This sister to the famous Orient Express brings you unashamed luxury, mouth-watering haute cuisine and sheer pampering all the way from the moment you step on board to the minute you reluctantly leave the train.
Alasdair’s recommended Northern Belle experience
I selected this romantic luxury fine dining experience for two on the Northern Belle because you and your other half will love it. I know we did.
But if you’re looking for other ways to enjoy this legendary train experience, then we’ve pulled them all together for you in one place, with prices updated fresh every day so you can compare for yourself and pick just the right day out for you and your pocket.
Many people like to use the Northern Belle as an occasion to treat their partner or other half, and go in pairs. But it’s just as common to go solo, and the staff and other passengers are so welcoming that this is one of the luxury dining treats I’d be happy to enjoy on my own.
Here are the UK’s best prices for Northern Bell gifts. Fill your boots before the price goes up!
So what’s the Belmond Northern Belle?
Well first, let’s cover Belmond. What you and I have always known as the Orient Express company has changed its name to Belmond. I can’t say it sounds like a good move to me, as the very phrase Orient Express conjures up magical visions of luxury trains, first class, Pullman dining, exotic trips across Europe, Hercule Poirot and the golden age of elegance past. But that’s companies for you.
Despite the name, Belmond still keeps all its luxury hotels and trains – the Cipriani in Venice or Reid’s in Madeira, for instance, which are the byword for sheer unashamed pampering that is oh so rare.
And of course the renowned Venice-Simplon Orient Express itself.
The Northern Belle is a sister to this famous train, providing the same luxury accommodation, classic fine dining and impeccable service, but exclusively serving the North of England.
This is great news for those who don’t live near London and don’t want to have to go way down south to treat themselves or their partner the way they deserve. And speaking as a Northerner, I can say it’s not a minute too soon. London and the South get far too much already, so it’s about time somebody gave a bit of thought to us in the frozen north!
So what are the experiences about?
Firstly, let me say that all the experiences that there are feature getting on the Northern Belle at one of a selection of Northern stations, and being treated to the most impeccable service, food and drink you’ve probably ever had. You travel on the train, usually to a fantastic destination full of visitor attractions such as York or Windermere, for example, and end the day back at the station you started off from. The meals you can enjoy range from tea through to lunch/brunch and dinner, but all will be of the same superb quality served by the same ultra-attentive staff whose sole aim is to please you.
The longer journeys, as well as featuring more meals, often include extras adding the touches that complete your enjoyment of the day – a river boat cruise or a guided tour round York, for example. Just see what you like the look of in the list above (yes, it’s a big list, but dates sell out fast, so it’s smaller than you think), click through to check out the detail, and you can reserve your places there and then.
A luxury trip on the Northern Belle isn’t something you do every day, but once you’ve bought your ticket, you can put the date in your diary/organiser/Filofax/calendar and watch with mounting anticipation as the wonderful day grows ever nearer.
What do I wear?
There’s no need for black tie on most of these excursions, as you’ll be doing some sightseeing as well as tucking into gourmet meals. But jeans would be well out of place on such a fine train, so dress smartly and remember to wear your sightseeing shoes. A guided walking tour is not half so much fun if your feet are killing you, is it?
What a fabulous gift
Yes, this is the sort of gift where it’s a win/win situation. You’re giving this fabulous luxury train dining experience, but you’ll be going yourself as well (if you’ve any sense at least!). It’s the ideal gift for wedding anniversaries, special birthdays, Valentines, or even just as a special surprise for that special someone. So go on, pick your trip, pick your date, and make someone’s day.