Lockdown has affected all of the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic, and with travel plans and tropical holidays all being postponed, romantic proposal destinations have had to take a backseat.
We wanted to see what that had done to proposal trends over the last twelve months. While you can’t ask the magical question at the top of the Empire State Building at the moment, have other heartstopping locations seen a boom?
Proposal and engagement trends
Despite many of us having our lives altered by lockdowns, proposals look to be on the rise. Searches for engagement rings have increased by 27% from last year, with many of us now looking online rather than in-store for purchasing. Searches for ‘how to propose’ have also increased by 28% over the last year, meaning many of us are looking for inspiration on how to make the perfect proposal at home whilst we can’t travel.
Throughout the year, searches have spiked alongside the pattern of lockdowns in the UK. But searches for ‘proposal ideas’ dropped by a huge -56% in April, as the UK transitioned into its first lockdown and plans were cancelled and changed. UK residents have instead been searching how to ‘propose at home’, which experienced a huge 287% increase in the last 12 months and peaked in December.
The most Instagrammable places in the UK to propose
With international travel off the cards but proposals at an all-time high, we have pulled together the best locations in the UK to get engaged. From scenic spots to iconic landmarks, these romantic outdoor spots are the perfect way to keep it special without traveling abroad.
The capital city of Scotland is the second city on our list with plenty of history and culture. Edinburgh boasts several panoramic views ideal for a proposal spot. For an Instagram -worthy moment, try visiting Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh Castle or the Royal Mile.
Beaches in Cornwall are often regarded as some of the most beautiful in the UK. With turquoise seas blue enough to rival the Mediterranean, it's the perfect place to emulate a tropical proposal. Watergate Bay, Porthmeor Beach, Whitsand Bay and Kynance Cove are some of the most popular spots with crystal waters, rock formations and even caves. Pick a clear day any time of year for the best views and photos.
Known as one of the oldest cities in England, York is the ideal place for a picture-perfect proposal. Quaint streets, wonky buildings and an impressive cathedral make up the city centre, providing plenty of places for a romantic moment. An estimated 6.9 million people visit the Yorkshire city, so try visiting midweek to avoid crowds!
4. Lake District
The Lake District boasts several romantic spots, it is perhaps the most popular spot in the UK for proposals. Whether after a long hike, on a boat ride across one of the lakes, or in one of the Cumbrian towns dotted across the National Park, there are countless locations for declaring your love. For a truly instagramable moment try picking one of the peaks with a panoramic view.
5. Tower Bridge
Across the English capital, there are numerous places perfect for getting down on one knee. Our top pick is Tower Bridge. The bridge is one of London’s most iconic landmarks, making it the perfect backdrop for a lifelong memory and the following celebrations. It’s surrounded by pubs and restaurants, perfect places to toasting to your future forever.
Spanning across the south-east of England, the Cotswolds is renowned for its beautiful villages built using the golden Cotswold stone. Locations like Castle Combe, Bourton-on-the-Water and Burford make the perfect backdrop for romantic proposal images, with historic buildings and quaint streets. If a busier city is more your scene, Bath provides the beautiful nature of the Cotswolds with grand townhouses and Roman baths.
7. Peak District National Park
The Peak District is one of the most popular national parks in the UK, with over 10 million people visiting every year. The park is estimated to be within an hour’s drive for over 20 million people, making it one of the most accessible and beautiful locations for a romantic proposal. From steep peaks with expansive views to quaint villages and towns such as Castleton, Hathersage and Bakewell, there are plenty of locations perfect for those who like a hike or prefer a quiet stroll.
Known for its gothic abbey and its vampires, Whitby is a quaint coastal town with a romantic feel due to its small cobbled streets. There are several spots perfect for a proposal, including at the top of the 199 steps overlooking the bay and town.
9. Loch Ness
The second Scottish spot on our list is Loch Ness. Known worldwide for its occupier Nessie, it provides some of the most scenic and romantic views in the country. The freshwater loch is an ideal spot for nature lovers and those who enjoy outdoor activities, with miles of trails to explore and boat trips available to take across the water.
10. Giants Causeway
The Giant’s Causeway is located in County Antrim on the north coast of Northern Ireland. The popular landmark is famous for its distinctive stone columns, which have created a space of wonderful natural beauty. Whilst not the most common coastal retreat, the Giant’s Causeway makes for a beautiful proposal location with the opportunity for some truly unique photography too.
Top Ten Lockdown Proposal Tips
A proposal doesn't always need a fancy location; a special moment can be created anywhere. Proposing at home is a great idea if you want a truly private moment, as it allows you to craft the perfect plan with no interruptions.
Here are our top tips on creating the perfect proposal at home.
1. Be prepared
Whilst proposing at home means no interruptions from the outside world, it may be harder to keep it a secret. Be as prepared as possible, even if a spontaneous proposal is more your style. Having the perfect ring ready to go is essential if you want to capture the moment. You should also think of how you can hide your camera or phone whilst getting the perfect shot, as well as keeping a bottle of something fizzy to celebrate with after..
2. Make it special
Proposing at home might feel like an underwhelming location, however there are so many ways to make the moment unforgettable. Why not cook your other half a meal and have an at-home date night? Setting up petals and candles might seem cliche but it is a great way to create a romantic atmosphere, even in your living room.
3. Make it fun
There are plenty of ways to get creative with your proposal at home, and the extra effort will be worth the memorable evening. Set up a romantic treasure hunt with photos, memories and jokes leading the way to a proposal at the end. Other creative ideas could involve taking a trip down memory lane through photo albums or music.
4. Strip it back
A proposal doesn't always have to be big and bold. Sometimes a simple moment can be beautiful and special. Small gestures like breakfast in bed or a home-cooked meal can be the perfect opportunity to pop the question.
5. Involve your four-legged friends!
If you have a pet, why not include them in the moment? Cats and dogs for many of us are our closest companions, and there are products such as collars which can be used to attach rings or ring boxes! Alternatively, if you’ve been waiting to get a new member of the family, why not combine the moment with the big question?
6. Take it outside
Whilst our usual travel plans are interrupted, a romantic walk could make for the ideal proposal! Pick a local location which could be a country road, a lakeside route, or even a city centre stroll with a landmark for a background. Making the most of your local area could be a great way to get outside your house and get down on one knee.
7. Get the children involved
If you have kids, make them a part of your special moment! Whilst they may not be the best at keeping it under wraps, involving them can be fun no matter what age. Older children may enjoy creating a card or some decorations, whilst babies and toddlers could wear a T-shirt or babygrow with a personalised message.
8. Food is a gateway to the heart
Good food will always impress. If you’re a good chef, why not whip up your partner's favourite meal or try a three-course themed dinner? If you’re not as talented in the kitchen, personalised baked goods are the way to go. Many companies offer treats from cupcakes to brownies and fully crafted, tiered cakes which can all be personalised with text or images.
9. Centre it around hobbies
Whether your other half loves running or movies or crafting, why not involve something they love in your proposal? Movie lovers might enjoy a garden cinema, whilst runners might enjoy getting out for a 10k and finding a ring along the way! Think about how your partner loves to spend their time and create a unique proposal around that.
10. Enjoy the moment!
Finally, no matter what you’re planning remember to enjoy the moment! Any proposal will be memorable and special as you embark on the exciting journey of becoming a married couple.
Whether you’re already looking for the perfect engagement ring or starting to search for inspiration, we stock new arrivals every day that are bound to be the perfect match. Currently, we are offering a delivery service alongside 30-day returns, so you can see and fall in love with your choice in person before confirming it’s the one.
We analysed the most hashtagged and liked Instagram images in locations around the UK to find the best outdoor proposal destinations for UK residents looking to propose in 2021.
All hashtag numbers were correct as of January 2021.
All credit for images are attributed to the owners. Please see more information for featured photographers here: