An Afternoon Aboard the Belmond British Pullman

Our Thoughts

The British Pullman is a unique travel experience that combines luxury, glamour, and fine dining as it rumbles through the British countryside.

As a pre-birthday treat to myself, Cathy and I took the British Pullman for a full day experience, which was steam hauled from the London Victoria station to the historic Roman city of Bath.

As loyal TLW readers know, I have a special place in my heart for rail travel. We have previously taken the Belmond British Pullman on a day trip to Worcester, an experience we both greatly enjoyed and could not wait to replicate on this trip to the United Kingdom.

We checked in on platform one at the Belmond reception at around 8:15am, noting that all the guests were resplendent and superbly dressed for the occasion.

TLW Tip: If you’re taking this journey, note that the lounge is rather compact and can fill up quite quickly.

The train arrived in all its splendour and we were escorted to our carriage, which was named Cygnus. The train comprises nine classic Pullman-style carriages. Cygnus is special in that it was recently re-designed in a collaboration with filmmaker Wes Anderson, another noted lover of trains. The project was described by Belmond as a “tribute to both the golden age of cinema and travel.” The Art Deco-inspired Cygnus carriage has been lovingly restored and features pastel-pink and jewel green tones, wooden panels, and large, comfortable recliners. 

After being seated at a table for three (we were joined by my nephew on this trip), we were introduced to Rocco, who would be our train server for the duration of the day. We settled in as we left London Victoria, pulled on this occasion by a preserved 1938 Stanner coronation class locomotive named the Duchess of Sutherland. 

To walk you through each course of brunch (and dinner on the return) would make this article far too long. In summary, each of the sections of the meals were generous and flawlessly prepared to the standard one would expect in a high-end restaurant, let alone on a moving 1930s Victorian train! Before we knew it we were pulling into our destination, where we would be given a four hour break before rejoining the train for the journey home.

Bath is the perfect destination to either visit for the first time or in our case stroll around and admire the architecture.

We eventually headed back to Bath Spa station and the Duchess arrived on the platform with the train ready to head back to London Victoria. We arrived on schedule at approximately 9:15pm, pulling into London Victoria where the Duchess of Sutherland was greeted with a great deal of attention from those waiting on the platform. Many seemed in awe of the engineering that took place to originally build and now carefully preserve this beautiful Victorian steam locomotive, which is allowed a top speed of 75 mph (during her in-service years she reached speeds as high as 100 mph).

In summary I would say this was a flawless, epic, and memorable day out and would encourage anyone who would love the experience to run, don’t walk to the booking site of Belmond and secure your next trip! These events sell out fast, so book well in advanceit’s a day you will never forget.

Andrew Taylor

For Andrew, travel is so much more than just learning history or taking photos. Rather, the value of travel is witnessing a lifestyle, bonding with locals, and gaining rich cultural experiences. That’s why he founded the Luxury Wanderer; a place to share itineraries, offer advice, swap stories, and foster a like-minded community of curious travellers.

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