THIS TRAIN RIDE IS MURDER… by Joanna Taylor for The Evening Standard

12 June 2023

Joanna Taylor was a guest of the Belmond British Pullman, and we are delighted to feature her review of ‘Dead On Time’ for The Evening Standard.


No doubt you’ve heard all about the Belmond British
Pullman, the ornate, bucket-list-topping 1920s train
which whisks riders from Victoria through the
English countryside in the utmost glamour. Onboard,
travellers who’ve splurged (translation: get saving) on
the experience can enjoy grand, cushty period
carriages restored from various eras or designed by
filmmaker extraordinaire Wes Anderson, decadent
meals accompanied by coupes of Veuve Clicquot,
and now the thrilling taste of. (impending doom
voice, please) murder.
No, its sister train the Orient Express hasn’t had a
rebrand. This is a fresh new immersive theatrical
experience brought to you by the clever clogs at
Private Drama Events, who’ve spent years
masterminding the locomotive’s Murder Mystery
Lunch, a story ‘woven from the train’s history, the
memories of people who worked or travelled onboard,
and even each carriage’s unique personality,” says the
company’s founder, Adam Blackwood.
Over the course of five hours and a five course meal
dreamt up by chef Jon Freeman, passengers encounter
a range of eccentric characters who transport you all
the way back to 1951. The task? Figure out who killed
off their acquaintance by deciphering the stories they
tell you while they travel up and down the carriages.
Unlike your annual Crimbo game of Cluedo, it’s not
exactly a breeze, which makes it all the more
engaging. And Freeman’s traditional British food,
served on elaborate William Edwards china by
multiple generations of waiters, is a delicious
distraction from the matter at hand, with peppery
beetroot soup, roast lamb and a rhubarb Swiss roll
stealing the show. All in all, expect a, ahem, killer time.

Photo courtesy of Belmond.