Have you ever considered booking a festive train journey? The Christmas season is the best time of year to treat yourself to all the glitz and glimmer luxury train travel has to offer. We scoured the globe in search of seven of the most beautiful train journeys this holiday season. Step aboard with us.
CTA Holiday Train
Watch the Windy City whizz by on Chicago Transit Authority’s very own Holiday Train. This festive tradition, now in its 31st year, takes travelers throughout the city on eight train lines and the elevated Loop (or “L”) decorated in thousands of colorful holiday lights and décor. Santa and his reindeer lead the charge in an open-top flatcar lined with Christmas trees. The Holiday Train is more than dazzling lights, it also delivers hundreds of food baskets to local community organizations and charities. In some years, the train has delivered 600 food baskets through the season running from after Thanksgiving until Christmas.
Napa Valley Wine Train
Take in the best of California’s rolling Napa Valley aboard one of their three festive Jolly Journeys. Families will love Santa’s Cookie Car for the opportunity to visit the man himself while sipping a cup of warm cider or cocoa and nibbling on holiday cookies. Take your celebrations up a notch on the Gourmet Holiday Express. This journey includes a three-course holiday meal, holiday cookie and cocoa, digital and printed photo with Santa and a table-side visit from Santa in an antique Pullman dining car. Or, soak in stunning views aboard the Very Merry Vista Dome journey where you’ll enjoy fine dining paired with 360-degree views. Whichever you choose, you’ll be welcomed at the station by cheerful carolers.
Head to Colorado for another festive train journey on a vintage steam train aboard the Durango & Silverton’s Narrow-Gauge Railroad’s Polar Express. Your half-hour journey begins in Durango Depot with a welcoming musical pre-show. En route to the North Pole, sip hot chocolate and feast on sweet treats as the conductor reads the award-winning book by Chris Van Allsburg. Upon arrival, enjoy a musical light show and a visit from Santa—complete with gifts, his reindeer and elves and characters from the Polar Express movie.
Santa Claus Express
Our search for the best train journey takes us across the Atlantic to Finland’s Santa Claus Express. This double-decker overnight train takes you from Helsinki to Finland’s northernmost region of Lapland passing through spectacular winter landscapes. On a stop at Rovaniemi, the “official residence of Santa Claus,” children can drop off signed letters for Santa, visit an elf school, ride a reindeer or even take a snowmobile safari. As you wind through the winter wonderland of snow-capped trees, you’re also in the perfect spot to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
Canterbury Christmas Carols
Hop over to the UK for a beautiful train journey on one of Belmond’s British Pullman trains. The Canterbury Christmas Carols train finds you aboard a luxurious train traveling to the historic city of Canterbury. Sit back in your plush seat as you indulge in an elegant three-course brunch and sparkling Bellini. In Canterbury, tour the famous cathedral accompanied by the Canterbury Singers and do a bit of holiday shopping before stepping back on board. Enjoy a Champagne toast before savoring a four-course dinner paired with the sommelier’s wine selection. Finish with coffee, tea and petit fours.
You can also celebrate the season on the Festive Lunch British Pullman train. Your vintage train departs from London’s Victoria Station. Relax in your wood-paneled carriage as you travel through the British countryside on this elegant, round-trip journey. Begin your fine dining experience with a welcome glass of Champagne in cut glassware. Then, tuck into your five-course meal served on commissioned china atop white linen.
Bath at Christmas
Lastly, Belmond’s Bath at Christmas experience will find you embracing the best of the Christmas season on this festive train journey to the World Heritage City of Bath. Begin with a bit of bubbly, brunch and coffee or tea in your Art Deco carriage. In Bath, enjoy shopping in the town’s traditional Christmas market. Here 170 chalets tempt you with unique gifts, festive food and hot drinks. Wander the historic streets and pop into the quirky shops while the sounds of Christmas add to the holiday mood. Back on board, clink glasses over a champagne reception followed by a decadent, four-course, wine-paired dinner.
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