Combine plush carpets, soft lighting, deep comfortable chairs, velvet curtains, fine china, cucumber sandwiches, scones with strawberry jam, lashings of clotted cream and pots of tea served by waiters in smart suits, with a train journey and what do you get?…….Belmond British Pullman, sister train to the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, for Mother’s Day!!
Just two days before Mother’s Day (after much secrecy and veiled hints) my daughter gave me a posh white, gold trimmed envelope. With impatient fingers and excited eagerness I pulled it open to reveal tickets for Afternoon Tea on Belmond British Pullman Orient Express for Mother’s Day!! Whoop whoop! One of my dream journeys, I had previously, with my daughter, watched the Orient Express roll into Broadstairs Station on a couple of occasions – to the wide-eyed envy of the seaside town’s residents.
A whoosh of smoke and a flurry of brakes squealing on the tracks, this marvellous beast pulled into the station and disgorged it’s passengers onto the platform some months ago. With shrieks of delight and screams of laughter the ladies in exotic attire and gentleman in suits spilled from the carriages to the sounds of the welcoming oom pah pah Big Brass Band – okay only three brasses 😉 and the shouts of the stewards.
Accompanied by glasses of champagne they quaffed fresh oysters and chatted nineteen to the dozen as the music played loudly, cameras flashed and stewards kept a watchful eye on their wayward charges.
Then to the shrill piercing scream of the Guards whistle the passengers of the Orient Express headed back to their chosen carriages, soon to be swallowed up and off they went with a chuff chuff chuff of the engine, black smoke puffing skywards as the residents of Broadstairs cheered and waved…..
And now it was our turn! After seeing that lot at Broadstairs I was ever so keen to add that to my bucket list and cross it off as soon as possible LOL.
My daughter who is a genius at planning surprises and arranging things she knows I’d like to do, bought tickets for a trip on this elegant train from Victoria Station to Paddock Wood.
We set off real early on the HS1 to Kings Cross and with a quick trip on the tube to Victoria Station we were there well early! In fact there were only 2 other couples there that early. 🙂
That soon changed and at 2pm on the dot the Pullman offices opened and with excitement mounting we traipsed along the red carpet to the check in desk! BY now there were a whole lot more people, and there was a real buzz of excitement.Outside, a band made up of 3 delightful ladies, entertained the waiting guests with tunes from the 40’s. Soon we were all swinging along to familiar tunes! How splendid.
In no time at all we were invited to board and excitedly made our way to our designated carriage; Cygnus.
Ohmygosh!!! What a marvellous experience. The interior of the carriages are beautifully decorated with plush read velvet curtains swept back with a gold loop, each table set with fine china and a single rose in an elegant glass vase accommodated 2 guests apiece. The exquisitely embroidered high-back armchairs invited us to lean back, relax and chill out! LOL Frankly, I loved that chair and I can quite see why folks with posh houses like them so much….very inviting, they enfold you within a cocoon of comfort.
On the dot of 2.45pm we felt the train ever so gently start moving…..hoorah we were on our way.
No sooner had we pulled out of Victoria Station than our dedicated waiters were on hand with pots of tea, and delicate freshly made quiches, sandwiches and delicacies that melt on the tongue. The scones and jam with cream were delicious, closely followed by sweet delights. We ate and ate and ate and drank copious cups of tea, all the while relaxing, chatting desultorily and viewing the passing scenery. Sublime!
We soon reached the end of the track where we waited a short while for the engine to move forward and then we were off again on our return journey to London Victoria, arriving way too soon for my liking.
Although the weather outside was frightful, we were snug and warm in our cosy carriage,
gently swaying along the tracks, the sounds of laughter and conversation just a few feet away but totally unobstrusive. It turns out our carriage has a famous history….she was part of the Winston Churchill’s funeral train in 1965 as well as used in the special Festival of Britain in 1951. I bought myself a British Pullman mug…a souvenir to be used in the future when I travel around the United Kingdom in my motor-home. 🙂
In all a fantastic way to spend Mother’s Day and I can highly recommend it as a treat.