Sunday lunch is a much-loved tradition in the UK.

It’s as British as Winston Churchill and afternoon tea – and it’s replicated in dining tables across the UK every Sunday, with plates piled-high with roast potatoes, veg, meat and not forgetting the Yorkshire pudding.

But what about a Sunday lunch with a twist? Brit-Crowder Janet Comer went on a Great British train journey with a difference and was treated to a wonderful Sunday luncheon aboard a vintage steam train, to celebrate Mothering Sunday in March.

Great train journey: Passengers on the station waiting for a vintage train

The setting for this great train journey is nothing short of picture perfect – starting at the incredibly picturesque Loughborough Central Station, which first opened in 1899 and served passengers travelling from the relatively small town to London Marylebone.

While more modern trains have taken over since then from larger, more industrious stations, this station is still used – it’s featured in films, and it’s also the home of Great Central Railway, so a great place to spot other vintage locomotives steaming past.

Great Central Railway (GCR) is managed by an incredibly dedicated team of staff and volunteers, who passionately run services for those who want to experience train travel like it used to be.

Over 18 Steam locomotives are based at GCR, with some being painstakingly restored for use in the future.

Great Train journey: A platform with suitcases

“When we arrived at Loughborough Central Station,  it was very chilly, so we took the opportunity to warm ourselves by the coal fire, inside a delightfully atmospheric waiting room, whilst waiting to board the train.

Even the posters on the station room walls and on the platforms took you back to a bygone era!

The smell of the steam and hoot of the engine soon told us we were ready to start our journey back in time.

We boarded a stunning 45305 locomotive, which was built by Armstrong Whitworth in 1937 and was withdrawn from service in 1968. GCR took it over in 1996 and it returned it to its former glory, transporting passengers, in 2003.

Great train journey: Central Railway Pullman carriage

The enthusiasts who participate in the running of the trains were suitably dressed in period costume which all added to provide a wonderful experience and it was clear that a great deal of effort had gone into the restoration of the railway and its stations.

The luncheon ticket price includes unlimited first class travel on the railway for the day, so we took advantage of this, in order to see what  the different stations had to offer (these include Quorn & Woodhouse, Rothley Station & Leicester North).

Great train journey: A table set up on a Great Central Railway first class carriage

The meal served to us in the Pullman carriage was cooked to a high standard, served by very attentive staff and thoroughly enjoyed by us all.

We could choose from soup or potted shrimp for our first course, this was followed by pan fried chicken breast wrapped in bacon, stuffing, chipolata sausages and a plentiful range of vegetables.

To finish we were served with profiteroles topped with warm chocolate sauce, coffee or tea and petit fours! I was also presented with a beautiful rose, as it was Mother’s Day! The attention to detail was excellent.

Great train journey: Sunday lunch served in a first class carriage Great Central Railway

Travelling by steam train is a wonderful way to experience a bygone era and I would thoroughly recommend this for a very enjoyable family day out”.

The GCR also runs a whole host of themed events, from murder mystery parties to model events and even a sci-fi day. It’s possible to book well in advance through their website which is available here: http://www.gcrailway.co.uk/ 

Huge thank you to Janet for this fabulous blog post. Janet takes incredible shots of Britain – in particular of stunning villages, picturesque gardens and historic towns.

Please check out her account and follow her here: https://www.instagram.com/janet.comer/ 

Do you have an incredible British experience you would like to share? Then get in touch.