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The enchanting world of train travel

Our travel expert Lorraine Simpson travels by train and the scenery is nothing short of spectacular

Hop aboard my whimsical train of thought as we chug through the enchanting world of train travel, a realm where the journey itself is the destination. Picture this: you're not just hopping from point A to point B; you're embarking on a cinematic voyage across time and space, with the world scrolling by your window like a live-action movie. And let's not forget the soundtrack—the rhythmic clatter of the tracks that promises adventure at every turn.

Now, imagine a mode of travel where slowing down is the new speeding up, where each chug and whistle is an invitation to embrace the art of journeying. This isn't your run-of-the-mill commute. This is train travel, folks, where the vibe is less about rushing and more about relishing every scenic twist and turn. It's like being in an eco-friendly music video, starring you, the landscapes, and a train that's keen on keeping the planet green.

In the league of extraordinary trains, one hero stands tall: the Venice Simplon-Orient Express. After a dramatic pause (four years, but who's counting?), this legend of the tracks is back, and luxury travel buffs are here for it. The Orient Express isn't just a train; it's a rolling tribute to the golden age of travel, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, with a side of luxury.

Boarding the Orient Express is akin to stepping into a time machine, set to the ritzy 1920s and 30s. Each carriage, a masterclass in Art Deco elegance, whispers tales of yore through its lavish interiors and artisanal finesse. Here, every nook and cranny has a story, every cabin is a plush retreat, and the dining experience? A culinary odyssey that'll have your taste buds tap dancing in delight.

As for the views, they're the kind that has you pinching yourself—are they real, or have you stumbled into an impossibly chic painting? From the Venetian canals playing peek-a-boo to the Swiss Alps standing guard in their snowy splendour, the scenery is nothing short of spectacular.

And then there's the Bar Car—oh, the Bar Car! It's where cocktails are more than just drinks; they're liquid memories, accompanied by the soothing melodies of a piano. It's the place to be for tales of adventure and the clinking of glasses as you make friends with fellow wanderers.

Whether you're London-bound, Venice-venturing, or Istanbul-intrigued, the Orient Express delivers more than just destinations. It offers an experience—a chance to sip from the cup of luxury, to dine with your eyes wide open, and to travel in a way that makes you the protagonist of your own epic tale.


Just when you thought our train journey couldn't get any more luxurious, let's shift gears and continents. Our next chapter in this rail-bound anthology of adventure takes us to the heart of Africa with the illustrious Rovos Rail. Affectionately heralded as the "Pride of Africa," this opulent train ride introduces us to a continent resplendent in natural beauty and breathtaking diversity. From the whispering savannahs of South Africa to the enigmatic deserts of Namibia and the lush, verdant forests of Zambia, Rovos Rail carves a path through some of the most mesmerizing landscapes the Earth has to offer.

Stepping aboard the Rovos Rail is akin to entering a moving castle of elegance and history. Each coach, meticulously restored to its original splendor, offers a voyage back in time to the golden age of rail travel, but with all the modern luxuries one could wish for. Spacious suites become your private sanctuaries; fine dining transforms each meal into a celebration, and the service? Unparalleled. This is not just travel; this is an immersive experience, a chance to dive deep into the heart of Africa, exploring its wild beauty, vibrant cultures, and ancient mysteries, all from the lap of luxury.

But why stop at Africa? The world is crisscrossed with legendary tracks waiting to be explored. Picture yourself aboard the Glacier Express in Switzerland, known as the world’s slowest express train—a title it wears with honor, giving you ample time to soak in the Alpine majesty. This eight-hour journey connects Zermatt at the foot of the Matterhorn with the chic resort town of St. Moritz, turning every twist and turn into a scenic symphony of deep gorges, soaring bridges, pristine lakes, and idyllic villages.

Or perhaps you’re drawn to the Land of the Rising Sun, where the Seven Stars in Kyushu awaits to enchant you. Japan's premiere luxury train marries the country's rich cultural heritage with the pinnacle of modern travel comfort. Each car is a testament to craftsmanship, where traditional design meets luxury, guiding you through Kyushu’s volcanic landscapes, hot springs, and historic cities in unparalleled elegance.

Not to be outdone, Australia's Ghan offers an epic cross-continental journey that captures the essence and spirit of the vast Australian outback. From the lush tropical north of Darwin to the iconic red sands of the Red Centre and down to the sophisticated southern cities, the Ghan invites you on an adventure that spans the continent, offering a unique window into Australia's heart.

Each of these journeys, from the African savannahs aboard the Rovos Rail to the icy peaks of the Swiss Alps, the cultural richness of Kyushu, and the sprawling landscapes of Australia, presents a unique narrative. They remind us that travel is not just about the destinations but about the stories, the people, and the memories we create along the way. So, as we continue our exploration of the world's most luxurious trains, remember: the true beauty of these journeys lies not only in their destinations but in the journeys themselves, offering new perspectives, experiences, and the luxury of seeing the world from the tracks. Let's continue to explore, to dream, and to travel, for the world is vast, and our adventure on its rails is just beginning.


Next week, my friends, promises to be a special treat, as I'll be unveiling the chronicles of my river cruise through the enchanting lands of Provence. Believe me, my bag is brimming with stories to share! Currently, as these words flow from my fingertips, I'm nestled in the heart of Provence, France—a corner of the globe that has stolen a piece of my heart. Oh, the culinary delights, the architectural wonders, the intricate interiors, and the quaint, alluring boutiques—it's a symphony for the senses.

But, dear readers, this isn't just any sojourn. I'm on a mission—a reconnaissance, if you will—to orchestrate the quintessential group voyage for next year, with none other than my cherished companion in design, Shai Deluca, by my side. Envision with me, if you will: a journey punctuated by visits to idyllic wineries, exclusive tours of stunning homes, and drives through the breathtaking countryside, lavishly painted with fields of lavender as far as the eye can see.

So, hold tight to your sense of wanderlust, for next week, we'll dive headfirst into the tales of Provencal charm and elegance, a narrative woven with the threads of adventure, friendship, and the unparalleled beauty of France. The adventure is just beginning, and I can hardly wait to bring you along on this journey of discovery and delight.