Where in the world would you most like to travel? How about back in time….Back to the Golden Age of Travel when boarding a train was luxurious and romantic, not huddling up with hundred of other commuters…
A trip on the Belmond British Pullman train, sister to the famous Venice Simplon Orient-Express, had long been on my bucket list and I was finally getting the opportunity via an experience with Red Letter Days.
Red Letter Days is all about giving the gift of unforgettable experiences rather than a physical object. I prefer to give people experiences because collecting memories and photos has always been more important to me than collecting things. I was also super happy that I’d be able to enjoy the experience Lauren, one of my closest friends that I’ve met through blogging! Lauren and I met at Victoria Station where there’s a dedicated waiting room for people about to board the Belmond British Pullman Train.
About ten minutes before the train was due to arrive we headed over to platform 15 so that we could see the beautiful locomotive in all it’s vintage glory pull into the station. The carriages on the train are all original and date back to the 1920’s and 30’s but have been lovingly restored to a pristine condition.
Each of the fourteen carriages has a name, and each has an individual identity and story behind it. Just think how many people have made a great journey in these coaches throughout the years.
Lauren and I were in Perseus, a first class parlour which was actually used in Winston Churchill’s funeral in 1965.
Inside the carriage many of the original features have been preserved such as the brass luggage rails and the wooden marquetry panels that line the sides. They were actually restored by A Dunn and Son, a family company that dates back to 1895 and actually created some of the original features.
Any added elements remain true to the train’s beautiful art deco style such as the elegant table lamps and the comfy sofas that would be our base for the next few hours.
Every single carriage is unique in colour and varying in style…
And you can sit in pairs…
Or take a private room for four.
Our table was laid out like any fine restaurant with starched white table clothes and the most beautiful blue china, especially commissioned for the train.
There are a number of different excursions offered on the Belmond British Pullman train which allow passengers to explore the English countryside and historic destinations or just stay on board, relax and enjoy a meal watching the world whizzing past. You can even channel Agatha Christie and experience a Murder Mystery Lunch inspired by her famous novel Murder on the Orient Express. Just like one of my favourite TV detectives, Hercule Poirot you can put your ‘little grey cells’ to work and discover who is the murderer from a cast of subjects on board. There’s even a prize for the best detective.
We’d be enjoying brunch with views of Kent, the Garden of England, through our window. Though I live in the big smoke now, I was bought up in the English countryside and the opportunity to be back there always gives me that warm feeling of home.
Brunch begins (as all good brunches should) with a bellini, the perfect way to toast our Bucket List adventure! Though the menu lists one cocktail, our waiter wasn’t too shy about giving us a few top ups!
Tea and coffee poured into our beautiful blue cups and biscuits selected from the silver platter, we leaned back on a chairs chatting and enjoying pastoral views. Thinking of the kings and queens, princes and princesses who had once enjoyed similar journeys.
Taking it’s name from American, George Pullman who built The Pioneer in 1864, Pullman has long been synonymous with luxury rail travel. The train is now own by Belmond, a company that owns some of the world’s most iconic hotels, trains and river boats across the world. I love Belmond’s beautiful properties and I’ve enjoyed a Michelin starred meal and stay in their UK hotel, Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons and bellinis in Venice at Belmond Cipriani.
Next up comes a selection of beautifully made pastries in all different flavours to be eaten alone or with the rich butter or variety of jams on the table.
A bellini is included with the brunch menu but there’s also a full wine list on the table. Lauren and I thought a glass of our favourite champagne, Laurent-Perrier, seemed the perfect way to celebrate ticking this dream off the bucket list. Especially as it was served in such beautiful cut glass flutes.
A simple fresh fruit salad starts things off followed by the main event…
As if this experience couldn’t get any better? They served my absolute favourite breakfast, a hot crumpet, the creamiest of scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and that perfect spoon of caviar added another level of luxury!
I also have to mention the bathrooms to you, which were in keeping with the luxurious standards of the train.
Beautiful wooden panelling, elegant marble sinks and a #Ihavethisthingwithfloors mosaic floor…I think you’ll agree this beats the usual train loo!!
And then just to keep us in the spirit of all things British and wartime nostalgia, The Spitfire Sisters came to entertain us. A fantastic three part vocal harmony group, the ladies sang witty tunes, and wore forties style dress and make up – the cherry on top of our vintage journey.
And speaking of which, if we weren’t already full from a five course breakfast, we were truly finished off by this beautiful lemon cake.
All to soon the journey was at an end and the Belmond British Pullman train pulled into Victoria Station and Lauren and I stepped out and back into 2017…but with the most incredible memories that we’d never forget.
A huge thank you to the Belmond British Pullman train and Red Letter Days for making this bucket list experience possible!
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We were guests of Belmond and Red Letter Days for this experience.