The sun was shining. What could be better than a day trip on the Orient Express, described as ‘The Golden Age of Travel’. I was invited by Visit England to enjoy a day out on the British Pullman, the UK part of the Orient Express. Because of the track difference, the Orient Express carriages are unable to run on British tracks.
An actor in the guise of Inspector Poirot was waiting to greet us as we arrived. I was assigned to Audrey, at one time used regularly by the Royal Family. Each carriage has its own name and unique look. Audrey’s walls were covered in marquetry panels of landscape scenes. The configuration of the seats is in twos with an aisle in the middle.
As soon as we were seated, we were made welcome with a kier royal, made with British sparkling wine and accompanied by hors d’oeuvres. The menu titillated us with the forthcoming delights, all made with British food. Cornish crab meat; followed by pea and Suffolk ham hock soup; roast breast Kentish guinea fowl cooked in a tarragon sauce and served with spicy puy lentils, asparagus and potato gratin. A selection of English cheeses culminating with a delicious summer pudding of mixed berries and clotted cream.
Outside the Kent countryside flew by, but this trip wasn’t about what was outside. It was a chance to enjoy a bygone era with silver service, good food and fine wines. Our train made one stop at Whitstable where we descended onto the platform to be entertained by a brass band.
All too soon we were back at Victoria Station, the jumping-off point for any Orient Express trip.