Inside the Belmond British Pullman, the lavish train that will take you on a trip back in time

Money’s tight but yearning for a little luxury? Why a trip back in time on the lavish Belmond British Pullman train is just the ticket for a feel-good daycation

  • Ben Douglas climbs aboard the Belmond train for a festive round-trip from London Victoria to Oxford
  • He says that the train, the sister train to the Venice Simplon Orient Express, ‘drips in glamour and luxury’
  • The carriages, which date from the 1920s, ‘wouldn’t look out of place on an Agatha Christie film set’

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So money’s tight, you don’t want to go away too far or for too long, but you yearn for a little luxury.

Now’s the time to think daycation – and a trip back in time on a lavish train.

For the ultimate feel-good trip, the Belmond British Pullman – sister train to the Venice Simplon Orient Express – is just the ticket. 

Ben Douglas takes a day trip on the Belmond British Pullman (pictured along the Kent coast), the sister train to the Venice Simplon Orient Express

The carriages date from the 1920s and 'wouldn’t look out of place on an Agatha Christie film set'

The carriages date from the 1920s and ‘wouldn’t look out of place on an Agatha Christie film set’

Dripping in luxury and glamour, it harks back to the heyday of rail power, and there are various festive itineraries that will take you through glorious swathes of the countryside.

High on the list of favourites – and selling out fast – are day trips to the Christmas market in Oxford and to see a performance by the Canterbury Singers in a candlelit crypt at the city’s famous cathedral.

We booked a 3½-hour round trip with afternoon tea. At Victoria Station we are greeted by liveried stewards and invited for drinks in the Belmond lounge, where harmony singing trio The Spitfire Sisters set the mood. 

It’s a glamorous start, before we board carriages that date from the 1920s and wouldn’t look out of place on an Agatha Christie film set.

'There are various festive itineraries that will take you through glorious swathes of the countryside,' says Ben. Above, the train is adorned with Christmas decorations

‘There are various festive itineraries that will take you through glorious swathes of the countryside,’ says Ben. Above, the train is adorned with Christmas decorations 

High on the list of Pullman favourites in terms of itineraries – and selling out fast – are day trips to the Christmas market in Oxford and to see a performance by the Canterbury Singers in a candlelit crypt at the city’s famous cathedral

High on the list of Pullman favourites in terms of itineraries – and selling out fast – are day trips to the Christmas market in Oxford and to see a performance by the Canterbury Singers in a candlelit crypt at the city’s famous cathedral

Ben reveals that he tucks into sandwiches, delicious savouries and little cakes and scones, all washed down with champagne

Ben reveals that on his trip birthdays being celebrated range from a 21st to a 101st

Ben reveals that on his trip birthdays being celebrated range from a 21st to a 101st

The whistle blows at 12.30pm and the Belmond begins to snake its way out of London and through Kent, via Redhill, Edenbridge and Ashford.

There’s a happy atmosphere on board – birthdays being celebrated range from a 21st to a 101st – as we tuck into sandwiches, delicious savouries and little cakes and scones, all washed down with champagne.

Before we arrive back in Victoria, two guests confided: ‘It’s worth every penny to feel so special just for a few hours.’

  • The Luminary Afternoon Tea journey, £340pp (belmond.com).


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