Top 10 places for leap year proposals

A view of Markeaton Park in Winter

Thu 27 Feb 2020

According to tradition, February 29th is the date when the tables are turned and it is the woman’s only chance to propose marriage to her significant other.

Traditions change over time, but some of Derby’s most beautiful outdoor places are enduring. As Derby’s Parks Team love the great outdoors, we asked them to come up with the best places to pop the question – especially if it’s a once-in-a-four-year opportunity.

  1. The Gnarly Oak, Chaddesden Wood: Chaddesden Wood in Oakwood is one of two remaining ancient woodlands within Derby. A local nature reserve, it is home to a huge population of bluebells giving it the local name of Bluebell Wood. At the Springwood Drive entrance, there is a triangular bench which is overlooked by a big old gnarly oak. This is a well-known meeting place for first dates, so why not a proposal?
  2. Allestree Park Big Wood: When stood on the edge of Big Wood, you can see right across the Derwent Valley to Drum Hill and Little Eaton. The view is stunning and has been used for proposals. There are more scenic locations by the lake or up on the hill overlooking the hall.
  3. Darley Terrace, Darley Park: Darley Park plays a key role in the designation of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site and this view, which takes in the backdrop of the park’s historic landscape, is monitored to ensure it stays beautiful. Plus there is the Darley Park Tea Rooms to celebrate with a cuppa. The Butterfly Garden nearby is another scenic spot at any time of the year.
  4. Alvaston Park Science Trail: You could find yourself on top of the world with a proposal on the science trail. Gazing at the stars, whispering sweet nothings through the ‘whispering dishes’ or if it’s sunny, timing it just right using the human sundial. Then enjoy a stroll around the lake and watch the swans glide by.
  5. Propose new beginnings against the backdrop of Britain’s oldest public park. Derby Arboretum has some of the most historic trees in the city, like the Black Walnut tree or Britain’s tallest Caucasian Lime. The beautiful Orangery is another memorable place. The park is celebrating its 180th anniversary this year, which has to be a good omen for planning a future together.
  6. The Dale Road Park Toposcope, Spondon: This unique feature is a bronze sculpture which points to the five different counties you can see from the park, and other landmarks in the distance. On a clear day you can see for miles! A good place to celebrate a long future together.
  7. The Old Poachers Oak, Markeaton Park: This ancient oak tree, behind the Famous Trains building, is hollow in the middle. Its imaginative name comes from its use as a hiding place by illegal poachers when it was part of Markeaton Estate. Although it looks like a small tree, it is probably one of the oldest on the park and could tell some stories – perhaps the next one will be yours.
  8. The Rose Garden, Markeaton Park: Located near the site of the old hall, this intimate garden is a lovely setting at any time of the year. You can celebrate at the nearby Orangery Café, or even choose a ring from the jewellery shop at the Craft Village.
  9. Handyside’s Bridge: This bridge connects the southern end of Darley Park to Parker’s Piece and Chester Green. It’s always a great spot to gaze down the river and a popular place to play Pooh Sticks – so why not a proposal?
  10. Cathedral Green: The footbridge across the river on Cathedral Green is a popular place for leaving ‘love locks’. You’ll be able to return to the spot when the renovation of the Silk Mill building is complete and enjoy one of Derby’s most historic views for years to come.