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A Day on the Orient Express

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The bucket list got a major tick a week ago when I was whisked off for a birthday treat. We enjoyed a day on the Orient Express!

I’ve just had a landmark birthday so for my big 4-0, hubby had secretly organised for us to have afternoon tea on The Orient Express… but this wasn’t just a normal afternoon tea. It was the Mad Hatters Tea Party!

pouring bubbly

We boarded the train in Sheffield at the start of the journey and on the 4.5 hour round trip, it also called at Manchester and Wilmslow where more passengers got on to enjoy the ride. I’m delighted that we were on first so I could get this shot of the beautifully decorated carriage with all the silverware and fine china!

Duart carriage

We were seated on a table of four so we shared with another couple. There were also tables for two on the opposite side of the carriage, and my hubby told me that he’d looked into these seats and they were priced at a premium (but to be fair, all seats were priced at a premium… it’s not exactly ‘GNER’ prices!) But to have a table for two you pay a lot more for your seats. I really enjoyed being on a table of four. Luckily we were seated with another couple of a similar age to us, so we could have a chat during the journey and help by taking ‘couples’ photos of each other. I think the lady sat at the table for two opposite us would have liked to join in with the chat on our table more, but it’s harder when you are separated by an aisle. It was however exactly the same food and experience for all passengers, regardless of where you were sat.

Cakes & sandwiches on the Orient Express

The Duart carriage which we were in is a 24 seater carriage made up of 4 tables of four and 4 tables of two with a rest room at the end of the carriage. The other carriages are 42 seater cars, that’s more tables to walk past on your way to the loo!

During the journey we were treated to musicians and a table magician…

table musician on the Orient Express

Now here is the tastiest bit… the food! It really was a great theme – as we were at the Mad Hatters Tea Party, we enjoyed coloured finger sandwiches and even individual ‘Eat Me’ cakes!


The menu from the day was as follows:

The Knave of Hearts Leek and Smoked Applewood Quiche with the Dodo’s Duck Scotch Egg *

Finger Sandwiches: Tweedle Dee’s Ham and Grain Mustard Tweedle Dum’s Smoked Salmon and Watercress The March Hare’s Cream Cheese and Cucumber Wonderland Egg and Cress *

Alice’s Fairy Cakes Queen of Hearts Jam Tarts Hatters Chocolate Brownie Doormouse’s Carrot Cake * Cheshire Cat’s Scone with Strawberry Jam and Clotted Cream *

The King of Hearts Strawberries and Cream * Freshly Brewed With a Touch of Magic Rainforest Alliance Coffee and Tea

After all that, we also got a slice of cake! This wasn’t printed on the menu but have a look at these beautifully decorated theme cakes…

Eat Me Cakes- Orient Express

The day wouldn’t be complete without talking about my fashion choices! All passengers are required to dress in smart day wear with no jeans, T-shirts or trainers. So I went for a knee length Jenny Packham cocktail dress and my silver satin heels! Hubby looked very smart in his jacket and tie. I love the quirky bow tie on him, much better than a boring necktie!

At our table on the Orient Express

It really was a day to remember on the famous and luxurious 1920’s train. I’ve never enjoyed such glamorous travel!

You can book your own special Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea for Two here or learn more about other day trips on the Orient Express here

Article Categories:
Lifestyle · Luxury · Travel · Womanhood

Comments to A Day on the Orient Express

  • Oh wow Nadine i am utterly jealous this is on my bucket list and one day i will get on and experience it!

    Happy belated Birthday xx

    Jaime Oliver 13th August 2015 9:59 am Reply
    • It was a bucket list item for me too!

      Nadine Hill 13th August 2015 7:03 pm Reply
  • What a wonderful birthday birthday treat! Happy Birthday x

    mama syder 13th August 2015 1:52 pm Reply
    • It was such a treat – and another thing ticked off the bucket list!

      Nadine Hill 13th August 2015 6:56 pm Reply
  • Wow. I have always wanted to know what it would be like aboard the Orient Express and it looks as amazing as I thought it would x

    Rachel 13th August 2015 7:03 pm Reply
  • Oh my heart sings at this I would absolutely love to go on the Orient Express. The elegance the romance . You both look wonderful.x

    Ninjacat 13th August 2015 8:31 pm Reply
    • Thank you. It was a romantic day- it is special to get dressed up for a daytime date! We loved it.

      Nadine Hill 14th August 2015 8:56 am Reply
  • So many of my favourite things all in one go! Amazing. I’m old train and Alice in Wonderland obsessed so this would be like a dream to me.

    happyhomebird 14th August 2015 1:10 am Reply
    • It really was a fantastic experience

      Nadine Hill 14th August 2015 8:54 am Reply
  • This looks amazing! Happy 40th birthday to you

    Gemma 14th August 2015 12:02 pm Reply
  • If I was to go and spend a day on a train I would love it to be the orient express it looks amazing. x

    Sarah Bailey 14th August 2015 10:25 pm Reply
    • Thank you – it was!

      Nadine Hill 15th August 2015 12:25 pm Reply
  • I didn’t realise you could do that in the UK, it looks amazing and you looked beautiful xx

    Kara 15th August 2015 10:55 am Reply
    • Ah thank you that’s so sweet! You can do one off days out in the UK on this train… It is such a great idea for those ‘big’ occasions!

      Nadine Hill 15th August 2015 12:23 pm Reply
  • Oh, my goodness,Nadine, what an amazing treat! Your hubby is a keeper, for sure and those sandwiches look surreal, as they should for a Mad Hatter’s tea party :-)!x

    oana79 18th August 2015 7:37 pm Reply
    • haha thanks so much Oana! I think so too – he’s a good ‘un! x

      Nadine Hill 18th August 2015 8:13 pm Reply

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