In the penultimate chapter of our four-part series for group dining ideas, we take a look at dining by train.Restaurant evenings and other dining experiences have always been popular with groups – the perfect social activity for friends to catch up or strangers to get to know each other. Fiona Horan casts her eye over a menu of assorted delights.
There can’t be many people who don’t feel nostalgic for the good old days when one’s train journey would be enlivened by something more civilised than a styrofoam cup of tea from the trolley.
Well, a temporary return to those golden days of rail travel is possible with a trip in the dining car of one of the heritage steam railways. Most have a programme of dining experiences, including the Kent and East Sussex Railway, based in Tenterden, who offer dining on the Wealden Pullman. The carriages are from the 20s and 30s and the volunteer staff are authentically attired and proud to recreate the level of service of a bygone age.The Spa Valley Railway in Tunbridge Wells will tempt groups next year with their new afternoon tea service on a 1960’s heritage diesel train. The company also offer fish and chip specials and murder mysteries.
The West Somerset Railway runs the Quantock Belle from Bishops Lydeard to the seaside at Minehead. A four course meal is served, with the train reaching Minehead after the main course, and the desert served on the homeward journey.
Keighley and Worth Valley Railway have various dining dates during the year, including a special Steam and Curry event – with curry on board the train, an onboard real ale bar, and live music and dancing at Keighley to finish.
Finally, the Great Central Railway in Loughborough have rather impressive four-course and six-course meals in their first class dining carriages.