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!
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!
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.
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…
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…
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!
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