From Winchester’s Lancelot & Guinevere and Sherwood’s Robin & Marion to Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet and Austen’s Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett, England has a legendary romantic heritage, from the fabled to the fictitious.
It’s not a leap year so gentlemen step up to the mark and, unlike the majority of these heroes, avoid ill fate by planning your proposal in an amorous setting - somewhere that calms your hopeful heart and hopefully wins hers.
Here, VisitEngland suggests some picture perfect spots for getting down on one knee.
Caesarean Charm in ChesterA city that holds an annual festival of romance dedicated to love, Chester is the perfect place to channel your inner Anthony and charm your Cleopatra amid Roman forts and ancient architecture. Suspended over the River Dee, the Queen’s Park Bridge overlooks weeping willows and gorgeous groves, providing an idyllic and romantic getaway from the rest of the world.
Stroll about the greens beside the riverbank to find yourselves a serene spot for a private intimate moment. Or lock in time your special memory with a proposal by Chester’s Eastgate Clock. Reputedly one of the most photographed clocks in the world, Eastgate is an iconic spot and a photogenic backdrop.
Stay at: The elegant Macdonald Portal Hotel, which offers the perfect marriage of great facilities and personal service, providing some of the finest accommodation in the Cheshire area. Doubles from £111 for doubles per night, Bed & Breakfast.
Declare your Love from the Highest HeightsImage courtesy of pavlinajane, Flickr
It’s a city that never sleeps and if all goes well you certainly won’t be! Tradition states that if you propose underneath the Statue of Eros at Piccadilly Circus on the stroke of midnight, you’re in for a lifetime of happiness. Though that sounds perfect, it might be a little difficult to find space away from the hustle and bustle.
Instead, a performance of La Bohème or Tchaikovsky’s poignant opera, Eugene Onegin enjoyed on a balcony at the Royal Opera House will certainly see your sweetheart’s spirits soar. Average prices cost £150 per ticket, or if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, try a genuflection and a giant gem as you ask the all-important question from the tallest building in Western Europe. Never done before, a proposal from the viewing platforms of The Shard will make the vista all the more glorious, and cost you just £25 per person.
Stay at: The Grange Tower Bridge Hotel, whose Room for Romance package costs from £214.80 per room and includes superior accommodation, English breakfast, Champagne on arrival, late check-out and a romantic 3-course dinner. Luxury Ajala Spa treatments are also included. Available throughout 2013.
Rowing RomanceImage courtesy of interbeat, Flickr
Oxford is a town that radiates with romance and charm, brimming with picturesque parks and beautiful buildings. What better way to explore such a city than a chauffeur-led punt down the River Cherwell? Costing between £16.00 to £20.00 per person, glide along the river, past the Botanic Gardens and watch the sun set from your private vessel. Ask the all-important question as the water’s reflection of the setting sun or night’s stars creates a light show just for you.
Truly traditional gents can propose with a posie ring, the original engagement lover’s gift that was popular in England during the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries. Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum has an outstanding collection to inspire you, many inscribed with endearing words.
Stay at: One of the leading 4 star hotels in town, the eponymous Oxford Hotel, which boasts an AA Rosette award-winning restaurant. Doubles start at £135 and include bed and breakfast.
Panoramic PassionImage courtesy of Martin Pettitt, Flickr
As far as romantic backdrops go, Bath’s Georgian squares and facades are jaw dropping. Created by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ralph Allen to complement his magnificent mansion on the Bath skyline, Prior Park’s 18th century landscaped gardens are set in a sweeping valley with panoramic views across the city.
Take a walk across the Palladian Bridge towards a horizon of fresh meadows and ancient woodland. Bask in the splendour of the city’s skyline before taking a moonlit dip in the remarkably romantic open-air rooftop pool of Thermae Bath Spa. Open until 8pm, the cross-spa can be booked for exclusive use for £160. The perfect place for a proposal, the thermal baths offer indulgence and relaxation with views of the night skies.
Stay at: Bath’s Royal Hotel, a Grade II listed Victorian Building offering superior double rooms, complete with Egyptian cotton bedding, merino wool blankets and goose feather and down pillows, from just £135 per night.
Lover’s ProposalDescribed as the city in the countryside, Salisbury is a traditional town with cobbled streets and narrow alleyways that lend themselves to romantic strolls. For just £10.00 per ticket, take in the views from the Tower Tour at Salisbury Cathedral. Look up into the impressive spire, and out across the city and encircling greenery.
Venture further from the town centre to the aptly named town of Lover and take your photo by the town’s signposts – what better way to announce your engagement to friends and family! Also within close proximity is Stourhead. Wander from the Pantheon over to the Temple of Apollo, or take a boat trip to one of the lake’s secluded islands for a private proposal on the shore.
Stay at: Howard’s House, an independently owned and run country hotel in the heart of an idyllic Wiltshire village. With breakfast included, double rooms cost £190 per night.
Romeo, Romeo…Stratford-upon-Avon is one of England’s most romantic heritage cities, and a perfect spot for any modern day Romeo looking to whisk away his Juliet. Take a page out of Shakespeare’s quilled classics, and choose the picturesque backdrop of Tudor houses, pretty parks and quiet river to pop the question.
Relish in the love-stories of Rosalind and Orlando or Antony and Cleopatra at one of the town’s theatres to set the scene before dropping to one knee on the terrace of the Roof Top Restaurant and Bar. Looking out onto the River Avon and surrounding countryside, the simply prepared and beautifully cooked menu sits comfortably alongside an extensive wine list.
Stay at: The Arden Hotel. Named after Shakespeare’s mother, the hotel boasts a chic Waterside Brasserie, a stylish Champagne Bar and spacious suites with fabulous views over the River Avon. Superior doubles from £149 per room per night.
Romatic RampartsWith its Viking settlements, Gothic masterpieces and Victorian cobbled streets all squeezed within its Roman walls; York is a favourite amongst couples looking for some quality time away together. The city lends itself perfectly to hand-in-hand strolls along higgledy-piggledy streets such as the famous Shambles, voted the country’s most picturesque street in 2010.
To conquer any pre-proposal fears and establish yourself as the hero protagonist of your romantic tale, look no further than Clifford’s Tower. Built by William the Conqueror, this heritage site costs as little as £4 per person and offers stunning views of historic York and the surrounding parkland. Get down on one knee on the historic ramparts and make her feel queen of the castle.
Stay at: The boutique Grade II listed Grange Hotel, renowned for its stylish ambience and luxurious accommodation. Doubles start at £140, while luxury four-poster rooms cost from £242.
For more romantic travel ideas in England visit www.visitengland.com/moreromantic