First time experiences in London: Hen night, afternoon tea, and football

First time experiences in London: Hen night, afternoon tea, and football

Written by Heather

Topics: Experiences Abroad

Even though I have been to London seven times, it wasn’t until this last trip that I experienced three aspects of English culture for the first time — a hen night, afternoon tea, and supporting an English football club.

Hen night

A hen night (or “hen do” or perhaps a hen weekend) is similar to the American bachelorette party. Friends of the bride-to-be arrange a time to get together, celebrate the upcoming marriage, and have a good time.

Not only did I experience my first hen do (“do” is often used where Americans might use “party”), but it was for ME!

Hen night

One of my bridesmaids lives in London and surprised me by organizing an evening with my gal pals in London. Bonus: Nicole came to London for the first week of the trip, so she was able to come too!

We started with dinner at an Indonesian restaurant before heading around the corner to karaoke. We sang our hearts out in a private room, and it’s no contest that I was the worst singer in the bunch — I sounded even worse than I did in Oz! I have a few talents, but singing will never been among them O:-)

Shel, my friend who organized the evening, made sure I had a bright pink “bride to be” sash and “L” plates to wear.

We ended the night with dessert, and Shel had scoped out a place that offered gluten free options. Bless her!

Gav ventured into the city to meet me and Nicole and travel home with us. Aww!

After hen night

Afternoon tea

I’ve always been interested in going to tea and thankfully a couple of friends who were game to indulge in the expensive treat invited us to join them one Saturday at noon.

Our friends said that tea at any of the big hotels would be nice. When Browns Hotel made a point of highlighting their gluten free option, we had to book.

It was too cold to wear my dress, so I wore the next nicest outfit I had packed. Even at that, I felt underdressed!

Browns was a great place to experience afternoon tea for the first time. The staff was helpful without being pushy or in our way. Since my three companions weren’t as keen on the gluten free bread, I had my pick of sandwiches! The GF scones paled in comparison to the real thing, but all of the desserts were nice.

Oh yes — and the teas we tried were enjoyable as well O:-)

Chelsea FC

I love sports. Football (American), basketball, Aussie Rules Football, and rugby league top my list. But soccer football? I’ve only been to a couple of college soccer games and I only went because a colleague asked me along O:-)

Now that I’m marrying a big football fan who’s supported Chelsea since the day he was born, it’s time for me to learn about the sport and, perhaps more importantly, Chelsea.




By now, I’m familiar with a couple of Chelsea’s songs. I can recognize the owner’s face, but I still can’t pronounce his Russian name. I can name a few players and know a few bits of trivia and current events.

After attending the last home game of the season, Gav and I had one more match to watch — the Champions League final. Chelsea won at the LAST POSSIBLE MOMENT in a penalty shoot-out and thank goodness they did. Gav thought we might have to go to the hospital with all of the stress leading up to the big victory!

What’s my next “London first”?

I don’t have plans to return to London until next March, but when I do, I’ll have another “first” to experience — I’ll be attending my first London wedding :-)

If you’ve been to London, what experiences have been your favorite? If you haven’t been, what are some of your favorite cultural “firsts” you’ve experienced anywhere on the globe?

9 Comments Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Gav says:

    So glad I was able to take you to a game. You brought the sun, you brought the luck of the Irish, in part to your birthday date I guess, to help Chelsea win 2 cups – one being the biggest club football cup of all :-)

    It was great experiencing these things together and glad you had a great time too!

    I love you Mrs P to be!

  2. Laura says:

    I had to click the L plates link- never heard of that! Glad you had a great time in London. I’ve never even been once, so I think I need to change that soon :)

    • Heather says:

      I’d never heard of L plates til I was in Australia. What would people do here if folks had to drive with L plates on their car for a couple of years?! I guess the link didn’t describe that bit, but learner drivers have a square magnet with an L on it on the back of their car!

  3. If Gav and yourself ever get the urge to come to the Scottish Highlands, not only can you have the claim to fame of scaling the highest of the UK mountains (Ben Nevis) if you decide to, but there’s also the Highwire Adventure with the zip wires that you can cross of your bucket list!

    Oh, and me and Gav can go for a beer or three and catch up….

    • Heather says:

      Gav and I really enjoyed getting out of London for a few days — even if it was only an hour away to Brighton — and I know we’re both looking forward to years of traveling together. Heading to Scotland would be fantastic and I’d love to meet you!

  4. Toni says:

    Looks and sounds like you had an absolute blast in the ‘Big Smoke’ – so happy for you hun :)

  5. The picture of the desserts in seriously making my mouth water! Yummy!

    • Heather says:

      I love that you’ve been posting about London lately! Your afternoon tea post was definitely more in depth than my brief mention here :-)

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