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All aboard for a luxury day trip

Posted in DAYS OUT By Maggie O' Sullivan

Belmond Venice Simplon-Orient-ExpressThe most luxurious train journey I have ever made was from Paris to Venice aboard the iconic Belmond Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. The only problem was I didn’t sleep a wink. All that rocking and rattling; stopping and starting. No such problem with Belmond’s day trips: all the luxury of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and home to your own bed. Here are four trips on my wish list for autumn.Belmond British PullmanLondon to Chatsworth House

Chatsworth, in the Derbyshire Dales, is my favourite stately home – how fitting to travel there and back on the Belmond British Pullman. Each of the restored 1920s-style carriages – think Art-Deco marquetry, plush armchairs, gleaming brass luggage racks – has its own unique history: the oldest dates back to 1925, two were part of Winston Churchill’s funeral train, while others have been used extensively by the royal family. There are a number of day trips on offer: this one is part of the Best of British selection and includes brunch, admission to Chatsworth, a champagne reception and dinner. 18 November 2016; £415 per person.Belmond Northern BelleManchester to Edinburgh 

This day trip is a way of getting a taste of beautiful Scottish scenery without having to spend two or three nights on a train (though if you’re happy to do so, take a look at the Belmond Royal Scotsman itineraries). Travel is aboard the Belmond Northern Belle, made up of restored 1930s carriages, and on the menu is a gastronomic brunch, a tour of Edinburgh Castle, a champagne reception back on the train and a four-course dinner. Not surprisingly, the trip is very popular and the next one in October is already sold out. Keep an eye on Belmond’s website for details of future dates. £340 per person.Manoir aux Quat SaisonsLondon to Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons

It’s back aboard the Belmond British Pullman again but this time we’re heading for the splendid Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire. The only food served aboard is brunch and, later, cheese and dessert, but that’s no hardship since the main point of the journey is to have lunch at the Manoir’s two Michelin-starred restaurant. The trip is in December so lunch has a festive theme, incorporating fresh produce from the hotel’s organic kitchen gardens and heritage orchards. 8 December 2016; £585 per person.Belmond Golden Age of Travel steam trainLondon to the Surrey Hills by steam train

The steam train is part of our heritage but I must admit I’ve never actually been on one so this Golden Age of Travel trip is a chance to put that right. The Belmond British Pullman carriages are pulled by a steam locomotive called Tornado (which took a team of enthusiasts 18 years to build) and the route meanders from London Victoria to the Surrey Hills, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and back. Onboard there’s a champagne reception and a five-course lunch. Departures every month from 30 September 2016; £395 per person.

BY MAGGIE O'SULLIVAN

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