GUEST BLOG: ‘Stag and hen parties harm our city’

April 10, 2012 5 Comments »
GUEST BLOG: ‘Stag and hen parties harm our city’


The Stag Company says "a few bad apples" lead to negative new stories about stag and hen parties in cities like Cardiff.

Last week, The Stag Company wrote a blog post on why Cardiff shouldn’t be ashamed of its reputation as a “stag do party city”.

The firm, which organises tailor-made stag parties for grooms-to-be, admitted stag and hen parties suffer from an “image crisis”, but its web content editor Mark Booth said most of these weekends actually pass off without negative incident, and that the £3.5 million stag and hen parties bring into Cardiff each year cannot be ignored.

So is he right? Are stag and hen parties good for our city? Cardiff resident and blogger Jennifer Burke doesn’t think so. Here she talks about why she thinks stag and hen dos obscure all the other great things Cardiff has going for it.

“Think of a stag or hen do and you’re immediately drawn to fancy dress, L Plates, and alcohol.

Cardiff has gained a slot on the list of “go to places” for such rites of passage, but has the trend for these festivities in our city harmed Cardiff’s reputation as a lovely place to visit and a brilliant place to live? I think so.

There is no denying that they bring a massive boost to our economy – the value of stag and hen parties to Cardiff reportedly stood at £3.5 million last year. But there are other things to do in Cardiff other than dress in silly outfits and get horrendously drunk that go unnoticed because of its reputation as a stag and hen hotspot.

Cardiff is full to the brim with fantastic things to do for all budgets – from free museums and art galleries, to the castle, boutiques, restaurants and fantastic one off gems. Cardiff does have a wide range of bars, clubs and bistros, but drinking to excess isn’t the only thing that Cardiff should be (or is) known for.

We’re not alone, as UK cities go, in having a well known drinking quarter. But surely as a city we should take steps to make it known what else we can offer brides and grooms-to-be, other than cheap shots?

I moved to Cardiff two years ago but have been coming since I was a kid – I’ve seen Cardiff grow from a small capital to a bustling, diverse hub with so much more to offer.

I routinely set out to find out what these things are and have always been pleasantly surprised by what Cardiff has to offer me.

Should our local council and tourist board do more to encourage visiting hens and stags to explore what’s on our doorstep, beyond the nearest bar?

Probably, but until we move away from a drinking culture on a national scale, we can’t hope to achieve that on a local basis. Stag and hen parties aren’t the root cause of drinking culture, but we can still expect loud and messy partiers crawling up and down St Mary Street on weekends – to the detriment of our city.”

Do you agree with Jennifer? Or think stag and hen parties can benefit Cardiff? Let us know by commenting below, Tweeting @yourcardiff or e-mail

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  1. thestagcompany April 10, 2012 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    Interesting post, Jennifer. It's a worthwhile debate, for sure. I just feel as though stag and hen weekends are unfairly dismissed as 100% bad, without anyone wishing to look at the other side of the argument. it's refreshing that this site has seen it fit to open up the debate to both sides. Britain has always had a culture of binge drinking and it probably always will, I think it's something we're well set-up as a nation to deal with in its extremest forms. Aside from obvious health implications, it's not exactly something that we should be unduly worried by. Interested in what others think though :)

  2. David Coombes April 10, 2012 at 9:57 pm - Reply

    The value of stag and hen parties to most major UK cities is a considerable sum but we at believe there is greater income to be had by changing the mindset of parties from binge drinking to the original roots of stag and hen parties: celebrating a forthcoming wedding. Unfortunately 'celebrating' in the UK is now synonymous with binge drinking, which is something we should be trying much harder to move away from as a nation. I completely agree with Jennifer that stag and hen do's can experience so much more during their parties than simply the pub, which to be honest is a lazy, irresponsible way of organising a party. You can read our views in more detail:

  3. Lee Clarke April 11, 2012 at 4:51 pm - Reply

    An interesting post indeed. Unfortunately there are always going to be a few idiots in any group that spoil a night out – but is this retricted to stag and hen parties? I've seen countless groups going way overboard with their drinking – students, birthdays, football tours, rugby tours, work bashes – even groups of off-duty policemen! At we have tried to encourage our groups to sample different activities to make it a weekend to remember but unfortunately free museums, art galleries, castles and boutiques aren't really what most groups look for in a fun weekend. I agree that until we move away from a drinking culture on a national scale, we can’t hope to achieve it on a local basis. There are, however, many more towns and cities thoughout the UK and Europe that offer an alternative to Cardiff – – offers over 60 destinations – let's hope we can help take the weight off Cardiff's shoulders.

  4. Paul April 11, 2012 at 8:25 pm - Reply

    The UK will never will never move away from a drinking culture. It doesn't matter what the government (I'm thinking the proposed minimum pricing scheme here!!) binge drinking is ingrained in our culture.

    Cardiff may have a reputation for stag and hen dos but I am confident that it is known for more than just this kind of activity. In any case, Cardiff Council and South Wales Police are working well together to destroy any nightlife in the city centre with their stupid and inflexible saturation zone policy. Just look at the wonderful buildings left to decay and deteriorate on St Mary's Street (Life/Liquid and The Square) because any planning application is automatically opposed. Sledgehammer to crack a nut scenario here I think!!

  5. @chillisauce April 12, 2012 at 3:23 pm - Reply

    It's an interesting debate which seems to come up all the time – from pretty much every city (if not all). One issue is that perception often differs dramatically from reality. As Jennifer says "Think of a stag or hen do and you’re immediately drawn to fancy dress, L Plates, and alcohol" – although it is not to say there is no association, do you notice the stag and hen parties that don't go around in L-Plates? Off course not, but that is not to say that there are not a very significant (probably the majority) that don't.

    Speaking for a company that organises hen and stag weekends (, we know that over 99% of customers we sell to do activities and events during the day that could not be further from the L-Plates and alcohol theme – The most popular things our customers do in Cardiff on their stag and hen weekends, are Cliff Jumping, Coasteering, White Water Rafting, Quab Biking, Clay Pigeon Shooting, Orienteering, Mountain Biking, Mountain Boarding etc etc. Of course at the end of the day they will more than likely go out to clubs etc and have a good time and have a drink (as they would do with any celebration), but (as far as our customers are concerned anyway) this is only part of the event.

    By always selling daytime activities, it keeps the guys and girls out of the pubs until the evening, which goes an very long way to stopping the problems of excessive drinking – which happens when you have groups going out that have nothing to do during the daytime other than drink. So essentially I do agree with Jennifer in that the local council and tourist board should encourage visiting stag and hens to do more than just drink – which is exactly what we do:

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