Valentine's Day is the classic time to propose to your other half. But you need the right place to propose in Durham; you don't want loads of people walking past, you want somewhere beautiful, and you want a location that'll make a nice story in years to come. If you were planning on popping the question while sat on the sofa in front of Deal Or No Deal, you might need to think again.
We've racked our brains and come up with a few suggestions for the ideal place to propose in Durham. Good luck.
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Durham places to propose #1: Prebends Bridge
What could be more romantic than an 18th Century setting, bathed in the light of a lamp that inspired one of the most famous books in the world?
The old-world Prebends Bridge is Grade I listed and sits over one of the quieter stretches of the River Wear. The tree-framed setting isn't a main thoroughfare so if you pick the right time then you could have the place to yourself.
The perfect spot is the lamp that allegedly inspired the original setting for CS Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia - on the peninsula side facing the bridge, it's the lamp on the grass verge at the fork between the two paths to your right. The original lamp is long gone, but that doesn't detract from the atmosphere.
Afterwards, if all went well you can walk the few short yards down to the Little Count's House and sit on the steps together looking out at the River Wear.
Durham places to propose #2: Seaham Hall
We asked what could be more romantic than Prebends Bridge - but what about the 18th Century country house where Britain's greatest Romantic poet was married?
Seaham Hall was built in 1791 and played host to the marriage of Lord Byron and Annabella Milbanke in 1815. Okay, so their marriage didn't exactly end well, and Byron is hardly the exemplification of good relationships, but you can see where we're going with this.
Seaham Hall has got some nice grounds and fountains, and afterwards you can have a walk along Seaham front looking out to sea.
Durham places to propose #3: Derwent Reservoir
If you prefer somewhere more rural, then we've got just the place for you. The Derwent Reservoir dam is an impressive structure and the public are able to walk over the top of it. With a railed lookout point to the north east end, you can have the perfect setting looking across the expanse of water. There's even a nearby car park, so you don't even have to walk very far if that's not your thing.
If you're travelling from Durham city, head up via Lanchester, Consett and Carterway Heads, then follow the B6278, where you can turn off right to the dam. Afterwards, you could head to nearby Slaley Hall for a celebratory (hopefully) drink.
Durham places to propose #4: Finchale Abbey
Finchale Abbey is like a miniature Durham within Durham: a beautiful church built on a bend in the river. Finchale Abbey is, unfortunately, a ruin, but that doesn't stop it being a great setting to pop the question.
Finchale Abbey is just to the north of Durham city and can be approached either from the A167 to the west or the A690 to the east. Cocken Road is pretty rural (watch out for the pheasants and squirrels that happily sit on the road around every corner), but there's a lay by at the top of the bank above Finchale Abbey where you can pull in. Walk down the path and cross the wooden footbridge, then explore the ruins until you find the perfect spot (we reckon the riverbank on the apex of the curve of the River Wear is ideal).
Afterwards, you could head south to the Newton Grange pub for something to eat, or north to Lumley Castle.
Durham places to propose #5: Causey Arch
If the ideas above aren't impressively historic enough for you, then surely Causey Arch will fit the bill. It could be argued that Causey Arch exemplifies the North East better than anywhere else, bringing together innovation, railways, mining, and beautiful scenery. Causey Arch is the oldest single span railway bridge in the world and was built in 1725-6. Just to the north of Beamish, Causey Arch will be quiet and full of nooks and crannies to make your own.
There's plenty of parking, and a lovely walk that passes underneath Causey Arch alongside the Causey Burn. Take your walking boots as the path can get muddy.