A RECORD-breaking 3,400 hens and stags descended on Brighton and Hove this bank holiday weekend. Some of the town’s businesses said they could have filled their venues three times over as an extra £1 million was predicted to have been spent in the city. KIMBERLY MIDDLETON reports.

Same sex groups sprawled semi-conscious, suitcases randomly strewn between the bodies, on the seafront yesterday.

Their exhausted faces signalled the end of a three-day weekend of pre-wedding partying.

More than 3,400 hens and stags descended on the city – and Brighton and Hove spent the bank holiday being hen-pecked as nearly 75% were reported to be women.

Recently Hen Night HQ, Britain’s biggest online seller of hen party packs, named Brighton as its number one destination in the UK.

Party organising companies have predicted up to £1million was spent in the city by the parties this weekend – with a 12% increase in the number of people choosing Brighton as their hen or stag destination this year compared to last.

Event agency ChilliSauce which did the research said the extra surge of income for the city’s economy would “surely provide a welcome economic boost”.

CEO James Baddiley said: “This May Bank Holiday is the busiest weekend of the year for stag and hen parties which means popular towns and cities will be buzzing.”

Eating breakfast on Brighton seafront in the sun on Monday morning were Stacy Henshall, 30, Helen Lowrie, Nikki Longstaff and Lisa Douglass, all 29, from Newcastle.

Stacy said the weekend had been “mental” and the group of 29 girls found most of the city’s venues “really busy”.

She added: “We did see loads of hen parties. There were definitely more hen parties than stags.”

Further along the beach was groom- to-be Phil Head along with a crowd of mates from Margate in Kent.

The 33-year-old’s mother lives in Lewes so he has been out in the city several times in the past – but said this weekend was the busiest he has seen.

He said: “It was miles busier than I have ever seen it. Genuinely packed.”

He and his friends – some still wearing their Only Fools and Horses outfits on Monday morning, complete with fake plastic watches sewn into the lining in a dodgy wheeler-dealer style – said they were “happily overwhelmed by hens”.

Phil added: “There were lots of hen dos. It was crazy.”

A group of women celebrating before Amy Hocking’s wedding on August 29 – by dressing her up as Michael Jackson and themselves as zombies – said the number of hen parties in Brighton was noticeable.

Amy said: “Last night in WooWoo there were three brides and that is only a small bar. I have had a fantastic time.”

The influx of parties to the city was not just noticed by the revellers – some of the city’s businesses said the influx of hens and stags was record-breaking.

Steve Tyler from Bar 76 Club said: “We could have sold everything three times over.

“We have been quite busy this year and the bank holidays are always busy, but that was exceptional. It’s just gone mental this weekend.

“We’ve had lots of enquiries and had to turn lots of people away.”

And there were noticeably more hens than stags in his Preston Street venue.

He added: “I think the stags tend to go abroad.”

Soozie Campbell from Brighton and Hove Tourism Alliance said stag and hen parties were a “growing trend” and a “bumper weekend” for parties would not be a surprise.

Mr Baddiley from ChilliSauce added: “The money they spend will surely be very welcome.”

Cat Goulbourne, from The Eventa Group which runs stag and hen dos, said the parties bring about £4.3million into Brighton.

She said: “Businesses are filled through the day as well as the evening and it is useful because it brings the city repeat business.

“People see how wonderful the city is, associate it with a good time and will most likely come back.”

She said she “completely understands” opponents who think stag and hens give the city a bad reputation, but added: “I completely understand where people are coming from but they don’t know about the extra revenue that it actually brings in.

“It’s sad people don’t always see the fun side of people just having a good weekend.”

A “good weekend” can sometimes turn into a bad one for those who drink more alcohol than they can handle.

Ian Chisnall from Brighton and Hove Street Pastors said the number of stag and hen groups in the city was “difficult to measure”, adding that if the city is run well stag and hen dos “don’t need to be a problem”.

He added: “They can generate wealth but it is a question of them being well managed.

“Brighton needs to be a place where people can come and enjoy themselves.”

South East Coast Ambulances said there was an increase in call-outs in Brighton and Hove over the weekend – but could not make a direct link with a large number of stag and hen groups.

A spokeswoman said: “As expected our call volume has gone up as the weather is nice and it is a bank holiday weekend. It’s not specifically due to hen and stag dos.

“As with anything like this we would suggest that if people are out and about, to drink sensibly, enjoy themselves but look out for each other and make sure people get home safely.”

A spokesman for Royal Sussex County Hospital said the Accident and Emergency Department in Brighton was “quite busy” with alcohol-related visits on Saturday and Sunday, but “no busier than normal”.

He added: “It was a typical bank holiday weekend as far as demand was concerned.”

Brighton and Hove City Council’s director of public health Tom Scanlon said: “Brighton and Hove is a vibrant and lively city where people come to have fun and the majority drink alcohol responsibly.

“While alcohol plays an important role in the city’s economy, the cost of alcohol misuse is great and binge drinking can result is significant health problems and put the personal safety of individuals at much greater risk.

“We work closely with the police and other local agencies to provide a consistent approach which supports responsible businesses and we’re currently looking at how to reduce dangerous off licence consumption, especially at high risk times of the year.

“As a city we have a range of initiatives to reduce the harm that excessive alcohol causes and this includes helping to manage the night-time economy and promoting responsible drinking.”


Eastbourne was also predicted to have a boost with 1,200 stags and hens spending £42,000 in the town on booze alone.

Proudly bearing the title of ‘sunniest place in Great Britain’, Eastbourne has started to shed its reputation for being a place for the older generation, as its popularity grows among younger crowds.

A booming student population and the arrival of more and more young professionals, favouring Eastbourne over nearby Brighton, has seen an explosion in hotspots catering to the younger crowds.

This weekend’s new Eastbourne Beer and Cider by the Sea festival was said to be one of the draws for stags and hens, by party organisation company ChilliSauce.



BUSINESSES in Brighton and Hove have reported a busy weekend as the sunshine brought visitors – and locals – into the city centre.

Soozie Campbell from Brighton and Hove Tourism Alliance said the Festival and Fringe have meant it is a busy month for the city – with restaurants fully booked on week days and hotels also reporting to have done well.

She said the bank holiday was busy in the city, adding: “It’s not even warm but everyone is desperate to see the sunshine.” David Sewell, chairman of North Laine Traders’ Association and owner of the Pavilion Gardens Cafe, said it had been a good weekend for any business with outdoor space.

He said: “All the businesses are selling ice creams and cold drinks – although to be fair we haven’t sold any up until now.

“In the last three days we have sold more ice cream than in the rest of the year.

“When the sun’s shining people spend more. Everyone wants an ice cream so people are digging into their pockets.”

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