The Belmond British Pullman is a luxury, vintage day train that completes the British leg of Venice Simplon-Orient-Express journeys between Paris and London. Passengers on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express disembark in Calais, France, and board a luxury coach bus for the short “piggyback” train ride through the Eurotunnel to Folkestone. There, they board the Belmond British Pullman for the ride to London’s Victoria station.
The Belmond British Pullman also operates a full array of day trips and weekend breaks throughout Britain, many of them with themes such as castles, gardens, historic houses, romance and Christmas.
Each of Belmond British Pullman’s cars has its own name, décor and history. “Minerva” and “Perseus,” for example, were used to bring foreign dignitaries to Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953. “Perseus” was also used in Winston Churchill’s funeral train in 1965. The Queen Mother used “Phoenix” on many occasions, while “Audrey” was regularly used by members of the Royal Family between 1951 and 1964. “Zena,” meanwhile, was a star in the 1976 film ‘Agatha.’
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The Belmond British Pullman comprises 11 lovingly restored cars from the 1920s and 1930s, all sporting an elegant cream and burnt umber livery. Each car seats 20-26 passengers; the train’s total capacity is 226. Passengers are seated at tables for two or four, although one car has a limited number of single tables and tables for three. This is a daytime-only train, so there are no sleeping accommodations.
Dining is high art on the British Pullman. Tables are set with starched white cloth, shining silverware and glittering crystal. Each meal is accompanied by fine wines and champagnes selected by the train sommelier.
Southbound passengers (heading towards the Channel from London) are served lunch. A typical luncheon menu might include seasonal soup served with chived créme fraiche; seared fillet of herb encrusted salmon, braised broad beans and smoked bacon, baby new potatoes served with a Noilly Prat sauce; chocolate Jaffa Cake tart.
Northbound passengers (headed to London from the Channel) board in time for afternoon tea and champagne. A typical tea menu might include a selection of finger sandwiches; warm scones served with Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry jam; afternoon tea pastries; and a selection of tea and Colombian coffee.
While you’re on the Belmond British Pullman, be sure to inspect the fantastic mosaic floors of the bathrooms of this historic train. They are spectacular. Many match the theme of the name of the car.
And, if you are celebrating something while on board and want an extra-special experience, please let us know. You can book a private saloon — or coupe — at additional cost, perfect for an engagement, honeymoon or anniversary.