Previously part of the Orient Express group, the Northern Belle train, once favourite of the Queen Mother, will make its first ever stop at Rochdale station in Greater Manchester this April. Last year, the train was voted the ninth most luxurious in the world, the only British train to be named in the top 10, with each carriage named after a grand stately home or castle.
The 1930s pullman-style locomotive provides a nostalgia trip for train enthusiasts and foodies alike, with absolutely everything perfected to a tee. The mosaic-clad interiors retain the intricacy and craftsmanship that was poured into many machines like this almost a century ago, and the service has been devised to satisfy even the trickiest of customers.
A spokesperson for Northern Belle said: “It’s the epitome of luxury. Nothing is too good for our pampered passengers. We transport them back to the golden days of rail travel. It’s going to be a treat for the people of Rochdale!” – and this should justify the grand price tag. Prices sit anywhere between £295 and £570 per ticket, inclusive of a champagne afternoon tea, a boozy 7-course lunch, and live entertainment, dependent on the package chosen.
Once the Northern Belle has graced Greater Manchester’s Rochdale station, it will glide through Yorkshire spots such as Hebden Bridge and Brighouse, before taking a picturesque 5-hour tour around the Yorkshire dales, all whilst passengers delight in their chosen treats. The Belle will then make a return to Rochdale just in time for tea, dropping off the lucky lot at around 4.35pm.
It’s no wonder Hollywood actor Bill Nighy called the train the “Grand Dame of luxury travel”, while narrating Channel 5’s The World’s Most Scenic Railways Journeys programme last year, and is an opinion the team behind the Northern Belle are very proud of.
So, roll out the red carpet and get to Rochdale station on the morning of April 21, if not to board the Northern Belle, to see a still-lively piece of history chug into Greater Manchester. You can book onto The Spirit of Travel Lunch here.