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Five unusual places to propose in London

the Shard

The English capital is a place of romance, and there’s no shortage of unusual places to propose in London. Yes, there’s pollution in the air and chewing gum on the streets. But London’s history, from Dickens through to Oscar Wilde and the Bloomsbury set, mark it out as a place where beauty springs up from its sheer number of weird and wonderful inhabitants. As actress Rachel Weisz said,

“I think London’s sexy because it’s full of eccentrics.”

Of course, I’m biased. I chose to move here over twenty years ago, and I love the place. But if you’re looking for an unusual places to propose in London, then you’re in luck. There are plenty to choose from. Here are some of the best places to propose in London, if you want to do things a little differently.

Romantic proposals: standing on a glass floor at the Shard, or on Tower Bridge

the Shard London

The iconic Shard has a glass floor, if you want to pop the question from up high.

If you’d like to make butterflies flutter in your tummy for more reason than one, why not pop the question over a glass floor? The Shard‘s viewing platform – an ear-popping 244 metres above street level and the highest in Europe – has an area with a see-through floor. If you look down, you can see the tiny red buses, black cabs and miniscule matchstick people scurrying around, all the way down through acres of sky. Heart in your mouth? Well, hopefully that will make your marriage proposal doubly thrilling!

You can read more about the view from the Shard in this post by the Family Adventure Project. But if the whole thing sounds a little too terrifying, there’s also a glass floor at Tower Bridge, (that’s the pretty, ornate one that tourists often think is called London Bridge). Tower Bridge’s walkways used to be a haunt for prostitutes and pickpockets, back in the day. Now they hold in place (snugly, we hope) an 11-metre long glass floor, where you can declare your undying love a grand 42 metres above the level of the bridge below.

A romantic proposal at Columbia Road Flower Market

flower market

Grab a bouquet for a super-romantic proposal.

What could be more romantic than grabbing a bouquet and dropping down on one knee, in the middle of a bustling London street? The flower market at East London’s Columbia Road runs down a street of shops dating back to the 1860s, and is the capital’s most popular place to buy flowers. It’s arguably one of the most romantic places to propose in London. On a springtime Sunday it’s teeming with the floral scent of roses and lillies. Florists flock there to pick out a bargain, as do hip young Londoners in search of floral decor for their loft apartments. If you propose marriage in the middle of Columbia Road, you’ll be sure to draw a crowd. And any flush of embarrassment on the cheeks of your loved one, will be offset by the vivid, festive colours around you.

A proposal over the Meridian Line, at Greenwich Royal Observatory

Greenwich park in spring

You can straddle both sides of the planet at Greenwich.

At Greenwich’s Royal Observatory you’ll find the Prime Meridian of the world. The Meridian is marked by a metal line set into the ground in exactly the spot where the world is divided into two halves: north, and south. So if you stand with a foot straddling either side of the line when you propose, you can literally declare your love on both sides of the planet. When the sun crosses the sky over the Prime Meridian, Greenwich Mean Time begins. GMT is the zero point for time systems all over the world. So you could claim your Royal Observatory Greenwich proposal was made at the dawn of all time……

(Ok, that may be stretching the point a little. But if you’re interested to find out more about Greenwich – and what you can do if you take any future children there – check out this post by Family Travel Times)

Best proposal for privacy: at Hampstead Heath’s bathing ponds

pond with mannequins

The bathing ponds at Hampstead Heath are good for a more private, intimate proposal.

Hampstead is a leafy north London suburb. Celebrities like Emma Thompson and Ridley Scott live there, and it’s also blessed with 320 hectares of ancient parkland. As well as butterflies, dog walkers and picnicking locals, on Hampstead Heath you’ll also find three bathing ponds, two of which are open all year round. Even at the height of summer, it’s possible to find a quiet nook next to one of the ponds. The bathing ponds might be the best places to propose if you want privacy, but still want to be outdoors when you make your London proposal. They’re segregated into men’s, women’s, and mixed, so depending on whether your union is same-sex, or with someone of the opposite gender, you’ll find a pond that floats your boat.

Unusual places in London to propose: In a hide at the London Wetland Centre, Barnes

ducks

Ducks can share your big moment if you propose at London Wetland Centre.

Picture the scene. You’re snuggled up, in a small cosy hide overlooking a glistening expanse of water. As you sip your flasks of hot chocolate, you spot the bright green flashes of an airborne teal. It lands in the water, and then paddles over to the group of gently mottled golden-brown pintail ducks, clustered around the reeds.

Turning to your love, you pull out an emerald ring to match the wings of the teal, and whisper the words you’ve been reheasing in your head for weeks…..

The London Wetland Centre, an award-winning nature reserve in Barnes near Hammersmith, records 180 species of visiting and resident birds each year. Winter – or Valentine’s Day – is the best time to see rare ducks there. And as well as birds like kingfishers, sand martins and herons, the place is a haven for other creatures, like butterflies, lizards, frogs and even otters.

The London Wetland Centre’s not noted for being one of the most romantic places in London. But once you’ve said “will you marry me” in one of its six hides, if things go according to plan and you decide to come back – with or without any sprogs that might come along – there will be plenty to keep your family happy. Just ask Mums Do Travel, who posted about it here. Or Mummy Travels, who loves the Wetland Centre so much she’s visited it three times.

 

Wherever you decide to do it, good luck with your marriage proposal. May the ghosts of old London town be on your side.

And if your proposal is a success…..why not check out these ten wedding venues in London and nearby? Let us know if you have any London marriage proposal ideas of your own!

 

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23 Comments

  • Sarah Ebner
    January 20, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Lovely ideas, and thanks for including us. The flower market is a particularly sweet one!

    Reply
    • Nell
      January 20, 2017 at 11:32 am

      A pleasure. I had fun writing this!

      Reply
  • Christine
    January 23, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    I’ll add another one – but only because I happened to be standing next to this couple at the weekend! The viewpoint at King Henry’s Mound in Richmond Park – she said yes 🙂

    Although if he’d have known the supposed history behind the place I’m not sure he’d have chosen it (King Henry VIII may have stood here to watch a signal that Anne Boleyn had been executed!)

    Reply
    • Nell
      January 24, 2017 at 2:24 pm

      What a fantastic story! But maybe he should have done a bit of research first 🙂

      Reply
  • Wandermust mummy
    January 24, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    Lovely ideas – lots of posts on #citytripping making me miss my beloved London

    Reply
    • Nell
      January 24, 2017 at 2:25 pm

      Aah – hope you get the chance to visit sometimes!

      Reply
  • tots2travel
    January 25, 2017 at 11:55 am

    The flower market completely grabs me, it’s like something out of a musical. Such a wonderful, and simple, idea.

    Reply
    • Nell
      January 29, 2017 at 6:00 pm

      Yes I’d love to catch someone doing it one day!

      Reply
  • Plutonium Sox
    January 25, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Oh I found this really interesting! I didn’t know you could see the meridian line, I always thought it was just a theoretical line. I also love the sound of the bathing ponds, especially the fact they’re open all year round. I love open water swimming and often struggle to find places to go, might have to bring a swimsuit next time I’m down in London!
    Nat.x

    Reply
  • Tanja (the Red phone box travels)
    January 30, 2017 at 10:34 am

    very interesting ideas! I’m already married so.. 🙂 #mondayescapes

    Reply
  • tots2travel
    January 30, 2017 at 11:04 am

    The great thing about the Shard is you can have a lovely glass of bubbly or a romantic meal after she says yes!
    #mondayescapes

    Reply
    • Nell
      February 1, 2017 at 2:23 pm

      Now there’s an idea!

      Reply
  • Fiona Cambouropoulos
    January 30, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    What a fun way to look at some of London’s best places! #MondayEscapes

    Reply
    • Nell
      February 1, 2017 at 2:36 pm

      Thanks! I did enjoy writing this post…

      Reply
  • Lydia C. Lee
    January 30, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    Love the baths! How cute….

    Reply
  • Bryna | Dotted Line Travels
    January 31, 2017 at 2:21 am

    Great idea of a proposal over the Meridian Line! I think that will make a great proposal story!

    Reply
    • Nell
      February 2, 2017 at 11:07 am

      Yes it would be rather unusual!

      Reply
  • Tania @ Larger Family Life
    January 31, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    I’m still not sure whether I’m a fan or foe of the Shard but I do love the ideas you’ve come up with for this post. Will keep them in mind for my next marriage (just kidding, Mike!) #MondayEscapes

    Reply
    • Nell
      February 2, 2017 at 11:07 am

      Hehehe!

      Reply
  • Mini Travellers
    January 31, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    Some fab ideas, but also some fab photos. I love the one of the ladies (!) in the bathing pool! Thanks for linking up to #Mondayescapes

    Reply
    • Nell
      February 2, 2017 at 11:07 am

      Thanks for hosting! x

      Reply
  • Gluten Free Treat
    February 14, 2017 at 7:01 am

    Thank you for sharing such a good places for valentines..

    Reply

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