A trip on the Orient-Express is a rail treat
- Recommended for:
- Short Break, Mid-range
Day trips don't come any more decadent than this: watching the Kent countryside slip by as you enjoy a slap-up brunch in the glamorous surroundings of the Orient-Express
Who doesn’t love brunch? Have a lie-in snuggled up to a loved one, skip breakfast and then get up late, cook a few eggs, maybe a bit of salmon and add some fizz. Sounds heavenly, doesn’t it? So for a special occasion, why not go one better and have your lie-in, but take your loved one on the Orient-Express for brunch? It might seem extravagant but you won’t ever forget it.
My partner and I were lucky enough to experience a brunch trip for ourselves and we still talk about it. It’s just so decadent, and if you’re a fan of Art Deco, you’ll delight in the Tiffany lamps, strip lights and walnut panels; there are even a few original Liberty-print seats.
As soon as you step on the British Pullman Orient-Express at London’s Victoria, you’re in another era – one where food certainly isn’t fast and neither is travel. Instead, you can just sit back and be served as the countryside unfolds in front of your eyes, leaving the Big Smoke behind and heading into Kent.
Each coach has a name and Vera was our chosen chariot. Built in 1932, she looks good for her age despite being hit in an air raid at Victoria in 1940. Everywhere you look, you’ll see something pleasing, from the marquetry depicting leaping antelopes to the so-shiny-I-can-see-myself–in-it teapot. And don’t be shy; during the journey you’ll be invited to walk through the other carriages and you’ll be amazed at just how different they all are – each with its own personality.
As you might expect, the staff on board are super-attentive and never let the teapot go cold. On arrival, you’ll be greeted with a Bellini and fresh fruit cocktail, but this is only the beginning - there’s much more to follow and you’ll be amazed at the amount you’re able to eat during the three-hour trip.
Once the Bellini has hit the spot (and it will, trust me), it’s on to the very cute mini yoghurt and muesli pots and then, to follow, scrambled eggs with chives and Inverawe smoked salmon with a little caviar on a warm buttered crumpet. Delicious!
Attention to detail is key on the Orient-Express and the brunch trip is a great introduction if you’ve never before travelled aboard one of their legendary trains. The china and silverware are all monogrammed, which further adds to the glamour, and there’s not a piece of cutlery out of place. Even the buttons on the staff uniforms shine in a way that can only be the result of oodles of elbow grease.
Of course, luxury is the key and a two-week trip on the Orient-Express doesn’t come cheap but if you’re looking for a way to minimise your carbon footprint and see the scenery as you travel, it’s worth considering a train-based holiday. It’s probably not ideal for children, though, as it’s very much like travelling in a real-life working museum, and I imagine many parents would feel nervous about having their child aboard with them.
But if it’s just the two of you and there’s an anniversary coming up, steam ahead and book a trip that will take you back in time - and don’t be surprised if you fall in love all over again.