When it comes to getting away from it all once we emerge from lockdown, there's one particular experience we have in mind: a stylish railway journey on Britain's most glamorous train, the Belmond British Pullman.
This super-chic train ride is something every luxury lover needs to try once. Whether you're in search of a romantic day to celebrate an occasion, or an elegant day trip to treat mum, it's one experience worth considering after lockdown.
What's so special about the Belmond British Pullman?
Sister train to the world's most famous rail journey, the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, the Belmond British Pullman embodies everything that was fabulous about the roaring 1920s and '30s.
Its authentic carriages formed part of the most luxurious services in Britain and have been restored so that you can experience the glitz and glamour of vintage rail travel today.
As with any five-star experience worth talking about, there are a few things to know before you book a ride on the British Pullman. There's a dress code so you'll want to wear your fanciest frock, the picture-perfect art deco carriages are fit for Jay Gatsby and the dining is as decadent as a moving meal gets.
Here's everything you need to know about a ride on the British Pullman and how to do it in style when things are back to normal...
As you can imagine with an exclusive train, each carriage is unique and bears its own name as well as a colourful history. Expect immaculately refurbished and exquisitely design decor, as well as legendary workmanship. If you're looking for a memorable setting for a celebration, this is it.
There are veneered panels that gleam, art deco lamps that shed soft light on polished brass and glossy mahogany fittings. One of our favourite features is the plush upholstered armchairs that provide the utmost comfort and an intimate place to take in the views.
The Pullman has four different styles of Pullman carriages, with space for up to 26 passengers. You can book a table for one, two, three and four (the latter are located in private compartments). The compartments are also available for two, if you'd rather have a little more privacy.
Belmond British Pullman's season runs from February to December. Departing from London Victoria Station, you can head straight out of the city to glorious coast and countryside locations, such as Kent, Somerset and the Peak District.
If you enjoy experiencing quintessential Britain in style, then you'll love making your arrival on this iconic train.
As every trip is unique, you can choose from an array of day trips that take in the train ride and more. Red has partnered with Belmond to offer an exclusive selection of journeys throughout 2021, for when it feels safe to travel again.
You could take a trip through the Weald of Kent as you indulge in afternoon tea with spectacular countryside views, make it a grand affair by visiting Blenheim Palace, or take a walk around Chatsworth House and feel like you're in a Jane Austen novel.
For something truly special, you could ride the British Pullman to Northamptonshire where Earl Charles Spencer's magnificent home Althorp awaits. On a day trip here, you'll meet Princess Diana's brother as he gives you a tour of the stately home when it is closed to the general public.
Here's where it gets really exciting. The dining on Belmond British Pullman is as decadent as you'd imagine. Finely crafted dishes are served by your liveried steward and each menu is conceived by a Belmond chef using the freshest seasonal ingredients, of course.
As the chef's passion is fuelled by the knowledge that he’s helping to make your special occasion extraordinary, you'll need something memorable to accompany each dish. And that's where the finest wines and champagnes selected by the British Pullman's sommelier comes in.
If you've experienced the Belmond treatment before, such as with a stay at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, you'll know that the brand's wining and dining is unrivalled.
The dress code
After living in your loungewear for months, you'll be ready to dress up after lockdown and the British Pullman is the place to do it. The exclusive train encourages you to step aboard in your finery to celebrate is world-class cuisine and service.
Belmond says there are certain dress code expectations "to maintain an elegant and enjoyable atmosphere" so you'll want to leave your trusty trainers at home.
Casual clothing is a no-no, including ripped denim, baseball caps, collarless T-shirts, trains and shorts, and you could be refused boarding if you're not dressed for the occasion.
Although you'll want to make some effort with your outfit, jackets and ties aren't essential and as Belmond says, "you can never be overdressed aboard our beautiful train."
Book a 2021 journey aboard the Belmond British Pullman
While day trips are off the table for a while, lockdown has given us plenty of time to browse ideas for getting back out and exploring Britain when it's safe to do so again.
Whether you're looking for the perfect gift for your nearest and dearest, or a (very) post-Valentine's celebration - because it looks like February 14th is off this year - you'll want to have a browse of Red's exclusive British Pullman experiences:
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