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Inside the Belmond British Pullman, the lavish train that takes you on a journey back in time

Money tight, but craving a little luxury? Why a journey back in time on the luxurious Belmond British Pullman train is just the ticket for a feel-good day out

  • Ben Douglas boards the Belmond train for a celebratory round trip from London Victoria to Oxford
  • He says the train, sister train to the Venice Simplon Orient Express, is “dripping with glamor and luxury”
  • Dating back to the 1920s, the carriages “wouldn’t look out of place on an Agatha Christie movie set”

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So money is tight, you don’t want to go too far or too long, but you crave a little luxury.

Now is the time to think about a day out – and a trip back in time on a lavish train.

For the ultimate feel-good trip, the Belmond British Pullman – sister train to the Venice Simplon Orient Express – is just the thing.

Ben Douglas takes a day trip on the Belmond British Pullman (pictured along the Kent coast), sister train to the Venice Simplon Orient Express

Dating back to the 1920s, the carriages 'wouldn't look out of place on an Agatha Christie movie set'

Dating back to the 1920s, the carriages 'wouldn't look out of place on an Agatha Christie movie set'

Dating back to the 1920s, the carriages ‘wouldn’t look out of place on an Agatha Christie movie set’

Dripping with luxury and glamour, it harkens back to the heyday of the railways, and there are several festive routes that take you through glorious parts of the countryside.

High on the list of favorites – and selling out quickly – are day trips to Oxford’s Christmas market and a performance by the Canterbury Singers in a candle-lit crypt in the city’s famous cathedral.

We booked a 3½ hour canal cruise with afternoon tea. At Victoria Station we are greeted by liveried stewards and invited for a drink in the Belmond lounge, where the harmony singing trio The Spitfire Sisters set the tone.

It’s a glamorous start, before we step into carriages that date back to the 1920s and wouldn’t look out of place on an Agatha Christie movie set.

'There are several festive routes that take you through beautiful parts of the countryside,' says Ben.  Above, the train is decorated with Christmas decorations

'There are several festive routes that take you through beautiful parts of the countryside,' says Ben.  Above, the train is decorated with Christmas decorations

‘There are several festive routes that take you through beautiful parts of the countryside,’ says Ben. Above, the train is decorated with Christmas decorations

High on the list of Pullman itineraries favorites - and selling out fast - are day trips to the Oxford Christmas Market and a performance by the Canterbury Singers in a candle-lit crypt in the city's famous cathedral

High on the list of Pullman itineraries favorites - and selling out fast - are day trips to the Oxford Christmas Market and a performance by the Canterbury Singers in a candle-lit crypt in the city's famous cathedral

High on the list of Pullman itineraries favorites – and selling out fast – are day trips to the Oxford Christmas Market and a performance by the Canterbury Singers in a candle-lit crypt in the city’s famous cathedral

Ben reveals that he indulges in sandwiches, delicious canapés and little cakes and scones, all washed down with champagne

Ben reveals that during his journey, the birthdays celebrated range from a 21st to a 101st

Ben reveals that during his journey, the birthdays celebrated range from a 21st to a 101st

Ben reveals that during his journey, the birthdays celebrated range from a 21st to a 101st

The whistle blows at 12.30pm and the Belmond begins to make its way out of London and through Kent, via Redhill, Edenbridge and Ashford.

There’s a happy atmosphere on board – birthdays are celebrated from a 21st to a 101st – as we feast on sandwiches, delicious canapés and small cakes and scones, all washed down with champagne.

Before we get back to Victoria, two guests confide in us, “It’s worth every penny to feel so special for just a few hours.”

  • The Luminary Afternoon Tea journey, £340pp (belmond.com).

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