Wednesday, 26 September 2018

MURDER ON THE BELMOND EXPRESS


It was both my mum's and my birthday last week and before she arrived in London I'd been brainstorming what we could possibly do to celebrate in the city. I'd seen the Belmond British Pullman pop up on instagram a number of times since earlier in the year but it wasn't until much later when I was pushed for birthday ideas did I remember that my mum has this cute affinity for train rides and journeys as she was always on them as a little girl. Combined with my love for all things vintage and retro, I thought it would be perfect to book a trip for us as a joint birthday treat. The Belmond British Pullman is designed in the way of the glamorous 1920s trains (think Orient Express) with the most aesthetically pleasing golden, woody interiors and cream and green furniture. Starting from Victoria Station, they offer many different routes, destinations and packages. Whole days or half days, to castles or beaches, there's definitely an adventure to tickle everyone's fancy. As huge Agatha Christie fans and also longing to go all out with the Orient Express experience, we opted for the "Murder Mystery Lunch" which entails a five hour round trip (so we don't actually leave the train), during which time a five-course meal is served and a murder mystery story is told with live actors. You have to figure out "whodunnit" based on the clues given to you by each character, before the train arrives back at Victoria station in the afternoon. 


I was so excited on the morning of and donned this beautiful Self Portrait dress that I'd been saving for my birthday. We were running a bit late but the service at the station was great, once we checked in at the concierge, we were directed to our respective carriage and compartment without feeling rushed at all. Once I got inside, I found that I perfectly matched the green interior, something I hadn't planned at all, believe it or not. Canapes and champagne were waiting on our table and before the train started moving, the first of the actors came in and explained the initial story of the murder: her relation to the victim and her alibi. We were given a sheet to note down our findings as the journey went on and the story progressed. The train route would pass through Surrey and Kent, around to Whitstable, Essex, then back into London, so views of the green English countryside accompanied our seemingly constant flow of food. The entree was pea and ricotta soup, followed by crispy sea bass for mains (my personal favourite), Eton Mess cheesecake for dessert, finishing off with a cheeseboard and truffles. Between each course, an actor or two would come into our compartment and tell their character's story (I think there were six characters in all) and we just had to listen and take note of any clues we might find. I had previously thought I'd be no good at solving the mystery but I found myself really getting into it and analysing the tiniest things. It was a lot of fun to ponder it with mum, who gave ideas but left most of the figuring out to me. From the get-go, it seemed that the victim's new wife and biological daughter had the most motive to kill, which meant to me that they were the least likely to be guilty as per Agatha Christie style, it's always the one you least suspect in the end who actually did the deed.  I scribbled down my final answer on which character I thought was the culprit just as we whizzed back into London and one of the staff collected each table's sheets before we gathered in the main carriage to find out the solution to the mystery. It was actually such a complicated story and I didn't get most of the details and the motive right but I was surprised when they announced that we were the only team to have named the right murderer and therefore the winners for the day! Wow, maybe I should quit my day job and look into becoming a detective. We were awarded a gorgeous Bellmond British Pullman edition of Murder on the Orient Express.
 

Winning the game was definitely the cherry on top of a fantastic day. Mum and I truly enjoyed our time aboard the Pullman, as you can surmise, we found ourselves totally immersed in the murder mystery entertainment and decided all the food was absolutely delicious. I usually get motion sickness pretty easily too so I was a little apprehensive about dining non-stop on a train but it all turned out fine and I think I would've gotten carsick before feeling anything from this train, which is saying a lot.  The five hour journey completely flew by and one of the staff actually had to call me out of my reverie, announcing that we had in fact arrived as I was still sitting in awe at where the time had gone as the train slowly pulled back into Victoria Station. It was an unforgettable experience and felt like we had truly stepped back in time. I'm eyeing up some of the longer journey options now, it would be cool to ride on the train to a destination we can stop at next time.



Share:

1 comment

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment, I read and appreciate every single one! I always reply to questions or feel free to tweet me @andiniria9

Blogger Template Created by pipdig