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Rail holidays on the British Pullman


The golden age of rail travel was a time of opulence. Steam trains were the luxury transportation of choice in the 1920s and ‘30s, and the mention of rail holidays conjured to mind tastefully appointed carriages and luxury seating, art deco surroundings and white-gloved stewards to pour champagne and serve plated food on the journey. These days, escorted rail tours are making a comeback, bringing modern convenience to tours that reference the elegance and refinement of the golden era. One such service is the British Pullman, a company which operates several services around the UK. Originally conceived as ‘Palaces on Wheels’ by its creator George Mortimer Pullman, the carriages of the British Pullman have been lovingly restored to their former glory and operate under a number of railway lines.

The British Pullman

The British Pullman: period opulence, now

The eponymous British Pullman train can be ridden today, through the scenic countryside of Yorkshire, through pretty Avon stopping off in Bath, or to the City of Worcester, with gourmet meals and champagne served throughout the journey.

The moors of Yorkshire are a delight all year round, and in summer the county is awash with colour, with the heather in full bloom. Rail holidays here are a great way to cut across the beautiful countryside, with a full day of guided tours as well as leisure time in the city itself. The main attraction is, of course, the minster. This stone building is 800 years old, and its gothic architecture puts it up at the top of the list of most impressive UK edifices. Even more impressive, however, is the city’s history. A stroll along the York Wall will reveal examples of Roman, Dark Age, Viking and Medieval defences, all beautifully preserved.

Once the home of Jane Austen, the city of Bath was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987, cementing its status as one of the most historically important cities in the UK. With the remains of the Roman baths that gave it its name at its centre, this pretty city retains some of the feel of the old town as it used to be. Apart from a trip to the historic baths, there is plenty else to do here, from the Jane Austen Centre to Sally Lunn’s, the first tea shop to be set up in Bath. Try one of the ‘Bath Buns’ with cream, jam or lemon curd.

Worcester, the last on the list, is just as impressive as the other cities visited by the British Pullman. Starting out as a settlement in the Iron Age period, this city is brimming with history. The Guildhall on the High Street is a must-see, with its painted assembly rooms and sparkling chandeliers. Or if you prefer the historic route, try Worcester Cathedral, with its beautiful Norman Crypt. The ruins at Witley Court remain a firm favourite with visitors, too. Try the ‘behind the scenes’ tour and don’t forget to visit the tea rooms.

So, whether it’s Avon, Yorkshire or Worcestershire, try the British Pullman and travel in comfort and in style. Remember your elegant attire to complete the experience on board, but don’t forget your walking boots for that all-important ‘on land’ time!

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