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Luxury Travel Exclusive News / A Foodie Train Journey Through The English Countryside/ By Belinda Craigie / www.luxurytravelmag.com.au/ Jennifer Bar,Tony Bar, Sedat Karagoz / Istanbul,New York Travel,Tourism News Office / Janbolat Khanat / Almaty Travel,Tourism News Office

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Luxury Travel Exclusive News / A Foodie Train Journey Through The English Countryside/ By Belinda Craigie / www.luxurytravelmag.com.au/ Jennifer Bar,Tony Bar, Sedat Karagoz / Istanbul,New York Travel,Tourism News Office / Janbolat Khanat / Almaty Travel,Tourism News Office

The Belmond British Pullman

The Belmond British Pullman

Belinda Craigie tracks the 20th Century’s ‘Golden Age’ of travel on a gastronomic day trip from London aboard the Belmond British Pullman

There’s a palpable buzz in the air at London Victoria station that I don’t typically experience. As commuters shift between trains and the tube, busily going out about their day, there’s a jovial, well-dressed crowd that has gathered adjacent to Platform 2, where the vintage carriages of the Belmond British Pullman are ready to board.

A vestige of the 1920s and ’30s, this heritage train revives the 20th Century’s ‘Golden Age’ of travel with themed day trips around England’s southern regions that combine immersive activities with high-end dining and white-gloved service. Eleven carriages, each with a distinctive identity, design and history, accommodate up to 226 passengers at elegant tables set with white tablecloths, fine bone china, polished silverware and weighty glassware that can withstand the small bumps and jolts of the tracks.

The round-trip experiences range from the cultural – exploring charming historic destinations such as Bath or Oxford – to the gastronomic, such as afternoon teas or multi-course dinners created by celebrity chefs.

Some coincide with major sporting events like the Goodwood Festival of Speed or the Grand National. A testament to the growing prevalence and appeal of English wine, I’m partaking in a new trip to Balfour winery, located on the sprawling Hush Heath Estate in Kent.

A very British experience

Climbing aboard the train’s restored Phoenix carriage from 1927, with its glossy Art Deco-style marquetry, polished brass railings and vintage table lighting, certainly does feel like stepping back in time. Said to be a favourite carriage of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Phoenix has hosted such notable figures as former French president, General de Gaulle.

The British Pullman’s other carriages each have fabled stories to share. Audrey carried the Queen, Queen Mother and HRH Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh to review the fleet in 1953, while Perseus formed part of Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral train in 1965. Vera was hit in an air raid in 1940. Later, following extensive repairs, she carried Prince Charles and Princess Anne on their first electric train trip in 1954.

Cygnus is the carriage that has perhaps received the most attention of late, following a redesign by the celebrated filmmaker, Wes Anderson, in 2021. Hints of his signature eccentric aesthetic can be observed in the carriage’s beautifully symmetrical marquetry, and seating covered in rich green upholstery, which contrasts brilliantly with a pastel-pink ceiling.

While each carriage may be distinct, the underlying feel is markedly British. Yet, Belmond’s international presence can be felt in the dining experience. One of the affable staff on our carriage, Harry, pours us a fresh Bellini cocktail — a nod to the group’s famed Hotel Cipriani Italy — to signal the start of a three-course brunch, as we make our way out of London and through the English countryside.

Luxury Travel Exclusive News / A Foodie Train Journey Through The English Countryside/ By Belinda Craigie / www.luxurytravelmag.com.au/ Jennifer Bar,Tony Bar, Sedat Karagoz / Istanbul,New York Travel,Tourism News Office / Janbolat Khanat / Almaty Travel,Tourism News Office

NEW BANNER JUNE 2024 2

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