Gardens Illustrated
Forde Abbey's tulip display
© Jason Ingram

Best places to propose: pop the question in a garden

Published: February 10, 2022 at 10:56 am

Thinking of proposing to your beloved? Why not do it in style and pull off the perfect marriage proposal in one of our pick of beautiful garden venues

Ring? Check. Getting down on one knee? Easy. Romantic words? Hmm… a little half-baked but it’s OK, you can wing it. But what about the best place to propose?

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Don’t blow all that fractious prep with a fumbled proposal in a crowded restaurant. Why not propose in style in a fabulous romantic garden instead?

Wander through beautiful surroundings… Pick your perfect spot… Muster up that courage and make a little history.

But which garden to pick for your marriage proposal? Here's our pick of places for perfect question popping.

The best places to propose in the UK

Claremont Landscape Garden, Surrey

Claremont
© National Trust

Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales was the original "people’s princess", an heir to the throne who, with her husband Prince Leopold, called Claremont their home. The pair – very much in love – would wander the belvedere, grotto and lakeside of this garden, and made vital contributions to it during their tenure such as the splendid Camellia greenhouse. The garden also contains work by William Kent, Charles Bridgeman, and the incomparable ‘Capability’ Brown. The almost limitless trails present a cavalcade of snapshot views so finding your perfect romantic place to propose will be a cinch.

Web: nationaltrust.org.uk/claremont
Tel: 01372 467 806

Gravetye Manor, Sussex

At Gravetye Manor, Tom Coward gardens in Dixter’s intensive multi-layered, multi-season style but has given it his own distinctive twist.
© Andrew Montgomery

Gravetye Manor is a historic manor, now a hotel, which, while only 30 miles from London, is a true oasis of calm set in over 35 acres of beautiful grounds. Originally created by visionary gardener William Robinson in 1885 and the subject of his book The Wild Garden, the garden is now tended by head gardener Tom Coward and his team, and is considered by many one of the best gardens in England. There are tulips to enjoy in spring, while the dynamic flower garden is unmissable in summer. Stay for the weekend or go for lunch, walk in the meadows and orchards, find your place to propose, then make your own little bit of history.

Web: gravetyemanor.co.uk
Tel: 01342 810 567

Whatley Manor, Gloucestershire

Whatley Manor, Gloucestershire
© Whatley Manor

Already on the map as a romantic wedding venue, Whatley Manor’s Loggia Garden and beautiful water sculpture is the perfect spot for tying the knot. So why not use its 12 acres of country gardens, rose garden, borders, lawns, kitchen garden and meadows as an ideal place to propose too? Why not stay overnight, and avail yourself of the spa, dining room and Grey’s Brasserie and make real occasion of your visit after enjoying the spring planting that delivers gorgeous colour all along the driveway to welcome guests.

Web: whatleymanor.com
Tel: 01666 822 888

Dunham Massey, Cheshire

Dunham Massey, Cheshire
© National Trust

With over 300 acres to explore, intersected with leafy avenues Dunham Massey delivers on a grand scale. When the National Trust took over Dunham Massey in 1976, work began to transform the garden to its former glory, creating a time-capsule Edwardian pleasure garden which continues to evolve today with the more recent additions of a rose garden and the UK’s largest Winter Garden – a perfect pick for a February marriage proposal.

Web: nationaltrust.org.uk/dunham-massey
Tel: 01619 411 025

Mottisfont, Hampshire

Rose Garden at Mottisfont Abbey Hampshire
© Mottisfont Abbey

Perhaps most famous for is walled garden (which blooms with roses in the summer) there’s still plenty to enjoy come February. The garden’s snowdrop displays will be at their prime on Valentines Day, heralding the start of the garden’s spring bulb showcase and their specially planted winter garden delivers colour and scent from seasonal berries, flowers, and bark. Explore winding pathways which mimic the gentle flow of water to discover the secrets of the season and your perfect romantic spot for a marriage proposal.

Web: nationaltrust.org.uk/mottisfont
Tel: 01794 340 757

Hever Castle, Kent

VikkiRimmer/HeverCastle
© Vikki Rimmer/Hever Castle

While the romantic life of Ann Boleyn didn’t end well, its beginnings, at the 13th century Hever Castle in Kent, were suitably idyllic. However it’s gardens really flourished in the early 1900s as William Waldorf Astor both renovated and extended the building and established its garden. Pride of place is the Italian Garden, which features an impressive Loggia overlooking the lake. It’s the perfect proposal spot after wandering the woodland walks. Or take a trip to the secretive Sunken Garden for a little privacy and a mysterious atmosphere.

Web: hevercastle.co.uk
Tel: 01732 865224

Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire

Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire
© Kenilworth Castle

Kenilworth Castle is among Britain’s largest historical sites. At its heart lies a huge medieval fortress which was the setting for a famous siege and later became an Elizabethan palace. Climb its towers for a stunning view from the top or keep your feet on the ground as you explore its authentically restored Elizabethan garden which was recently recreated from accounts written in the time of Elizabeth I, 400 years ago. The garden was originally created in a romantic attempt to win the hand of the Queen and features such extravagances as a marble fountain, grand obelisks and an aviary.

Web: english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/kenilworth-castle
Tel: 0370 333 1181

Shepherd House, Scotland

Shepherd House, Scotland
© Shepherd House

If the prospect of scouring hundreds of acres trying to find your perfect spot sounds a little daunting, why not go for somewhere altogether more secluded and manageable? This perfect single-acre garden has got the lot – a formal rill splits the garden, elegantly draped with arches of roses, and lined by contrasting catmint. The rill leads to a picturesque pool and a perfect proposal spot overlooked by one of the garden’s fabulous sculptures. It’s the result of 35 years of hard work by Sir Charles and Lady Ann Fraser, Ann being a botanical artist who loves to paint watercolours of her plants. The garden is open for snowdrop days in February and there is even a cosy cottage for two to rent if you want to make a night of it.

Web: shepherdhousegarden.co.uk
01316 652570

Alfriston Clergy House, Sussex

Side view of the cottage and garden at Alfriston Clergy House, East Sussex
© National Trust © National Trust/James Dobson

Why not pay a visit to a little piece of history? Alfriston Clergy House is the first house ever saved by the National Trust, described by Octavia Hill ­– one of the Trust’s three founders – as the “epitome of old England”. Bought by and restored by the trust in 1896 it enjoys an idyllic setting with views across the River Cuckmere. Featuring Arts and Crafts-style ‘garden rooms’ its garden is abundant with flowers of every colour.

Web: nationaltrust.org.uk/alfriston-clergy-house
Tel: 01323 871961

Lyme Park, Cheshire

The formal Dutch garden at Lyme Park
© National Trust ©National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Another National Trust property with more than its share of history. Lyme Park became home to explorer Thomas Legh who – in typical adventurer style – helped rescue an abducted heiress and subsequently married her. There are 1400 acres of rugged moorland, ancient woodlands, and formal gardens to explore, and the famous lake used as the location for Mr Darcy’s swim in the TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Its array of famous follies, such as The Cage, The Lantern and Paddock Cottage – each providing fantastic views – are beautiful and memorable spots and some of the best places to propose you could find.

Web: nationaltrust.org.uk/lyme
Tel: 01663 762023

Sissinghurst, Kent

Sissinghurst Castle Garden
© Rachel Warne

Is this the most romantic garden in the world? While its creators Vita Sackville-West and husband Harold Nicolson both had numerous affairs, their marriage remained strong and this garden – a combination of Harold’s design and Vita’s voluminous planting – is testament to their bond and staying power. The result is a garden that’s both much copied and much admired, typifying the ‘English garden’ style that’s beloved to this day. Visit for the day or stay over at the Priests House in order to have exclusive use of its garden.

Web: nationaltrust.org.uk/sissinghurst-castle-garden
Tel: 01580 710700

Painswick Rococo Gardens, Gloucester

Painswick Rococo Gardens, Gloucester

Painswick, immaculately restored in the 1980s, now sits as the only surviving Rococo garden in the country. Famous for its array of dramatic follies – perfect places for that proposal – it’s the product of the new, exuberant styles of the 18th century, being the creation of a middle-class gentleman who was out to impress. There are woods to wander and even a maze in which to lose yourself. Most fabulous though are its famous snowdrop displays which are at their peak on Valentines Day.

Web: rococogarden.org.uk
Tel: 01452 813204

Endsleigh, Devon

Hotel Endsleigh
© Carole Drake

With its dramatic views over the Tamar and glimmers of Cornwall in the distance, Endsleigh hotel offers countless vistas to set the heart racing. Created 200 years ago by Humphry Repton there are 100 acres to explore and pick your perfect spot. Take a romantic woodland walk or select one of the grottoes and follies – all ideal placers to get down on one knee. Stay over for free access to the garden, or visit for the day. Garden tours are available for those not seeking romantic seclusion.

Web: hotelendsleigh.com/garden
Tel: 01822 870000

Forde Abbey, Somerset

Forde Abbey's tulip display
© Jason Ingram

These gardens – nominated for Historic Houses ‘Garden of the Year’ award 2019 – are not only home to the UK’s most powerful garden fountain (projecting water 160ft into the air), but thanks to many years of careful cultivation are laden with interest all year round. There are a total of 30 acres to explore with spring bulbs to enjoy early in the year with fabulous summer borders to follow. An Asian woodland and prairie garden are just a few of the new designs to enjoy.

Web: fordeabbey.co.uk
Tel: 01460 221290

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So, that’s your location sorted, which just leaves you the weather to worry about. And – much like your partner's take on your proposal – you’re on your own with that one. Good luck!

Authors

Daniel GriffithsDigital Editor

Daniel Griffiths is a veteran journalist who has worked on some of the biggest home and entertainment brands in the world. He is a serial house-renovator and home improvement expert, taking on everything from interior design and DIY to landscape gardening and garden design.

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