The Great British Stag Party, a time honored and cherished pre-wedding tradition to celebrate what we in the US would refer to as the bachelor party. After having witnessed dozens of these all over the UK for a few years now, along with the bridal equivalent, the “Hen Party”, I have finally had the opportunity to participate in one for myself.
Over the weekend we celebrated my friend’s upcoming August nuptials by heading up north to Nottingham; yes, the home of the Sheriff and the town made famous for Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood, and of course his Merry Men.
To pay homage to the legacy made famous here, and in keeping up with the British tradition of “fancy dress”, or as Americans would say, “dressing up in costume”, we donned the uniforms of Robin Hood and His Merry Men and hit the town.
What amazes me most about these fancy dress “dos” (a “do” is an event or a celebration) is how popular and widespread they are. Instead of standing out, looking odd or misplaced, you find that there are so many other groups doing the exact same thing and it soon becomes a competition to see which group gets more attention and better reactions. It certainly makes the night more interesting and it’s disappointing that we limit ourselves to just one night a year during Halloween in the US.
Nottingham itself is small, with limited options during the day to keep you busy. Aside from the oldest pub in England, “Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem”, which was established in 1189 as an inn and public house for crusaders on their way to war, and the old castle just adjacent to it, established by William the Conqueror in 1068, there is not much else see. Wollaton Park is just outside the main city centre and its grand estate, Wollaton Hall, has been the site of a lot of films including Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, doubling as Wayne Manor. We were also lucky enough to spot the Olympic Torch as it was on tour in Nottingham's main square while we were there.
The nightlife is unsurprisingly not bad, but not great or up to par with the options in London. However, it is ranked as one of the most popular spots in the UK for Stag and Hen parties. There were certainly plenty of them out and about over the entire weekend. Perhaps not worth a day trip from London from a sightseeing perspective, but Nottingham is definitely a great weekend get away with the guys and probably exactly what you want from a Stag Weekend. -- KV