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The Belgium Stag Do: A Sign Of Things To Come?

Stag Do, Stag do destinations — By on December 3, 2017 2:30 pm

Darwin didn’t write his Theory of Evolution specifically about stag parties and weddings but as the human race continues to get smarter and more advanced perhaps it’s no coincidence couples are getting married later in life.

Romantic as the idea is of teenagers eloping to Gretna Green as they didn’t have parental permission, the practicalities must be a pain in the arse. It would have involved at least one lengthy train ride, a quick change into your finest outfit in a pub toilet and a short honeymoon in the Scottish borders – if you were lucky.

Fortunately, such practices are becoming increasingly rare as the average age of a person getting married in the UK is now early 30s, eight years older than in the 1970s, for example. One of the obvious knock-on effects is that the average age of stag parties has risen by the same amount and therefore the activities the groom and his pals may indulge in have changed accordingly.

In short they have become more refined – or at least not solely limited to paintballing, drinking heavily and then getting covered in cream by a stripper. And as a more mature version of fun has emerged so have new destinations that fit the bill.

The latest hotspot to do so is Belgium, and stag supremos Maximise have been quick to spot the zeitgeist. Once known as the country coaches drive through to get to a better place, its beer and – perhaps surprisingly – cuisine credentials are beginning to draw in the more discerning 30-something stag.

 

Brussels Stag Do

An obvious destination is the nation’s capital Brussels, home to the European Parliament (not sure how welcome UK citizens are here these days) and that funny building that appears to be made of balls (locals call it the Atomium).

Aside from these landmarks though there is the potential to make a stag weekend as sophisticated or as drunken as is desired.  As you would expect from a country that has given the world Stella Artois there is a tremendous brewing heritage and ample opportunity for brewery tours or beer tasting. This more sedate pace of drinking can be interspersed with sampling cheese, seafood, meat and chocolate and keen foodies can even sign up for a Belgian gourmet cooking course.

For those who like to come away from trips abroad with some knowledge of the local area there’s one beer tour that involves a treasure hunt-style quiz themed on Louis Pasteur. He’s the bloke who learned how to pasteurise milk in the 1800s. After a hard day learning about scientific break-throughs, Dansaert Street is the place to continue drinking but to do so in a stylish environment.

 

Antwerp Stag Do

Away from the capital the other major destination for stags is Antwerp. Again beer tasting is very high on the menu and the city is home to arguably Belgium’s premiere brewery, De Koninck. There are also bars, restaurants and coffee shops aplenty, many of which are in the city’s old town to provide a more picturesque setting.

Culture vultures should take note as Antwerp also boasts a medieval fortress, the open air Middelheim Museum full of weird and wonderful sculptures and the house of painter Rubens, left with many of the original features and artefacts. All of this is squeezed into what is clearly a very manageable city in terms of size. Of all the tours around Antwerp – including the cycling and walking ones – none seem to last longer than three hours.

Marvellously, there is also a potentially dangerous combination of beer tasting and a cycle tour. Should such things go horribly wrong there is a diamond selling quarter where some brownie points with the bride could be hastily (and expensively) bought back.

 

Of course refinement and maturity are not for everyone and it’s unclear whether or not Darwin himself would have happily said goodbye to singledom with a few nights in Belgium. However, the mix of entertainment on offer in Brussels and Antwerp makes stag weekends here a sensible but satisfying choice. Evolutionary not revolutionary, if you will.

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