Out and About

How Train Travel Should Be: A Trip On The Orient Express

our seat for the train journey

Trains have and always will be a huge part of my life. Up until very recently my Dad was a train driver, spending forty three years on the railway with companies such as Eurostar, Great Western and Virgin West Coast. Sam knows how much I love trains (and planes…I really do take after my Dad!) and so was able to incorporate this into the extra special weekend back in May 2013, when he asked me to marry him.

Now I, along with millions of other people, have got quite a substantial bucket list. Hovering around in the top section of this bucket list, for an awful long time was to take a trip on the Orient Express. The amount of times Sam has had to pull my longing gaze away from the Orient Express carriages as the train stood majestically in Victoria station must run into double figures. The sight of the gleaming cream and mocha carriages, with curtains and crisp white linen draped tables is enough to set my luxury taste buds watering!

ready to board the Orient Express

On this occasion however, I was not dragged past mentally kicking and screaming. Oh no. On this particular weekend, I opened my “surprise” envelope given to me by a nervous looking Sam; I sobbed with joy (much to his amusement)and we then headed to Victoria station once more.

our seat for the journey

If I am totally honest, the weekend in itself was incredible. Nothing like I had ever experienced before. I kept on thinking what on earth had I done to deserve such an amazing treat(the Saturday was spent in a posh hotel and then a luxury dinner cruise on the Thames with an obscene amount of courses and then dancing). It hadn’t really crossed my mind that Sam had other exciting intentions.

Walking onto the Orient Express was just like stepping inside a time machine. I half expected Poirot to shuffle past with his walking stick and bowler hat; or to glance round at the neighbouring armchair (yes, armchair!) to see Miss Marple sitting with her knitting, whilst deep in thought over some murderous plot. The attention to detail was just staggering. Personalised travel itineraries and exquisite menus, all presented on gold gilt paper were waiting for us at our table. I hadn’t been seated long when one of the waiters delivered a long stemmed rose – another surprise treat from Sam.

a long stemmed rose

Our train was destined for Folkstone, where we would spend a little while by the sea (which included Sam getting down on one knee!), before returning back into London. Little did I know that I would be acquiring the title of fiancée for my return trip!

Everything about our engagement trip on the Orient Express was simply outstanding. The waiters were extremely attentive, and knew our names, which made the service much more personal. The quality of food and drink was superb. Lots of afternoon tea treats to sample, with quite possibly the best Bellinis I have ever tasted!

fruit salad

yummy puddings

I know it really isn’t cost effective or sensible perhaps for all trains to have armchairs installed in them, but what a relief to sit in something so cosy. Proper cushions and without the need for uncomfortable personal space sharing with strangers made the atmosphere luxuriously relaxed.

lots of tea

Scrumptious food

The bathrooms were as equally decorative as the rest of the train. Beautiful mosaic floors and wooden features adorned the surprisingly spacious bathroom; there was just so much detail to look at and admire! If only train bathrooms today still had the same splendour!

Mosaic Bathrooms

During courses Sam and I had the chance to have a walk through the train and explore some of the other carriages. A couple of the carriages were set out in a different way, with compartments to sit a group of four.

viewing other carriages

compartment for four

I liked the fact that each carriage had a name; ours being called Audrey. During the trip there was also the opportunity to buy Pullman branded gifts, and as this was such a special occasion, Sam and I treated ourselves to one of the Orient Express photo frames. This still has pride of place on our mantelpiece, with our first official photo as fiancé and fiancée!

our carriage Audrey

head rest

I really am hoping that at some point, probably when we are much older and retired, to travel again on the Orient Express. Ok, I am longing to travel again on the Orient Express. It would be absolutely incredible to try out the sleeper version. On the understanding of course, that if Poirot should happen to be on-board, it won’t be to solve a murder!


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  • Ritu
    February 12, 2017 at 10:34 am

    This looks amazing !!!

    • Donna
      February 12, 2017 at 4:12 pm

      It really was. I want to do it again!

  • April Munday
    February 12, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    What a fun thing to do. It’s nice to know the history of the carriage you were in, as well.

    • Donna
      February 12, 2017 at 4:11 pm

      Yes, in fact each carriage had a blurb about its history which was a nice touch. Such a beautiful train.

  • Angela Noel
    February 12, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    What beautiful pictures and incredible experiences. I am now putting a ride on the Orient Express on my bucket list!

    • Donna
      February 12, 2017 at 4:10 pm

      Oh you must! I want to go again – I’d really love to do the one that you can sleep on!

  • Traci York
    February 12, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    How amazing! I could easily spend the day (or three – LOL) staring at your pictures. What an amazing engagement story!

    • Donna
      February 12, 2017 at 4:09 pm

      I was incredibly lucky and it was all such a complete surprise!

  • Matt
    February 12, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    Looks totally amazing you’re so lucky

    • Donna
      February 12, 2017 at 6:22 pm

      It was really amazing. Definitely worth doing if you can.

  • Emmalene
    February 12, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    What an amazing trip! There’s definitely something special about train travel…

    • Donna
      February 13, 2017 at 3:19 pm

      Absolutely! Trains are practically my second home 🙂

  • Eric || The Bucket List Project
    February 17, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    Well Sam definitely messed it up for the rest of us because if Darcee reads this she is going to make me immediately put this on top of our 2017 Bucket List plans! haha, but seriously that is amazing. It looks like a phenomenal time and to experience a classic throw back is always awesome.
    Not to ruin the surprise but was it a lot of $$??

    • Donna
      February 18, 2017 at 8:34 am

      Hehe! I did say to him, once the weekend was over, that he had set an incredibly high bar for himself! I know the train trip itself was pricey, not stupidly and utterly ridiculous where you’d need to re-mortgage, but something to save up a little bit for. Totally recommend though. Think I need to go again to remind myself in more detail of what it was like – not sure Sam would go for that to be honest…!

  • Lilian @ Lil' Hidden Treasures
    March 15, 2017 at 5:20 am

    Wow! This is traveling at its finest! My son also has a love for trains too! But we have never has the luxury of experiencing train travel because it is pricey. It looks like Sam spoiled you on the trip! So romantic!

    • Donna
      March 15, 2017 at 7:27 pm

      I was very lucky. Trains are a huge part of my life as my Dad was a train driver – very recently retired!

  • Noelle
    April 8, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Oh my God, I’m so jealous! I need yo travel on this at least once in my life!!

  • Donna
    April 8, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    Totally recommend! I’d love to do it again. Only this time it would be the one where you can sleep on it. Now that would be cool!

  • Lucy
    May 21, 2017 at 8:56 am

    Omg that is sooooo cool!

    • Donna
      May 31, 2017 at 7:47 am

      Oh yes – it really was…am thinking it is time for me to go on it again. Not sure Sam would agree though!

  • AnHistorian
    May 21, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    This is absolutely stunning!! I too would be waiting for M Poirot to shuffle by, muttering about his next clue but I suppose I also might be distracted by how gorgeous everything is 😍 also, what a lovely and perfect way to propose ☺

    • Donna
      May 31, 2017 at 7:49 am

      Very true! I am from a train family, and trains have been a huge part of my life. A definite plus in the proposal stakes!

  • Suzanne
    May 21, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    I fell in love with this train!!! Wish the Amtrak trains were this good when we went from NYC to New Orleans. Enjoyed your post .

    • Donna
      May 31, 2017 at 7:50 am

      Thank you.
      I think a lot of train companies could learn from the Orient Express – maybe not the prices though!

  • ActualConversationsWithMyHusband
    May 21, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    This is on my bucket list as well. Only on my list, Poirot is welcome to solve as many murders as he likes, provided he either asks my help or considers me a suspect – ooh, maybe BOTH!

    • Donna
      May 31, 2017 at 7:51 am

      ooooooo! I hadn’t thought of that. I’d love to be involved too. Not as a victim though!!!

  • gabe
    May 21, 2017 at 11:56 pm

    That looks amazing! Not quite the same level of opulence I’ve come to expect on Eastern European train trips 😉

    • Donna
      May 31, 2017 at 7:52 am

      Haha! Yes, there are certainly tips to be learnt from this company

  • Berni
    May 23, 2017 at 12:36 am

    Omg that looks fabulous .. somehow it had dropped off my bucket list… Back on in red marker pen, capitalised and underlined

    • Donna
      May 31, 2017 at 7:56 am

      Haha!! Good idea. Think I might add it to mine again too. Well, a girl can wish..!

  • Jennifer
    July 2, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    This is now on my bucket list. The pictures were gorgeous and yes, I’d be expecting Poirot too!

    • Donna
      October 22, 2017 at 7:41 pm

      Thank you 🙂

  • Mind Over Meta
    October 21, 2017 at 10:45 am

    I booked this same experience for my mum and nan about 14 years’ ago. It’s nice to see your photos to see what they would have experienced! And congratulations for your other half getting down on one knee!

    • Donna
      October 22, 2017 at 7:41 pm

      It really was an experience I shall never forget!! 🙂

  • Cher
    October 21, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    This is absolutely magnificent! I’m a huge train fan, but I’ve never seen anything like this! Wonderful!! Cher xo

    • Donna
      October 22, 2017 at 7:42 pm

      Well, if you ever get the chance, I thoroughly recommend! 🙂

  • Anna
    October 21, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    I’m so jealous! It looks incredible. I was actually fantasizing over the Orient Express last week, it looks beautiful.

    • Donna
      October 22, 2017 at 7:43 pm

      My photos don’t do this experience justice. I really want to do the whole thing again! If you ever get the chance, you must do it 🙂

  • Caroline
    October 21, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    That looks incredible, better than I had previously imagined actually. I’m quite envious! So glad you had a great time & many congrats on your engagement x

    • Donna
      October 22, 2017 at 7:43 pm

      I’ve never experienced anything like it! Really was incredible 🙂

  • Suz
    October 22, 2017 at 4:22 am

    I remember when you first published this and I still love it. What luxury!! Lovely post.

    • Donna
      October 22, 2017 at 7:44 pm

      Aw thank you 🙂 Yes it is still a day I think about a lot