A day out on the Belmond British Pullman

Jenny Igoe on 19 November 2018

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I’m becoming a bit of a train lover as I get older. In May I was invited with a group of Travel Counsellors to go on the Belmond British Pullman steam train. I jumped at the chance to dress up in sequins and feathers (1920’s dress is optional) and met my friends at the platform at London Victoria.

I was presented with the most beautiful ticket in a white box, a thing of beauty, which set the tone perfectly. Couples in their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and even older were dressed in their absolute best, looking excited and fabulous. Larger groups of families, where grown up children were treating parents to celebrate a special birthday or anniversary, took group photos alongside the stunning train.

When it was time to board, immaculately dressed staff escort you to your carriage before checking your ticket and inviting you on board. Once inside it’s a feast for the senses. Our carriage was absolutely stunning. Tables were laid out for 2 and 4, it felt like the actual 1920’s. The lighting was so pretty, everything twinkled. The table settings were laid so beautifully everything blue, white and crystal.

We were served a cold glass of bubbly as we boarded and decided to continue with a bottle of Laurent Perrier! We all felt so lucky to be experiencing this amazing train.

As the train pulls out of Victoria the fun just begins, so many people waving you off, for some it’s a bucket list item just to see the British Pullman let alone dine on it! Choo choo all the way out of London as we sipped our champagne and soon, we were served our first course.

The meal was a 5-course fine dining delight. Tomato soup, smoked mackerel salad, lamb and potatoes, cheese and biscuits, and a fruit tart with after dinner mints. Alongside a half bottle of wine. The courses are spread out over the whole journey as you see through the window the most amazing English countryside.

Our journey was called the Golden Age of Travel and passed through 170 miles of green countryside, I never knew Kent was so pretty. Our destination was Broadstairs for Oysters. How fun?! On arrival at Broadstairs the mood was definitely jolly, and we were handed another glass of ice cold bubbles, and as we stepped off the train we were greeted by a Brass Band!

The older couples who we’d seen at Victoria were now dancing and jiving on the station platform, elderly men had watery eyes reminiscing about their youth via the music - so lovely to see. Oysters were served out of a huge ice box and it just felt like it would be rude not to eat them in Broadstairs! The band though - all I kept thinking was, this is England, what a fabulous country we live in, and how not scary it is to get old when you see sights like this! It didn’t matter your age, on that platform everyone danced, hugged and said cheers to anyone and everyone!

Back on board the British Pullman, the journey back was relaxed, and you had time to sit back and admire the rolling fields of Kent - the farms, the cornfields and eventually the buildings of London came into view. None of us wanted it to end, the most special memories all wrapped up in a day.

I bought a souvenir teacup and some toffees to take home. As we pulled into London Victoria, we all said our goodbyes and had a final photo with our favourite train. Such a treat, I’ll never forget it! Thank you, Belmond, and Broadstairs.

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