YORK remains in the 'Premier League' for hen dos, but it could become less popular as a destination for stags as increasingly more wild and whacky weekends become the next big party trend.

According to one of the biggest names in the industry, Last Night of Freedom, which sends hundreds of groups to the city each year, though the York's popularity - particularly for hen parties - is still going strong, groups from across Yorkshire and beyond are now increasingly snubbing activities like paintballing in favour of hiring tanks, attack dogs and even fighter jets for a wild weekend away.

To back up the 'Premier League' claim, managing director Matt Mavir said York is currently attracting more hen parties than anywhere in continental Europe, outside of Dublin.

According to figures from stag and hen weekend firm, this weekend the city will have more hens than the likes of Barcelona, Ibiza and Amsterdam with hens preferring to nest in Britain rather than flock to Europe.

However, those heading to the continent are increasingly snubbing traditional activities like paintballing in favour of adrenaline-fuelled mayhem.

As such, Last Night of Freedom has started offering revellers the chance to drive tanks in Prague, or be flown at 750km/h in a Soviet-era L-39 fighter jet.

York Press: Stags can have a go in a fighter jetStags can have a go in a fighter jet

In Krakow, stags can ditch beer bikes to ride old fashioned penny farthing bikes – while the firm also offers one Polish package in which the groom will be chased and savaged by a police attack dog.

Matt said: “Newcastle and Liverpool are still our biggest sellers, and we do about 80% of our business in Britain. For hen weekends, York is firmly in the Premier League of destinations – brides love it and we expect it will only become increasingly popular as in so many ways it is the perfect hen party destination."

York Press: Last Night of Freedom managing director, Matt MavirLast Night of Freedom managing director, Matt Mavir (Image: Ian Johnson)

Matt said increasingly, groups don’t want to settle for a so-called 'normal weekend'.

He said: “They not only want a completely unique experience, but also something that looks good on Instagram or Tik Tok.

“York has plenty of picture-perfect experiences – from boat cruises to craft cocktail bars – but unless something changes dramatically, we don’t really expect you’ll be able to drive down Shambles anytime soon.

“Groups also want to stand out from the crowd, and we are also seeing this with what they wear. Once a bride would wear a tiara and L plates, and the groom may wear a daft costume.

“Now the whole group wants to stand out, so we’ve made loads of whacky stuff to cater for that – one shirt we created was even based on ‘The Human Centipede’."

As The Press reported last month, York Central MP, Rachael Maskell has previously hit out at City of York Council's approach to the industry.

She said: “York needs to determine who it is for.

"Failures of the local authority to develop York into a family friendly city, accessible for children and families as well as disabled people and the elderly, has fuelled a party culture which simply drives local families away from their city.

"I want York to be returned to the people of our city so that they can determine what their city centre should be like.

"Rather than encouraging more and more party venues, York’s LibDem/Green Council need to get a grip of what is happening, not least as this is also harming our neighbourhoods with so many short term holiday lets replacing homes for residents; this is having a significant detrimental effect on our communities.”

City of York Council's Denise Craghill, Executive Member for Housing and Safer Communities, said the council is working hard to try and strike the right balance.

She said the council's planning enforcement officers have a caseload of ‘party houses’ which they are pursuing as potentially representing ‘material change of use’, but under current legislation they do have to do this on a case by case basis.

She said: "I would urge residents who have concerns about particular large properties where visitors are disturbing neighbourhoods to report them to planning enforcement for assessment.

"I do think it is important to add however, that not all hen parties are badly behaved and not all hen parties choosing our city for their celebration stay in residential properties – many are well behaved and many also stay in hotels, do not cause any disturbance and are an important part of our visitor economy.”