The Lake District is the matriarch of national parks. It’s proud— even a little extravagant.
Like a colossal oil painting, daubed in rich tones with dark corners. Flares of auburn heather, ferns the colour of fresh limes. Fells like sleeping giants, tarns tunnelling the peat.
It has been one of Britain’s best loved wildernesses since the 1700s. It is still what we love it for: immense, intimate, wild. The perfect place to be alone with the one you love.
Across it lie nooks and crannies whose names, if they ever had them, are lost to the living. We’re thinking of the secret, unmapped places which belong to us and our memories.
‘The bench where it all began.’ ‘The spot where we got engaged.’
Read on, you may find yours below.
Castlerigg Stone Circle is from a time before castles. The stones are thought to have been laid around 3000 BC, meaning it could be 500 years older than Stonehenge. Unlike its cousin, Castlerigg feels untouched by tourism. In the four to five thousand years since it was built, only two stones have moved. You can stand within the remaining 38 just as those who built it did.
The circle likely served as a meeting point or spiritual site for travelling farming communities. Whilst its original purpose is unknown, its presence reminds us that people and place have shaped one another throughout history.
Its aspect is largely unchanged. Whilst the dense forests that would have smothered the valley – and most of England – have been felled, a ring of mountains still surrounds Castlerigg. Nature cannot always be tamed. Reveal the ring within concentric stone circles set up by the ancients.
Which one? You know it’s a surprise.
Option 1, Surprise View:
Take Keswick Launch across mirror-like water to Ashness Pier, then stroll to Surprise View via picturesque Ashness Bridge. Go down on one knee with the vast tarns of Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite glistening below you. After the surprise and view have run their course, return through the grounds of Derwentwater Youth Hostel. Then take the scenic woodland path to Lodore Falls before catching the launch at Lodore jetty.
Option 2, Surprise View and Falcon Crag:
This circular walk from Great Wood passes Surprise View and Falcon Crag, which is perched on the hill above. Both are grand plateaus with the feeling you get in the mountains- that you’re grazing the roof of the sky. Beyond these two are diverse options for an intimate proposal. The route moves seamlessly through all that is beautiful about the lakes. A glimpse down Borrowdale valley, a pristine waterfall, Skiddaw’s snow-dusted peak. Live in the moment and pick one that feels right. When you know, you know.
Stroll from Grasmere village to Loughrigg Terrace, which winds along lower Loughrigg Fell above Rydal water. In springtime spectacular bluebells blanket the fellside, way down to the shore. They are more than matched by the backdrop of Helm Crag and the Fairfield range. Benches dot the path, but not too many to draw crowds. Nearby is Rydal Cave, a shady burrow mined out of the slate two centuries ago.
Continue to Loughrigg Fell for views of Elterwater, Langdale, Coniston fells, and Windermere. Hopefully you’ll get it to yourselves. It’s at once openly expansive and intimately secluded. You’ll feel like you are surveying a kingdom as the only two people in it.
Adrenaline seekers love the mountains. Hikers, scramblers, fell runners. Cyclists who make tracks along Helvellyn’s frosted edge. Base jumpers soaring into the abyss.
Most of us experience fewer, more poignant moments when time stands still. The moment you summit a mountain gives you a taste of it. Getting engaged is the real deal. They call it ‘feeling on top of the world’ for a reason.
Climbing Scafell Pike to propose would combine both. Why not pop the question when the two of you are perched atop the roof of England?
You cannot fail to get a rush after scaling the country’s tallest mountain. Summit to see an awe-inspiring panorama below you, or step into an elemental swirl of cloud and fog. But you’ll be on cloud nine.
One bonus to a mountaintop proposal is that you’ll be flooded with oxygen on the return. You’ll feel two glasses into the champagne before you start.
Head in the Clouds
Delight your fiancé-to-be with a Hot Air Balloon ride above ribbons of water and fells. This is perhaps the best vantage point of all. But it can hardly be called a spot: it is an event.
Hot Air Balloon rides can be arranged at both Ullswater and Windermere Both locations are lauded destinations which can get busy. When you take to the sky, you’re guaranteeing your view is yours alone. Balloon rides also come with special details like a champagne toast and a flight certificate. The latter is the perfect memento of a sensational engagement.
Stay at Rothay Garden Hotel
Wherever you get engaged will harbour intrinsic meaning to both of you, for the rest of your lives. Choose somewhere you will love to visit for years to come, for intimate anniversary dinners and nostalgic trips down memory lane.
Rothay Garden is somewhere to return to. On your proposal stay, and ones to follow, focus on yourselves. We’ll sort the rest.