Honeymoon part 2 - Venice Simplon-Orient-Express Belmond British Pullman: London to Paris

Following on from part 1 of my honeymoon series!

Traveling on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (VSOE) is something I've wanted to do since I was a child. An old English teacher introduced the class to Agatha Christie with "Murder in Mesopotamia" and since then I've been hooked on the workings of the little grey cells of the great Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. We were tossing up where to go for our honeymoon and first choice (for me anyway!) was Maldives but for the price of one week there we could do 3 weeks in Europe so it was Europe for us!

Now that we had decided, it was time to decide which cities we would visit and whether or not we would take the Orient Express. Its not the most economical way to travel by any means and would eat into our budget quite a bit. My hubby very kindly insisted we do the trip and so we planned our honeymoon around it and boy am I glad we took the journey. Today I want to share with you part 1 of the amazing train journey - if this isn't your thing then don't worry check back later! Warning: this post is PICTURE HEAVY.

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The Orient Express embarks on many journeys including within the UK to the more traditional Paris to Istanbul while Poirot travelled from Istanbul to London. We decided to take the London to Paris leg and then going onto Rome after that. We booked our tickets in December which began the countdown to our trip of a lifetime! About a week before we set off on our honeymoon, our travel journal arrived which contained all our information for the journey including details about the trains, passport and visa information, dress code, cabin information and information about travel destinations.

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A copy of my very battered old copy of Murder on the Orient Express and our travel journal and luggage tags

The morning of our journey started off early with packing, checking out of our hotel and heading to busy London Victoria station to check in at the special Orient Express counter for our journey. Me being very anxious not to be late we got there at 9am and were one of the first to check in!

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We checked in at reception and handed over our documentation and luggage to be loaded onto the train. The cabins on the VSOE are rather small and can only accommodate hand luggage so we were reminded to hold onto anything we needed. For people travelling further than Paris, the staff hold onto your passport so that at each border crossing you don't need to be disturbed. Unfortunately we were only going to Paris though no need for that. We received our carriage and seat numbers for the British Pullman and then our carriage and cabin number for the VSOE which we would board in France. They had tea and coffee set up for us to enjoy and a comfy lounge area to wait for the train too. I wish all train rides began like this!

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The journey from London is on 2 classic trains which include a traditional British Pullman to the seaside and then the classic Orient Express from France. The British Pullman was set for departure at 10:45am so we had a while to wait and spent the time people watching. We were the youngest couple by far and we did get quite a few odd looks - one woman in particular kept shooting us dirty looks like we didn't belong or something haha. Gradually more and more people turned up and the area got quite full which could only mean one thing.

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At about 10:35am the British Pullman pulled in and I was sooooooo unbelievably excited. A childhood dream about to be fulfilled!

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We were assigned the gorgeous "Audrey" carriage which is one of 11 passenger carriages that's operated at any given time on the Pullman. Just from a peek inside the train and even before you step inside the carriages, you know exactly why these historic carriages are known as palaces on wheels.

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There are 4 different styles of Pullman carriage that seat between 20-26 people and have tables that accommodate 1-4 people. We had requested a table of 2 when we booked and we were very luckily able to get a table to ourselves. Each carriage is original and meticulously restored to their former glory. Everywhere you looked - the wood, the interior, the marquetry, the detail - all sumptuously decorated and so elegant. We boarded the train and finally set off for Folkestone West by the sea to cross the English Channel to France to board the VSOE.

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We were served a Bellini (I had 2 glasses!) and then on to a brunch whilst enjoying the English countryside. The brunch overall was a tiny bit disappointing (especially in comparison to our AH-MAZING dinner on the VSOE) but it was enjoyable nonetheless because of the beautiful scenery outside.

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We started off with a delicious fresh fruit cocktail with natural yoghurt. Definitely one of the best fruit salads I've ever had!

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Warm bread roll which wasn't anything special sadly but the butter was good:

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Scrambled eggs with chives, smoked salmon and caviar with warm crumpet and pan-fried mushrooms.

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The prune, walnut and spelt cake with yoghurt cream for dessert was a little on the dry side :

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When we finished brunch we had a chance to take a quick look at the carriages and each carriage on the train is different and has its own unique history. Our carriage "Audrey" was originally built in 1932 as a First Class kitchen car for the Southern Belle service and spent 40years in service before being withdrawn in the 70s. She features 12 different marquetry panels of landscapes scenes making it very unlike the other carriages on the train. She was used regularly by members of the Royal family including The Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh so we were in very good company!

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Part 2 of my trip on the Venice Simplon Orient Express continues tomorrow! Hope you're enjoying my honeymoon series so far =)


  1. Swooning - pictures look gorgeous and you've made me want to pick up an Agatha Christie!

  2. What a treat! My husband is obsessed too with the Orient Express but its such an indulgent meansof travel that we hadn't ever thought to do it. But a honeymoon, now that've been easily justifiable. Glad I saw your post on this!

  3. Wow this experience looks incredible Michelle! To be honest, I have never heard of the VSOE as i've never read Agatha Christie's series so this was a really interesting post to read about! I'm sure my partner would love this! It looks like heaps of fun!

  4. Oh my goodness hun it all looks so incredible! I think this is something every Poirot obsessive needs to experience, fingers crossed one day I will be able to! Its on the bucket list for sure :) You look beautiful Chelle! Lol at the lady giving you looks! What on earth!? Silly peoples!

    Love Aysh xoxo


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