Luxury lunch on board a Pullman Dining steam train? Yes please…

image shows old fashioned train carriage with people boarding it, dressed smartly

Step back in time with lunch and a steam train ride through beautiful North Yorkshire scenery…

If immersing yourself in the gentle glamour of a bygone age is up your street, you’ll love this. A luxurious lunch on board a beautiful steam train, a Pullman Dining Train. With nothing to do except eat, drink, and take in the breathtaking Yorkshire scenery. Escape the real world for a few hours, and let the train take the strain. Naomi Katze went along to try out the Moorlander experience…

Arriving at the station

Station master dressed in vintage clothes standing on the platform, with vintage train behind himYour experience begins when you drive into the picturesque village of Grosmont, North Yorkshire. Grosmont is actually famous for the discovery of ironstone in 1836, when George Stephenson’s original railway from Whitby to Pickering was being built. Although the ironstone industry is now a thing of the past, the railway is still a prominent part of the village.

Parking is plentiful for access to the station, with large parking areas. Don’t forget to pay for your ticket before you walk to the station like we did!

With just a 5-10 minute walk through pretty woodland, crossing over the wrought iron bridge to the station, you start to get the feeling you’re travelling back in time. It’s like a scene from Heartbeat. The staff are impeccably dressed in vintage attire. And there’s a real buzz around the station as there are trains due in, and some being shunted about. The sun was shining – we were actually blessed with some sun when we visited. And there’s just something so nostalgic about these trains. Even if you’re no train enthusiast, the beauty of them is evident as soon as you see them.

composite of two images, showing the seating and dinner setting inside the carriage, and a shot of the steam train from outside, on the tracks coming towards the photographer's perspective

All aboard!

We’re met by cheerful staff, who check us in and also inform us of an upgrade! So we are shown to a first class private coupe, which was a lovely surprise. The table is laid out with proper linen tablecloths and napkins, and our (pre-ordered) menu choices are displayed on a card on the table, along with some fresh bread and butter. We’re asked if we would like any drinks and I have to say, during our whole time on board, the service was absolutely brilliant. Attentive, but not annoying, they work like clockwork to their schedule. It’s obviously a well-rehearsed service, and the experience and meticulous planning is clear.

It’s very comfortable in our special coupe, the chairs are beautiful. But don’t expect air con or Wi-Fi, charging points or any modern bits. The experience is authentic and it’s really rather lovely not having ‘mod cons’ everywhere. Once you get moving, with the whistle blowing, the chuffing of the train, you’ll settle back in your seat and just enjoy the food and views.

images shows a middle aged couple sitting opposite each other at the private dining table in the steam train. They look happy and excited

Alan and Naomi settle in for a good lunch

The views and the food though…

Chugging along the 18 miles of railway through the scenic North Yorkshire Moors, we enjoy our starter and main courses. And drinks, including some fizz, obviously. Drinks aren’t included in the price, so anything you order is an additional cost. But cash or card accepted, so it’s easy to pay.

The menus change, but for the record, we had goat’s cheese, pear and walnut tart, and home-made chicken liver pâté with sourdough toasts and sticky onion marmalade. Main courses, we had to try the locally produced roast loin of Yorkshire pork with stuffing, crispy crackling, apple sauce and home-made gravy. And for some balance, the Yorkshire seafood chowder, with succulent chunks of local fish, prawns and mussels in a creamy sauce. The desserts are served after we have a break – more on this below.

Seafood chowder with local fish, prawn and mussels, and roast Yorkshire pork with crackling, apple sauce, crackling and veggies

We were happy – and particularly happy that despite working in a restricted train prep area, the chefs were able to work around my husband’s allergy to onions. Special mention for the homemade pâté, which was delicious. Both main courses were good – the roast had a really good selection of veg. And the chowder was really tasty, lots of fish.

The three-course menu is all very tasty, and paced nicely throughout the journey, so we never feel rushed, but equally never find ourselves looking up and down the corridor in vain, trying to get fed. We get to the end of the first leg and stop at Pickering station for about 10 mins or so. The break is designed to allow for a leg stretch, or the opportunity to take some photos of another unique and pretty station.

Read more: Discover one of London’s best hidden afternoon teas…

And turn around again…

Once everyone is back on board, the train takes the return journey back to Grosmont. Again, you are tended to along the way, with dessert, and coffee or tea served with the most wonderful chocolates I’ve tried for some time. We went for the cheeseboard, and a trio of desserts (lemon posset, white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake, and chocolate tart). Which just about finished us off, as we sat back, happy and full.

image shows plate of cheese with crackers, celery etc

Selection of cheese and biscuits. In case you hadn’t worked that out!

I want to mention a really nice touch with the chocolates too. They’re made by Park House Barns, a charity that supports young autistic people to develop work skills. I can vouch for the fact that they’re certainly doing a great job with these choccies.

Full and nicely relaxed, we trundle along the tracks, with everyone you pass waving at the train and its passengers, so of course you wave back. Scenes from the Railway Children aren’t far from our minds. The whole experience is a very relaxed and enjoyable affair, and you cannot help but smile every time you hear the sound of the whistle blowing. There’s just something about how that little noise makes you feel.

For a lunch, it may not be the cheapest of days out. But it’s very enjoyable and certainly relaxing. A lovely experience that’s helped by the well-organised, informative and happy team that tend to you throughout your journey. Give it a go; you won’t be disappointed.

Prices include meals but not drinks – menus change with the seasons
Per person £95
Four-person private coupe £399

North Yorkshire Moors Pullman Dining Trains

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