Laura and her husband Bobby were very fortunate to have the opportunity to experience Belmond’s Northern Belle last month, read below to hear all about it:-
‘What an absolute delight we had on board the Northern Belle!! It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,
I had high expectations and hopes for the journey which I can honestly say were all exceeded!
On our arrival at Manchester Victoria station we were greeted by smartly dressed Belmond staff who welcomed us and lead us over to the platform where we excitedly waited for the train to arrive. It was very clear who the passengers were as ladies were dressed in their best frocks and men in their black tie which made it feel even more special. 1920’s music was playing on the platform and right on cue, the long famous train pulled into the station – matching burgundy carpets were rolled out in front of each doorway and there was a friendly member of staff ready to help passengers board.
Our carriage was called ‘Alnwick’, it was beautifully decorated with amazing wood panelling and huge comfy seats with specially designed ‘Northen Belle’ cushions. The table settings were very elegant with gorgeous engraved champagne flutes & wine glasses, starched tablecloths, polished silverware and ornate plates – it was hard to believe we were still on a train rather than in a high end restaurant!
Our servers for the evening introduced themselves and made us feel very welcome shortly before pouring us a glass of Laurent Perrier champagne! We departed the station as people on the platform watched and waved goodbye. The train moved surprisingly fast as we passed through Eccles, Earlestown and Rainhill before stopping at Liverpool Lime Street where more smartly dressed passengers joined.
The atmosphere on the train was very jolly and relaxed - all of the passengers were completely at ease and enjoying the evening as we passed through the Lancashire countryside and towns.
Shortly afterwards our first, out of five courses was served by friendly suited waiters – the menu was exceptional, especially when you see the size of the kitchens onboard the train! The menu included – guinea fowl and sun-blushed tomato terrine, roasted cauliflower soup, crusted pork tenderloin & braised pork cheek, a selection of cheese followed by an English custard panna cotta, rhubarb jelly with an apple sorbert!! It was all absolutely delicious!!! Between courses we were entertained by 3 lovely ladies who sung 1920s classics and a very talented magician – I’m still trying to work out how he made the card slide through a clear plastic wallet – we gave it a full inspection before and afterwards!!
The entertainers come to each table in each carriage and personalise their act for you – whether it’s singing Happy Birthday, a romantic song, or one of the classic songs you remember from your younger days! - The couple opposite us were celebrating the gentleman’s 90th birthday!!! They told us they were last on the train celebrating his 75th birthday, he chose a song from the ladies list and knew every word, he even joined in with them. It was really heart warming to see him, his wife and the three ladies smiling from ear to ear at the end of the song!
The train went up to the Yorkshire Dales including passing through Clitheroe, Settle Jn across to Carnforth and Lancaster before making its way back to Manchester Victoria – in total we were travelling for nearly 5 hours.
There was a great selection of wine and champagne and to my pleasant surprise they were very reasonably priced – wine started from £24.00 per bottle. Guests are allocated half a bottle of wine each within their ticket price but the train staff were flexible and allowed you to use the allowance to spend on beer or soft drinks should you wish to do so.
Overall we both thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening from start to finish – I would highly recommend to family, friends and corporate clients. It really is a perfect way to celebrate a special occasion or to incentivise staff. For large groups it’s possible to take over individual carriages or a number of them subject to the group size which would be fantastic for incentives.
Belmond offer a number of trips to coincide with major events too such as race day meetings, Royal Chelsea Flower Show, historic city visits and murder mystery evenings to name a few! Not to mention all of the beautiful Belmond hotels and trains internationally too – all of which have so much character, charm and their own individual tales and history!’
To find out further information on any of the Belmond trains and venues visit www.belmond.com or send us your enquiries for us to make our recommendations! :)