Breaking Travel News review: Onboard the Orient-Express British Pullman

2nd Aug 2012
Breaking Travel News review: Onboard the Orient-Express British Pullman

Stepping back in time is not as surreal as one might imagine.

Plenty of hotels trade on their heritage, asking guests to take a break from the modern world at a retreat designed to evoke days-gone-by.

Cruiseliners also sail the seas, bringing vintage performances to audiences ready to suspend their sense of time and place in order to step back into the past.

What is unique about the British Pullman, however, is that you are invited to do it in the morning rush-hour at London Victoria station.

As you glide out of the platform sipping a glass of champagne on board this northern off-shoot of the Orient Express, a glance out of the window reveals stressed commuters packed tightly into carriages.

It is hard not to feel a small sense of satisfaction; it is as though you are on a ghost train, slipping back into history.

The feeling lasts the whole journey, as the vintage carriages that once ran on legendary 1920s services trundle around some of the more picturesque outposts of the British rail network.

Guests are seated in carriages which once formed part of the legendary Brighton Belle and Golden Arrow services, each now offering an environment of pure indulgence.

Lovingly resorted, featuring rare timber veneers, custom-loomed fabrics and solid brass work, the carriages offer couples or small groups a space to relax as the champagne flows and gourmet cuisine is served.

Glamour, fun and a dash of adventure are all part of the day; it is easy to image yourself as a decadent bright young thing in Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies.


At the heart of the experience is the ultimate moveable feast.

Executive head chef Robbie Gleeson brings a wealth of knowledge to the tracks, as well as a passion for fine dining that has seen him cook for some of the top restaurants worldwide.

Menus feature the seasonal delicacies from the British Isles, coaxed into classic and innovative dishes. Each is freshly prepared in a cupboard sized kitchen using the finest ingredients from mainly UK suppliers - a sight to behold in itself.

More than 150kg of caviar and 22,000 bottles of champagne are served on UK journeys alone each year!

On our journey through Canterbury, Broadstairs and Whitstable, we are served roast breast of Kentish guinea foul, alongside tian of Cornish crab meat, garden pea & Suffolk ham hock soup and English cheese. 

Fine English wines - largely from Kent’s oldest vineyard, Biddenden - also excite the pallet while the countryside flashes past.


Dining completed, entertainment on the British Pullman is in keeping with the spirit of history.

Brass bands play to the assembled, evoking the golden music hall era, allowing guests to try out their Charleston, foxtrot and waltz steps.

Stops along the way – including ours today at Whitstable to try out the world-famous oysters – also break up the journey and ease digestion.

All too soon, however, we return to London Victoria, stepping back into the mundane real world of the modern day. How sad making!

More Information

Few experiences can compare to a journey on the British Pullman.

With departures from London Victoria, Birmingham, Manchester and many other cities and towns, the trains give guests a chance glide through stunning scenery on their way to exciting destinations all over Britain.

The British Pullman train can also be chartered for a personal journey: for the launch of luxury products; to celebrate a success or to say thank you to key customers.

For more information take a look at the official website.


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