British Pullman: The Golden Age of Travel

Words by Belmond Editors

British Pullman: The Golden Age of Travel

Throughout time, many have praised the vintage charms of our train. Today, it’s your turn to step onboard the most historical carriages of our glamorous British Pullman.

When you step on board our British Pullman train, you really are stepping into railroad history. The first ever Pullman coach entered service in 1874, setting the standard for luxury train travel in America. The company’s founder, George Mortimer Pullman, then brought his business to Great Britain, where he chose to operate his service against the backdrop of our beautiful countryside. Our sumptuous carriages date back to the 1920s, with each bearing its own whimsical name and vintage history. There’s Audrey, which was damaged in a Second World War air raid in 1940, who has carried the Queen, the Queen Mother and H.R.H. Prince Phillip. Or Cygnus, our silver-screen star, who featured in the film Agatha starring Vanessa Redgrave and Dustin Hoffman. Perseus formed part of Winston Churchill’s funeral train in 1965, while Phoenix carried General Charles de Gaulle.

All our carriages, however, promise to retain their period charm. After subtle and delicate restoration, our dedicated British Pullman service began in 1982. It also forms a crucial part of the Venice Simplon-Orient Express on the train’s British journey, transporting guests between London to Folkestone. In more recent times, stars from Kate Moss to Wes Anderson have praised our train’s vintage charm. Whether our passengers are new to the service or returning guests, all are awed by our art deco-style interiors. From the mahogany fittings and marquetry to the polished brass and hand-stitched fabrics, every aspect has been carefully considered. Contemporary artisanal pieces are matched perfectly with the classics: our new crockery is made by William Edwards, purveyors of the finest bone china in England. Appreciate the Lalique glass at every turn, or the vintage lamps that adorn each table.

Food and drink is at the heart of the British Pullman experience. We love to celebrate the best of British cuisine on every trip, using the finest produce from all corners of the British Isles. Whether it’s a five-course feast or a delectable Afternoon Tea, our journeys always feature a moveable feast. We also host one-off dining events curated by chefs including Aldo Zilli, James Martin, Simon Rogan, Michel Roux Jr, Raymond Blanc and Tom Kerridge. Our dedicated crew has a combined 200 years of experience and many started their careers at the original Pullman Training School. We’re always happy to share stories about the train’s glittering history.

Our journey options are plentiful. Choose from day trips and weekend excursions to iconic British cities, beautiful country houses and sporting events. Visit the charming towns of Oxford, Winchester, Cardiff, and many more. In the summer months explore the seaside towns of Hastings, Whitstable and Margate, and in the winter, be swept away to the Canterbury Christmas Carols or Bath Christmas Market.

Our creative signature adventures include the Murder Mystery Lunch, based on Agatha Christie’s thrilling Murder on the Orient Express. Ornate carriages provide the perfect scenery for the twists and turns of the plot. Whether you prefer afternoon tea or flowing champagne (or both, as many guests do), you can be assured that your journey will will whisk you back to a more elegant era.

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