What to ask potential wedding suppliers?

So the question has been ‘popped’, you’ve started making plans and are beginning to get a feel for how you’d like your wedding to be.

Now may be the time to consider going to a wedding fair. Here at Rockbeare Manor, near Exeter in Devon, we’ve exhibited at a couple of fairs recently, and it made us think about some of the questions that visitors often ask us. There are so many great companies, from venues to florists, bands to cake makers, providing services for weddings in Devon, it can be hard to choose. We think a wedding fair is a great place to find out what’s on offer.

Wedding Fair in Exeter, Devon

Here’s our guide to some of the best questions to ask potential suppliers before ‘doing the deal’.

  1. Are they likely to be available on your proposed date?

It might seem obvious, but there is no point in taking this any further if the venue, band, caterer or florist isn’t free on the date that you’d like to get married. If you’re happy to be flexible, they may well have a discount available for out of season, or mid-week weddings so it’s worth asking this early on.

  1. Do they have examples of other weddings they’ve done?

If it’s a venue that you’re talking to, ask them to show you images and talk through examples of other weddings they’ve done in the past. At Rockbeare Manor, we’re always very happy to show you photographs of the venue when it’s set up for a event to help you visualise how the rooms transform. We love talking about ‘all things wedding’ and can share ideas of the various styles and themes that have taken place in our venue too.

Rockbeare Manor at Wedding Fair in Exeter, Devon

  1. How much will they charge?

You may feel that having a discussion about final costs can wait until further down the line, however we think it’s vital to get this information early on. If the estimate that the supplier provides for you is vastly different to your budget, you may well need to be prepared to walk away.  Don’t feel despondent – there is great choice out there, and something for everyone.

An honest guideline of costs is imperative and it is something that every supplier should give you willingly. If you feel like there may be hidden extras or if it’s difficult pinning down a final cost it might be best looking elsewhere.

  1. Are you able to ‘try before you buy?’

Especially in the case of cake providers and caterers! At wedding fairs it’s quite usual for there to be samples for you to try so make the most of it.  You’ll also often find photo booths to hop in and have a go, live music to listen to, and food stalls to explore and it’s here that you can get first-hand experience of the product. In the case of a DJ or a band, if you can’t attend one of their gigs (which is the best way to be sure that you like them) they should be prepared to send an example playlist and video links to previous performances that they have done.

Wedding cake at wedding fair in Exeter, Devon

  1. Are they able to recommend any other suppliers?

Most wedding suppliers will have worked closely with other companies from the local area and will no doubt have some great suggestions of those that they feel offer a fantastic service. At Rockbeare Manor, we are happy to chat to you about the companies that have worked reliably and professionally at weddings and special events that we have held.

Remember, planning your wedding should be fun and enjoyable! We love helping couples bring their vision into a reality and if you choose Rockbeare Manor as your venue, our experienced team are here to help in whichever way we can throughout the wedding planning process.

Photos courtesy of the wonderful Mel at http://www.maxiphotography.com/

Wedding Fair in Exeter, Devon

 

Happy New Year!

Wow, what a year it’s been!

Rockbeare Manor, Exeter, Devon

It was on Sunday 10th January 2016 that we opened the doors at Rockbeare Manor for the very first time, to newly engaged couples looking for their perfect Devon wedding venue. At the time we were only 2 months into a very intensive 10 month renovation programme and so we were naturally a little apprehensive about what the reaction of the potential brides and grooms would be.  The Ballroom was really just a shell – covered in scaffolding with a concrete floor, there were other rooms that hadn’t been decorated in nearly eighty years, and what is now a beautifully light and airy Atrium, was boarded over awaiting the feature skylight. But, we hoped that everyone would see through the temporary disarray and be able to visulise the incredible change that it was going through.  And Phew…they did!

From that first day, we met couples that went onto book their wedding with us, some for as early as August that year so it really was a very exciting time.Bride in Drawing Room at Rockbeare Manor, Exeter, Devon

Our first event was in June – a formal dinner and party for 130 guests (no pressure then!), but of course it all went smoothly and the atmosphere was fabulous. We were all so thrilled to be welcoming people to our brand new Devon venue, something that we are all incredibly proud of and so the smiles were permanently on our faces.

We were then lucky enough to be chosen as the venue to host Exeter Chiefs player Tom Johnson’s launch party for his Testimonial Year. The weather couldn’t have been better, the music was creating a really relaxed vibe and the invited guests enjoyed Prosecco and canapés on the South Lawns on a balmy summers evening.

Rockbeare Manor, Exeter, Devon - South Lawns and Ballroom

Since then, it’s been non-stop (and great fun!) with photo-shoots and masterclasses, stunning weddings, Christmas parties and corporate events and it was topped off when The Wedding Industry Awards selected us as a regional finalist for ‘Best Countryside Venue’, and ‘Best Newcomer’ for the whole of the South West.  Awards are given purely on votes and feedback from couples that have been married at the venue and so that really did mean a lot to us.

Bride in the Drawing Room at Rockbeare Manor, Exeter, Devon Sweeping staircase floral arrangements at Rockbeare Manor, Exeter, Devon

So, what does 2017 hold for us?  Well, naturally we’ll be hosting lots more amazing events – it’s what we love, and we’ll be making each and every one really memorable for those hosting or attending an event with us. Our team will also be growing so we look forward to welcoming some new, super-talented people to Rockbeare Manor in the coming months.  Finally, we have very nearly completed the refurbishment of twelve luxury bedrooms within the house which will be available for guests as of March so we’ll make sure we give you a sneak preview of those very soon.

So from all of us here at Rockbeare Manor, we wish you all a very happy, fun-filled New Year with lots of laughter, love and dancing!

We hope to see you in 2017.

The South Pavilion at sunset. Rockbeare Manor, Exeter, Devon.

 

 

4 Wedding and Event Floristry Tips

 

Floristry Masterclass at Rockbeare ManorFloristry Masterclass at Rockbeare ManorFloristry Masterclass at Rockbeare Manor

Flowers play a hugely important part in the wedding industry. So here at Rockbeare Manor, as one of Devon’s newest, exclusive hire wedding venues, it was our pleasure to host a Floristry Masterclass for people who have an interest in the industry, and also for engaged couples to get inspiration for their own wedding flowers.  Recently we welcomed 15 visitors to Rockbeare Manor, to take part in a Floristry Masterclass with Floral Designer, Sabine Darrall.

Over the course of two days, attendees had the opportunity to create some stunning floral arrangements, on mantelpieces and on the beautiful banister going up our main spiral staircase at Rockbeare.

Floristry Masterclass at Rockbeare ManorFlowers cascading down staircase at Rockbeare ManorFloristry Masterclass at Rockbeare Manor

This got us thinking about flowers, and some of the arrangements we’ve seen here at Rockbeare and we’d like to share some of our wedding and event floristry tips with you:

1. Ask your florist for advice:

The chances are that your florist may have styled weddings in your venue before, but even if not, they will have a wealth of experience that you can draw upon from other wedding venues that they have worked in. Ask them for advice about what’s worked and what hasn’t. They’ll no doubt come up with lots of ideas as to where flowers will have maximum impact and look the most striking. At Rockbeare Manor we’ve chosen a neutral, warm and contemporary colour palette that will work with any colour scheme or floral style that you wish to have. We can also put you in touch with a number of local florists that we’ve worked with in the past.

2. Plan how to get the most use from your arrangements on the wedding day:

Your florist will also be able to help make suggestions as to how you can get the most use out of your arrangements. For instance, are you going to be using the ceremony room again later in the day? If not, why not move those flowers to your top table so that they can be enjoyed by you and your guests all day long.

3. Think about the flowers that are in season before making your final decision:

Choosing flowers that are in season should mean that they’ll be easy to get hold of at the time of your wedding, as well as reducing the impact that importing flowers from overseas would have on the planet. Choosing a flower combination that is easily available should also reduce the overall cost, as can buying locally grown flowers. Here in Devon, we’re very lucky to have some very talented local growers (for instance, Bespoke Confetti, The Flower Field and Flowers From The Farm.

Some flowers are available regardless of the time of year, such as Alstromeria, Anthurium, Aster, Bouvardia, Carnation, Chrysanthemum, Daisy,  Lily and Asiatic Lily.

If you are unsure of where to start, we’ve listed some examples of seasonal flowers that are usually easy to source in Devon:

Winter / early spring –Ranunculus, Tulips, Snowdrops, Anemone, Daffodils, Crocuses

Late spring / early summer – Lily of the Valley, Rose, Peony, Carnation

Late summer / early autumn – Sunflowers, Dahlia, Hydrangea, Sweet Pea, Sweet William

Autumn / winter – Hypericum, Holly, Lilac, Muscari, Winter Jasmine, Heathers

4. Use Pinterest – but be prepared to be flexible:

We’ve found that many of the couples getting married at Rockbeare Manor use Pinterest for inspiration when planning their wedding and we would agree that it’s a helpful tool.  You can really get a sense of the style and colours that you are drawn to and how they may fit in with the overall look of your wedding.  Our advice would be to be use it for ideas, but still try to be flexible if needed.  To avoid disappointment, try not to set your heart on anything before talking through the practicalities of it, in terms of logistics, budget and season with your florist.

 

Introducing Ben Upton – Head Chef at Rockbeare Manor

Meet Ben – Head Chef at Rockbeare Manor – Rugby, Fishing and Camping fan and all-round lovely guy!

Ben Upton - Head Chef

 

Where did it all start?

I was 14 and did some work experience in a bakery in Thame. I really enjoyed creating the produce and would have really liked to become a baker, but I received some sound advice from my boss at the time who said that it might be best to develop a wider range of skills.

As soon as I started my formal training at college I knew that I wanted to become a Chef – something just clicked, I loved it.  I have worked at lots of different outside events over the years; Twickenham, Wentworth, Woburn and I was also lucky enough to spend some time at the Savoy.  It was there that I really got to experience a fine dining environment, which really inspired me to progress my career in this industry.    

I have very fond memories of Combe House Hotel in Devon where I worked for over 15 years, culminating in a role as a Sous Chef. I enjoyed every moment. The atmosphere that was created by serving exceptional food in such a grand country house drew people from far and wide.  I was really excited though when the opportunity arose at Rockbeare Manor near Exeter; it’s great to be part of the team in this new phase of it’s life, turning from family home to a wedding and special events venue.  The refurbishment has been completed to such a high standard and in a sensitive way. The house works perfectly as a venue – there are bright spacious areas to chat, dance and chill. I’m really glad to be a part of such a great project.

What do you love most about what you do?

Experimenting and creating food that people find pleasurable to eat which encourages them to go away talking about their experience. Food is always changing and that makes the job so interesting. You are always learning something new and there are always different ideas to explore.

What is your favourite thing to cook?

I still have a passion for cooking bread with lots of different flavours, and if not at work I’ll do this with my children at home, teaching them about where food comes from and how it is made. However, you cannot beat pan-fried trout especially if you’ve caught it yourself. I do enjoy cooking most types of seafood and fish…linguine packed full of local seafood or sea bass fillets with sauce vierge. Alternatively, you can’t beat a rare fillet steak served with a rich red wine reduction and wild mushroom beignet.

Who are your inspirations?

Tom Kerridge cooks my kind of food, and I also think that Phil Howard at The Square is fantastic – the attention to detail his dishes have is second to none and his cookbook is one that I use at home a lot. 

And of course my gran who was a fantastic cook – eating was an event and she made the best treacle tart!

How do you spend your down-time?

My favourite day out is spent on the beach with family – normally involving a spot of sea fishing for mackerel which I’ll then barbecue on the beach. I also love course fishing, and more recently I’ve been trying fly fishing too. I love visiting the amazing coastlines that Devon and the South West has to offer – so I’ll often go camping with friends and family where we enjoy lots of outdoor eating, long dog walks and relaxed evenings.

Where would you go for dinner?

I have been to many of the great restaurants over the years, Pied à Terre was one of the best, but the restaurant that I would recommend to anyone is Rick Steins seafood restaurant in Padstow.  The whole experience was superb – the ambience, the service, the food – it was a complete package whilst feeling relaxed and welcoming.  Locally, we’ll visit the Otter pub and sit by the river while the kids have a paddle and we have a bite to eat. It’s really family friendly.

What trends do you see?

Eating out is becoming much more relaxed and sociable.  There has been a big shift in our clients choosing sharing foods and platters instead of more formal three course meals and I think this is going to continue for a while still. I’ve noticed people taking more of an interest in where their food is sourced as well – they care about how ethically produced the menu is and that’s really important.  It’s something that I feel really strongly about and so at Rockbeare Manor our focus isn’t on the cost of our produce, it’s on the quality, where it comes from (the more local the better) and the flavours we can create with it.  We cook from scratch – everything that we possibly can, to make sure that the guest experience is the best it can possibly be.

 

 

The History of Wedding Traditions and Superstitions

Photography by www.photographybyjd-weddings.co.uk

Here at Rockbeare Manor, our exclusive wedding venue near Exeter in Devon, we know a thing or two about weddings! Our team have been planning weddings for quite a number of years at our other two wedding venues which are in North Somerset, Coombe Lodge and Priston Mill, and so now we are so excited to bring our expertise to Devon, where at Rockbeare Manor where we will continue to create memorable weddings for all of our lovely clients.

Weddings go back a long, long time in history; they have been a core part of society for thousands of years, bringing people together in celebration of the unity of two people, but do you know where the most common wedding traditions and superstitions come from?

Stag Parties:

The history of stag parties goes all the way back to the 5th century.  The first record of such a party was made by the Spartans where the men would gather together with the groom, the night before his wedding, to drink and celebrate his last single night. Things haven’t really changed since, although bachelor parties rarely happen the night before the wedding anymore, for obvious reasons!

Fun Fact: Stag parties or Bachelor parties are known as ‘Bucks’ parties in Australia and ‘enterrement de vie de garcon’ in France which means ‘the burial of the life as a boy’.

Hen Parties:

Although stag parties have been around for centuries, the same cannot be said for bachelorette parties or ‘hen’ parties, as they are known in the UK. It wasn’t until the late 1960’s that hen parties were established. Before then, bridal showers were the only time that the bride had to celebrate her wedding with her friends. However, hen parties have grown immensely since they were established; and are now a very popular event for bride-to-be’s.

Fun Fact: Hen parties are known as ‘stagettes’ in Canada.

Flowers:

The tradition of having flowers at your wedding has been around for centuries; although the kind of flowers which brides use have changed dramatically! In the Middle Ages, brides would carry bouquets made of fragrant herbs and garlic bulbs, which was believed to ward off any evil spirits that may be lingering around the ceremony. Thankfully, we have left this tradition in the past, and today brides have a vast amount of choice when it comes to the flowers in their bouquets which also have a more pleasant fragrance.

White wedding dress:

This tradition has been accredited to Queen Victoria; although some brides did wear white dresses to their weddings before Queen Victoria did, she is said to have started the trend. Before this, brides would wear their best dress on their wedding day, unless they could afford to buy a new dress especially for the big day.

Fun Fact: It used to be custom for brides and their bridesmaids to wear the same dresses on the wedding day; this was to confuse any evil spirits, so that they would not know who the real bride was and could not disrupt the wedding ceremony.

Day of the week:

There is an old folk rhyme which said that getting married on different days of the week meant different things:

Monday for health,

Tuesday for wealth,

Wednesday best of all,

Thursday for losses,

Friday for crosses,

Saturday for no luck at all.

It seems that Saturday was not a very popular choice for getting married in the Middle Ages, something which has definitely changed today – a large proportion of weddings now take place on a Saturday.

Something old, something new…:

Everybody knows the old wedding rhyme which states the different things which a bride should wear on her wedding day to bring her marriage luck. All of these things had different symbolism behind them:

Something old represents continuity with the past

Something new denotes optimism for the future

Something borrowed signifies community

Something blue symbolizes purity, fidelity and love.

This is mainly a British custom and comes from an Old English Rhyme. It is still incorporated into weddings today, with brides ensuring that they have one of each of these items to help bring luck to their wedding day.

Fun Fact: In the Hindu tradition, it is considered good luck if it rains on your wedding day.  Good news for brides here in the UK!

If you would like to discuss having your perfect wedding here at Rockbeare Manor, then contact us today. We’d love to hear from you and chat through your ideas. www.rockbearemanor.co.uk Telephone: 01392 797444.

Top 5 Tips for Success at Wedding Fairs

bride and bridesmaids

Wedding: Bride and Bridesmaids

We are very excited to be attending The Wedding Show at Westpoint Arena on the 8-9 October. As Devon’s newest wedding venue, we can’t wait to be able to talk to future bride and grooms, and show them what we can do here at Rockbeare Manor to make their day special.

Wedding fairs are a great resource for all engaged couples; they are a fantastic place to go where you can see lots of different wedding suppliers in your area and to get amazing ideas for your special day.

The Wedding Show is no exception; there are going to be over 170 different regional wedding suppliers, from photographers and cake makers to venues (like us!) and entertainers. It is the biggest wedding fair in Devon, and is not to be missed. As well as the best selection of wedding suppliers in the South West, there will also be live music and entertainment, a champagne bar and a choreographed catwalk show with all the latest bridal fashions.

Although wedding fairs are a great place to go in preparation for your wedding, they can also be overwhelming. There are so many suppliers there that it can seem impossible to see them all, which means that you may miss out on something which you would love for your wedding. But fear not, we have a list of things to think about when attending a wedding fair which will ensure that you get the most out of it.

Top 5 Tips for attending a wedding fair:

  1. Research: have a look at the different suppliers that are going to be at the wedding fair, then make a list of the ones which you really want to speak to. When you get there, head to those suppliers first and then afterwards you can spend the rest of the day going around the other suppliers without worrying about missing your favourites.
  2. Talk: when you go to the different stands, it is a good idea to stay for a while and chat to the vendor about their product/service. You could get some valuable tips from them or some great ideas which you hadn’t thought of.
  3. Don’t feel pressured: It may be tempting to commit to a variety of suppliers, especially if they are offering a discount or special offer. Always remember that you are not obligated to purchase anything, and don’t feel pressured into it. Take your time and get their contact details so that if you go away and decide that you would like to purchase from them, you can contact them later.
  4. Take your time: Make sure that you take your time whilst at the wedding fair. Don’t feel like you have to see every supplier. Wedding fairs are meant to be a fun way to explore the different options for your wedding, so take your time whilst you are there and enjoy it.
  5. Try before you potentially buy: Some suppliers will have samples of their work, don’t be afraid to try them out. Especially when it comes to cake samples! If there is a makeup demonstration you are interested in, then try it out. You have nothing to lose, and you could find the perfect look for your wedding.

If you would like to find out any more information about The Wedding Show at Westpoint Arena, then you can find it here. Tickets are £5 per person, or £15 for 4 people, alternatively if you would like to wait until the day then tickets on the door are £7.50.

National Heritage Day at Rockbeare Manor

We had such fun last weekend. Not only did we welcome 100 guests to Rockbeare Manor for the wedding of Nick and Marie on Saturday 10th, we also opened our doors to the public for the first time since the completion of our renovations.  Sunday 11th September is National Heritage Day and as part of this UK-wide event we welcomed the opportunity to throw open the gates to members of the surrounding villages, Exeter, and the South West for family fun, tours of the house, nature trails and garden games.

Rockbeare Manor National Heritage Day

Up until last September Rockbeare Manor had been a family home and so this was the first time in it’s 250 year history that it was open to the general pubic and the interest was such that we had nearly 600 guests attend during the afternoon.  We were one of 5,000 locations taking part in the National Heritage Open Days scheme which is a celebration of our fantastic history, architecture and culture. It’s a chance for people to see hidden places and try out new experiences – all of which are free to explore.

 Children enjoying National Heritage Day at Rockbeare Manor

Exeter and East Devon Growth Point, part of East Devon District Council, had a fabulous team that put together the nature trails which included making stick-men and clay faces on trees, mini-beast hunting and lots more.

Children making clay faces on trees at Rockbeare Manor in Devon

Mini-beast hunting by the lake at Rockbeare Manor in Devon

Every guest was greeted by a yummy selection of our Chef’s homemade carrot cake, lemon drizzle cake and scones with jam and Devonshire clotted cream, as well as our local Four Elms Farm Apple Juice (who are also based in Devon), some Elderflower, and Prosecco too!

 We were absolutely thrilled that so many people came to join us for such a vibrant day, and it was brilliant to meet them all and to see them enjoying the house and gardens.  Rockbeare Manor has been through a real transformation in the last year of which we are very proud, and so this seemed like the ideal opportunity for people to come and have a look, and spend the afternoon in such a fun and relaxed way.

 Family fun on National Heritage Day at Rockbeare Manor

New Devon Venue Hosts It’s First Wedding

Julian Harris and Claire Bowler are the first couple to get married at Rockbeare Manor

Julian Harris and Claire Bowler

Here at Rockbeare Manor we are getting excited about our first wedding which takes place this Saturday. We talked to Julian Harris and Claire Bowler from Exeter who are putting the finishing touches to a very personal ceremony. They are the first couple to marry at Rockbeare Manor in its 250-year history.

Tell us about the proposal:

 Claire: ‘It was a complete surprise. We had been on a beach holiday in Cornwall and on the last day we were at Bantham when Julian got down on one knee and proposed and I said yes! Beaches have been a theme through our relationship, our first date was at Dawlish, and because of this they are featuring in our wedding. We have named tables after our favourite beaches and created natural centrepieces featuring sand and shells.’

You have really put your own stamp on this wedding haven’t you:

Julian: ‘Claire is very creative and we wanted to try and do as much of it as we could, although I’m not sure where she has found the time. The thing about Rockbeare Manor is you can make it your own and that is what we have done.’

Claire: ‘It has been great fun planning it, we are doing lots ourselves and we have really been able to put our stamp on the whole wedding.’

Tell us about why you chose Rockbeare Manor:

 Claire: ‘We heard about Rockbeare Manor through a friend, at that time it was right in the middle of being refurbished, and even though the work wasn’t done, we could see what an amazing place it was and knew it was right for us. We didn’t look at any other Devon wedding venues – we just knew. I said we have to get married there, it’s beautiful – I just fell in love with it.’

What were your first impressions?

 Julian: ‘As Claire said, the house was mid-refurbishment, but from the minute you drive through the entranceway, with the huge pillars, you know there is something special ahead. We thought it was absolutely beautiful and such a special place for our wedding.’

What do you think of the house now it is finished?

 Claire: ‘It is amazing, even better than we could have imagined. We are so excited to be sharing our special day at this beautiful house with all our friends and family.’

The History of Rockbeare Manor – Devon’s most exciting wedding venue

Rockbeare Manor

Rockbeare Manor is the true essence of a family home. This wonderful property, which was built in 1760 and later sold to the Nation family in 1855 has remained with that family ever since, passing from generation to generation – until its new lease of life this year when it reopened as an exclusive wedding and events venue following a meticulous refurbishment.

The property’s long and rich history can be traced back to the 14th century when it was under the ownership of Matilda, Countess of Gloucester. Although at that time it was less of a manor house and resembled more of an agricultural property. Since then it’s passed through many different families who all made alterations to the grounds, including the introduction of a manor house in the middle of the 18th century.

The most significant alterations made to Rockbeare Manor came from Thomas Porter who bought the house in 1815. He built the upper story of the manor and also built the walled garden. Little remains of the historical features of the house before its update in the early 19th century, however it has retained its Regency period features which create a timeless elegance to its façade and inner reception rooms.

It is this elegance that makes Rockbeare Manor one of the most exciting, exclusive wedding venues in Devon.

The property has now been acquired from the family and undergone a sensitive refurbishment, restoring it to its former glory.  The new  ‘custodians’ PM Hospitality, have fulfilled their vision of creating a beautiful space where weddings and celebrations could take place within a spectacular setting reminiscent of a Jane Austen novel. The setting of the manor could not be more perfect; surrounded by the beautiful Devon countryside with acres of parkland the romantic aspects of the house are plain to see. It truly is the perfect place to have your wedding ceremony or a private party.

After sensitively restoring the house, accentuating its Regency features, the manor is now officially open and taking bookings for weddings and celebrations.

Alternative Ideas For Your Hen or Stag Do

When it comes to getting married, the hen and stag do is something that the vast majority of brides and grooms look forward to. The trends for these events have changed enormously over recent years, with people looking for more alternative things to do rather than simply going to the local. With this in mind, we’ve done some digging and found some really exciting, alternative ideas perfect for either the hen or stag do before the big “I do”.

As Rockbeare Manor is a wedding venue near Exeter in Devon, we’ve tried to keep our suggestions local, as here in the South West there is a multitude of different things that are available for you.  Somehow we’ve managed to whittle it down to a list of just 10 of the best:

1. West Country Games 

West Country Games is an activity specialist in the South West. It offers a variety of different and interesting events including a ‘cider run’, ‘pitch fork duel’ and ‘mangold dangling’. If these sound like your cup of tea then check out the website for more information.

2. Rail Ale Trails 

If you want a twist on the regular pub-crawl then The Rail Ale Trail which is run by Great Scenic Railways, is worth looking into. There are 7 trails to choose from in Devon and Cornwall. The trail involves getting the train to various stops, dependant on which trail you choose, and visiting various rural pubs where you can enjoy some traditional ales. There is also a chance to win a t-shirt by collecting 10 stamps from the different pubs.

3. Escape Surf School 

More of a beach-bum than a bar-run? Why not head on down to Newquay for your hen or stag do and do some surfing? The Escape Surf School offers surfing lessons for complete beginners to advanced learners. It’s a great excuse to top up your tan before the big day.

4. Ultimate Adventure Centre

The Ultimate Adventure Centre in Bideford has an Ultimate Assault Course with a mixture of land and water based obstacles as well as several other courses, which can catapult your hen or stag do into a day of epic proportions.

5. Skirmish Paintball 

What better way to spend your do than to play a game of paintball? Skirmish Paintball, located in Stoke Woods near Exeter, is a 120-acre paintball site and promises to be a day full of tactical fun and paint!

6. Pampering weekend

Pampering weekends are a great way to relax before the big day. There are lots of different places in the UK where you can go for a weekend pampering session and Spabreaks.com is a great place to look for a spa near to you. And yes, spa breaks are these days appealing to men more and more as they look for an alternative to the traditional stag do.

7. Devon Leisure

For motorised events, such as go-karting and quad biking, Devon Leisure has it all. It is the largest off-road activity centre in the South West and with over 12 miles of woodland quad trails is sure to provide hours of fun for your party!

8. Treasure Trails 

If nature is your thing, then the Treasure Trails could be the perfect day for you! Treasuretrails.co.uk has over 1,200 self-guided trails all over the UK which help you to discover new cities, towns and villages. They have walking, cycling and driving trails meaning that no matter what the weather you can have a great day.

9. Go Ape 

Go Ape is the UK’s number one forest adventure park, there are 29 parks across the country and the one in the South West can be found in Haldon near Exeter. The park is home to a whole world of fun and adventure, including zip-lines, segways and swings. This is sure to be a fantastic way to spend your hen or stag party.

10. Cocktail Making Classes 

Cocktail making classes are the perfect way to start a night out for your stag/hen do. My Cocktail Master Class is a great place to start looking for a class near to you. They hold events in Exeter at Oddfellows most days of the week. Check out the website for more information.