IWA Guide to the Perfect Waterside Places to Propose

Created on 12/02/2018

For those of you who might be looking for some inspiration for the perfect proposal location for the canal lover in your life this Valentine’s Day, we asked some of our trustees, volunteers and members what they thought the best spots along our waterways might be...

1. Top of the Tardebigge Flight - Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Lock cottage on the Tardebigge Flight by Robert Silverwood

Comprising 30 locks along just over two miles of the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, Tardebigge Flight is the UK’s longest flight of locks.  Fun fact: At the top lock of the flight, are plaques commemorating the founding of The Inland Waterways Association.

“ If you can manage that together without falling out, you’re good for life!!”
Paul Rodgers - IWA Trustee

2. The Horse Bridge overlooking Brownings Pool, Little Venice

Pool at Little Venice by Tim Lewis

As the Grand Union Canal meets the Regent’s Canal, Little Venice is one of London’s hidden treasures.  Horse Bridge overlooks the pool where boats, paddle boarders and wildlife pass through. It is also the perfect location to view IWA's annual Canalway Cavalcade over the early May Bank Holiday weekend.
“The Pool is named after the poet, Robert Browning, who lived close by. His wife, Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote the poem "How do I love thee, let me count the ways”
Christine Smith - IWA Canalway Cavalcade volunteer

3. Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct by Robert Silverwood

On the border of England and Wales, one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways is the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.  You don't have to be a boater to enjoy this World Heritage Site.  Walk along the aqueduct towpath and enjoy the view from 38m above the beautiful River Dee.  If the drop gives you wobbly knees it's a great excuse to get down onto one. What more beautiful spot to pop the question?

4. Summit level of the Rochdale Canal

Photo: Rochdale Canal Summit by Tim Green

The romantic Rochdale Canal winds across the rugged heights of the Pennines from Manchester to the Upper Calder Valley.  Not for the faint hearted, the summit pound is one of the highest in Britain at 600 feet (183 m) above sea level, with 36 locks dropping to Sowerby Bridge on one side, and 56 locks to Castlefield Junction in the other direction.

“For that Heathcliff mood”
Sue O’Hare - IWA Navigation Committee

5. The Chain Ferry at Stratford upon Avon

Why not have your own Romeo & Juliet moment to remember for ever?  In Stratford-on-Avon, where the Stratford Canal meets the River Avon. See a matinee performance of Romeo & Juliet in the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre, a cosy dinner, a walk by the statue of Shakespeare in Bancroft Gardens then a river crossing in the old-fashioned way - you'll be irresistible!

6. Halfway through Standedge Tunnel

Photo: Standedge Tunnel by Bob Haigh

Standedge Tunnel on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal is one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways. Cutting through the Pennine Hills, Standedge is the country's longest, deepest and highest canal tunnel.  You can also arrive by boat and get married at the visitor centre next to the tunnel.

“no going back!”
Chris Howes - IWA Eastern Region Chairman

7. The Three Graces, Liverpool

Photo: Liverpool Link by Peter Scott

The Liverpool Link runs past the Three Graces, a trio of striking buildings at Liverpool's Pier Head, which include the Royal Liver Building, The Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building.  

“Some say one of the World's most beautiful skylines - don't let the Liver birds (or your beloved) fly away!”
Christine Smith - IWA Canalway Cavalcade volunteer

8. The Bridge of Sighs in Cambridge

Photo: Bridge of Sighs in Cambridge by David Iliff. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

Why not take a punt through the Backs in Cambridge and visit the historic Bridge of Sighs.  Part of Cambridge University, the bridge is named after the Bridge of Sighs in Venice.

“The ultimate romance, drifting along in a punt on a balmy summer’s evening…”
Sue O’Hare - IWA Navigation Committee

9. Summit of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal

The highest point on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal at Greenberfield is beautiful moorland on one of the remotest parts of the Canal.  Walk or boat up the series of locks to the summit to be rewarded with fabulous views.

“Only you, the missus and the stars… I remember thinking - if I was going to get snowed in anywhere, this would be it. A stone built village pub and a roaring log fire...”
Chris Howes - IWA Eastern Region Chairman

10. Shropshire Union Canal, Chester

As you follow the Shroppie into Chester, you’ll see the recently restored King Charles Tower above the Canal with a pretty garden area below.  The garden was recently refurbished to open up views from the City Walls to the Shropshire Union Canal.  Voted one of the top places in the country people would choose to take a romantic stroll, Chester's City Walls make the perfect backdrop to say “I do”.

11. Folly Bridge overlooking Christchurch Meadow, River Thames

Photo: View from Folly Bridge by David Iliff. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

Known as the city of the dreaming spires, why not head to Oxford for that special moment? A bridge in two parts, Folly Bridge on the River Thames overlooks Christchurch Meadow. Grab a drink at the Head of the River pub, stop for a picnic in the Meadow, take a punt or seal the deal with a Jazz Cruise aboard one of the Salter’s Steamers

12. Hatton Flight, Grand Union Canal

Hatton Lock Flight looking towards Warwick by Roger-Butler

Also known as the "stairway to heaven", Hatton flight in Warwickshire has 21 locks over a two mile stretch of canal. The views are well worth the climb!

"I proposed to Mrs B at the top of Hatton Flight one year to the day after we met."
- Neil B

Romantic Place Names

And if those spots don’t float your boat as suitable places to pop the question, perhaps one of these will <3

  1. Meads Reach Footbridge across the River Avon in Bristol, is also known as Valentine Bridge
  2. Love Lane Bridge on the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal
  3. Bridge No 34, also known as Lover's Lane Bridge, near Nether Heyford on the Grand Union Canal
  4. Loves Bridge on the Wey and Arun Canal
  5. Plank Footbridge No 131A on the South Oxford, also known as The Wedding Bridge
  6. Lovers Creek on the Lancaster Canal

Get our latest articles in your inbox

Subscribe to our regular email newsletter to receive our latest articles and news from around the waterways.

first name:

last name:


Tags: Things to Do