10 Stag Do Hen Do Ideas For Nottingham

Nottingham has the most eateries per square metre in the whole of Western Europe, this is not the only reason it is a great location for a stag do or hen do! Now, this is slightly skewed because Nottingham is a well-populated city in quite a contained city centre. It only takes about 20 minutes’ to walk from one end of town to the other and it’s not that fragmented. This means there’s countless places to eat and drink all within a stone’s throw of each other. In no particular order, here are our recommendations for a stag do hen do in Nottingham.

1) Bar Iberico

Bar Iberico Nottingham
Bar Iberico, tapas bar & restaurant in Nottingham

This is usually my top tip for visitors or locals to go to for casual eats. Bar Iberico has a great atmosphere, a good selection of drinks, reasonably priced, great service and most of all, a perfect and changing menu. The food is genuinely out of this world!

2) Tilt

Tilt Cocktail Bar Nottingham, great for Hen Dos
Tilt Cocktail Bar Nottingham

This is by far my favourite cocktail bar in Nottingham. If you go on any day but a Saturday, their happy hour (5-7pm) is great value. They play blues music, the atmosphere is great but most importantly, the drinks are hand-crafted and made to perfection.

3) Kean’s Head

The Kean's Head, great for Stag Dos
The Kean’s Head

I feel this is one of the few remaining true pubs, and this gem is in the city centre. It is a bit off the beaten track and therefore rarely rammed, but it’s often busy. On a peak day, getting a seat may be tricky, but for the variety of ales, ciders and speciality brews it is well worth it!

4) The Arboretum

The Chinese Bell in Nottingham's Arboretum
The Chinese Bell in Nottingham’s Arboretum

Nottingham has a very nice greenspace in the city centre called the Arboretum. It’s a nice location for a midday picnic or a short walk to rid yourself of the previous night’s hangover.

5) Cryptology Nottingham

The Cypherdyne v1.5 room at Cryptology Nottingham, great for Hen Dos and Stag Dos
The Cypherdyne v1.5 room at Cryptology Nottingham

Escape Rooms are popping up everywhere and are in most major cities worldwide. The Nottingham branch of Cryptology was their first, but they have now relocated from their original location with more games in the pipeline. For hen dos and stag dos it is certainly advised that you pre-book, as peak (weekend) slots tend to sell out a fair bit in advance. They also have a ranking system, so if you are more than one group, you can still compete!

6) Pepper Rocks

Pepper Rocks cocktail bar in Nottingham, great for Hen Dos
Pepper Rocks cocktail bar in Nottingham

Another great cocktail bar in Nottingham, it has great decor and a wonderful vibe. The happy hour drinks are cheap and cheerful, but a little generic. Their sister-site Bunk (which also do great wings) have a slightly better selection, but due to this being more of a food place, is not so good if you just want to pop for drinks.

7) The Lost City Adventure Golf

Lost City Adventure Golf Nottingham
Lost City Adventure Golf Nottingham

Usually there is no need to book this and for a small group can be a good use of 30-45 minutes. There’s two courses each of 18 holes each, and the holes are varied, with some good use of light and audio too. There’s also a bar for after-game drinks!

8) Boilermaker

Boilermaker "secret" cocktail bar in Nottingham
Boilermaker “secret” cocktail bar in Nottingham

Without a doubt, experiencing the unknown about this place and walking in is what makes this place a must-see. The picture both does and does not do it justice! It’s also not just your generic cocktail bar, every drink is unique and very well thought about. There is one called breakfast something-or-other, it’s served in a Kellogg’s Variety Box! My only gripe is that you cannot book and if you’re a large party, you will have quite a wait to get in, worth it though!

9) The Alchemist

The Alchemist cocktail experience in Nottingham, perfect Stag Do Hen Do location
The Alchemist cocktail experience in Nottingham

A relatively new cocktail bar in Nottingham, The Alchemist do cocktails where you should be at the bar when ordering. It’s not just a tasty drink you get, the making of it is a performance in itself. You stag do hen do experience will benefit from this gem.

10) [ALT] Gaming Lounge

[ALT] Gaming Lounge in Nottingham
[ALT] Gaming Lounge in Nottingham
ALT is free to enter and has most consoles you can think of and the most popular games. For large groups, booking is recommended and if if you sit and play games, they ask that you buy a drink while you’re there. They have a VR and networked PCs, and some basic food. A good use of an hour or so!


Music of Cryptology Builds

Music Cryptology Listened To On Builds

Music has always been a large part of my life, I’m a bit of a muso. I learned violin and trumpet in school, taught myself guitar (and then bass) and now drums. Drums are a tricky beast, so I’m now having weekly lessons. But there’s certain bands and/or albums that were synonymous with the creation of various Cryptology games.

Cryptology Nottingham Creation: Music

The building of Cryptology Nottingham started in approximately April/May of 2015. At this point, the band of the moment for me was Of Monsters And Men.

However, I cannot pin a song to Cypherdyne‘s creation. This whole creation process is quite a blur, but once opened work for The Crypt started and I have definite recollections to Crypt-building and their first album My Head Is An Animal.

Next creation at Cryptology was “The Basement Game” (this is being transferred, less about this, more to the choons!). This game started creation in February 2016, and this was deep in my Everything Everything phase, strengthened by seeing them in Nottingham in November of 2015.

So, the early stages without a doubt were consumed with their album Get To Heaven.

However, I have a fond memory of letting YouTube play classical music. The epic-game we were working on backed up with this soundtrack just seemed to work!

Cryptology Barnsley Creation: Music

Next in chain of being built was HMS Cypher at Cryptology Barnsley. Whilst Simon may not possess my love for them (although I do not believe he dislikes them), his playlist now has these as a constant suggestion (back to Everything Everything).


Cryptology Sheffield Creation: Music

Cryptology Sheffield – Simon tends to listen to film soundtracks, Mark various songs on a playlist that’s been built from the mid-90’s. However, where Simon and Mark have synergy and the album has been played many times is Pink Floyd’s Other Side Of The Moon.




The Creation Of Cryptology Escape Rooms

Cryptology Creation

The Beginning

Before the creation of Cryptology Escape Rooms in Nottingham, my career was as a buyer, a job I had for over 8 years. Whilst it was indeed a great job, I felt that I had ticked all the boxes in that career path. I really wanted a change of scene. But with 8 years of one career on your CV, it is difficult for another employer in a different field to take you on! Or take you on at a wage that supports your mortgage and debts!

The last buyer job I had really did not fulfil me, there was no pressure and I was used to having many things on the go at once. One weekend I was visiting I used to live with in his new home town of Bristol. Whilst a weekend of drinking and eating out was great, I felt we should do something extra. I found this weird thing called an “escape room”.

Great Business Model

As a buyer, I was used to stock having a shelf life. If you don’t sell your USB Flash Drives in a short period, they lose their value and you may even make a loss. After the escape room I spoke about how it had a great business model – the only bills are rates, rent and people. The chap I went to see laughed and said “Is this your next business idea Mark?”, I laughed (I did have some crazy ideas!). However, the 2 hour journey home from Bristol got me thinking “I could do that” and when I got home, I looked in Nottingham and there weren’t any!

Bristol to Nottingham
The 2 hour journey from Bristol to Nottingham

Location Found

By the time I found the location for the creation of my escape rooms, the day before I was going to sign for the place my sister-in-law informed me that there were already 2 in Nottingham. So, I won’t be first, I won’t even be the second I would have been the third. I very nearly didn’t go through with it! But the more I thought about, we won’t be in competition at all. If a customer plays an escape room and enjoys it, they will likely play another.

The view from Cryptology I
Cryptology’s Location

So, I bit the bullet, signed, built and hoped for the best! Skip on 3 years and there is Cryptology Barnsley and very soon, Cryptology Sheffield.

What’s The Reason For A Cryptology Blog?

Why A Blog?

Hi, I’m Mark, the owner of the UK escape room franchise “Cryptology”, welcome to our blog. I opened Nottingham’s doors in July 2015. Currently there are open branches in Nottingham and in Barnsley, our newest branch in Sheffield is currently in production; it’s all go!

The Trigger Point For A Blog

In June of 2018, an ex-colleague was heading to a LinkedIn networking event just around the corner from Cryptology Nottingham. He suggested we met up for a drink, I didn’t realise that I’d actually be taking part of the event!

After signing up, receiving some Prosecco and access to a cheese board (I was very pleased!), the concept of the meetup was explained. People from all different industries and from Nottingham and the surrounding areas were left to mingle. After a few introductions to other people who jumped in at the deep end to just meet other people, I began describing Nottingham’s latest game that was in production, Dreamscape. The organiser who is from London walked past and said “this sounds interesting” and joined in the conversation. I was explaining some of the concepts and themes within the game, some of the issue we are having in setting them up, and what’s coming up on the horizon.

Linked In And Beyond

I asked about LinkedIn and what marketing examples she could tell me about. She summed everything up with if she is interested what I was explaining, then other people would be too. I had indeed toyed with the idea of a blog about Cryptology. But I really didn’t want it to be a diary, an ego boost, or a sales pitch. But after explaining the creation of Dreamscape to my ex-colleague and a stranger, I did indeed conclude that some of you may be interested in the behind-the-scenes of an escape room franchise.

As it is now 2018, I would want this to be more of a video blog (VLOG), I will encorporate as much video as I can. But with Dreamscape Nottingham, and First Contact Sheffield my time is stretched very thin! Watch this space!