One of the top 5 things on our to do list is to take a trip on the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train from London to Venice. Since it’s inaugural trip from Paris to Istanbul in 1883 the Orient-Express has captured the world’s imagination and is simply described as one of the ‘finest travel experiences’ – a recent Chanel No.5 advert reinforced our love for this iconic train.
Whilst an overnight journey will set you back about £1,500 per person (not including the full range of matching Louis Vuitton luggage to complement, it seems only fitting don’t you think?) the only negative is that there are no showering facilities onboard, apart from your cabins wash-basin facilities (typically even that looks amazing!) with a lavatory situated at the end of each carriage. I guess this fine old lady just has to be forgiven as you and everyone else has a quick ‘towel wash’ before getting into your black tie finery for dinner…the whole idea still puts a smile on our faces!
But fear not, we have the perfect appetiser at a fraction of the cost!
The British Pullman and Northern Belle are sister trains to the VSOE. Pick one of their day journeys around England and whilst a trip will set you back around £250 per person, we can vouch it’s worth every penny.
Our Golden Age of Travel journey aboard the British Pullman, a five hour round trip luncheon from London Victoria, was everything we expected from Orient-Express. From the dedicated check-in reception, to the steward welcoming us into our carriage and showing us to our plush armchair seats (nothing is bolted down except the table in case you’re wondering), we settled with a glass of champagne, SO EXCITED, eagerly awaiting our journey to begin.
The carriages are stunning. Each has it’s own name with a different theme, all with veneered panels showing off exquisite Art Deco marquetry, Art Nouveau lamps, polished brass and glossy mahogany fittings – pick a direction and explore the other carriages in between courses.
The silver service five-course lunch was like being at one of the posh London restaurants except we were able to sit back, relax and watch the glorious countryside unfold outside our window (depending on which trip you take and the time of year you travel, we did stop and alight for 15 mins on the station platform at Whitstable where we listened to a jazz band as the staff served more champagne and oysters).
All of a sudden five hours had flown by and we were pulling back into Victoria station, a tad merrier and heavier, but what a great experience. It so whet the appetite for our wish list trip with the VSOE. The only negative about the entire day was having to mingle with the commoners as we left the station…we jest!