white bin bags (and live catwalk!), a live Mr and Mrs (they filmed RBJs answers and played them back) and the obligatory pin the willy on my naked husband to be (no, not ACTUALLY him – a poster with his head stuck on it!). We also had willy straws, “Lornie’s hen” tattoos, photo challenges, vow writing, steak and A LOT of bubbles!!! And finished off with a suitably cheesy dance floor at the Viper Rooms in Harrogate where I danced until my feet gave up!

So a big fat thank you to my bridesmaids for organising such a splendid weekend and to my friends for all coming. 36 sleeps until I do …

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