Created in 2014, Carpe Diem Emmie is a Midlands based Lifestyle, Theatre and Travel blog. Ran by Emmie, a 28 year old woman based in rural Leicestershire.

In the day Emmie works in a primary school where she is passionate about inclusion and mental health. In the evening she escapes to the cultural world.

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Experiencing The Settle and Carlisle Railway with Steam Dreams.

Rugby, UK
[AD] In collaboration with Steam Dreams Railway Company. I was invited onboard this trip in return for a blog review. 

I don't remember the last time I jumped on a steam train - I have a vivid memory from a primary school age when I went on a short trip with my friend and her parents, but let's just be assured it's not something I have experienced up to recently. The chance came for me to be whisked away on one, it felt incredibly Harry Potter-esque and I was almost tempted to pack my owl and trunk for the trip (just in case we ended up at Hogwarts!) We were joining some of the UK's steam train experts, Steam Dreams on a day trip to the Settle and Carlisle Railway via a stop off in Carlisle. 

Steam Dreams have been combining the magic of steam travel that is loved by many up and down the country with a look at the gorgeous British countryside and onboard menus since 1999. Now two decades late the company now offers day trips to more than 35 different destinations and pick up passengers at over 100 stations across the UK every year. 

We joined the train from London at Rugby (around a 45-minute car journey) from our base in Leicestershire and it was an early start with the train departing at 8:20am. There are 4 different classes available on these trains, ranging from the Pullman Style Dining to Premium Standard. We were kindly gifted seats in the Pullman Style Dining for the trip which claims to provide us with a premium railway dining experience. Our seats in the carriage were incredibly comfortable and had ok legroom for us, an important element for a lengthy trip. 

Upon our outward journey, we got handed a welcome glass of champagne and a friendly hello from the company's Passenger Experience Director, Aimee. She was incredibly bubbly and made us feel at ease during our entire trip. She was also on hand to help you get the most out of your experience on the steam train. We were sat opposite two gentlemen during this trip and it was great to have such friendly people to chat with throughout the day. 

You were handed a guide of your trip for the day - it gave a fantastic breakdown of the journey from every turn. I thought the way this was presented was very boring to my personal taste and too much in print. I think this could be more appealing to customers on the train with a more simplistic breakdown of the journey and more colour. If you are interested in your journey then I'd expect it to be more appealing visually. 

On our outward journey we got a three-course type breakfast to begin our day. What was served was granola and yoghurt before a mighty full English breakfast spread (just what I needed after that early alarm on a Saturday!) Finished off with a couple of chocolate truffles, a cuppa and spectacular views of the Lake District in the distance as we made our way North to Carlisle. 

Once we arrived in Carlisle around lunchtime we only had around an hour and a half to explore before we needed to be back on the train for the trip back to Rugby. It's a not long time so we spent our time mooching in the shops around the small town - I was drawn to a particular shop that had an incredible Halloween display in the front and a browse in some of their charity shops. 

The main attraction for this trip was the Settle and Carlisle Railway and this trip was all about that. You absolutely took it all of the breathtaking views from the train as you embarked on such a beautiful journey. On the journey, we were indulged into a 3-course dinner (which ended in the most divine cheese board!). I enjoyed the tomato and mozzarella salad for my starter, a chicken breast in garlic type sauce for main and a lemon tart for pudding. The meal was served quite sporadically and not consistent but this didn't distract me from my overall dining experience and I still enjoyed the entire meal. We also managed a short stop in Appleby Station for an ice cream - it was a great time to stretch your legs and gather some fresh air! Overall we had a delightful day out on the Leander 45690 which was our steam train for the trip. 

I would say that the length of the entire day is quite draining - especially as you spend a lot of your day sitting in the exact same spot and little time to explore a city when you arrive. I would definitely like to attend another train day trip with Steam Dreams. It was a thrilling new adventure for me and I loved the idea of being dined whilst embarking on a trip! I loved seeing some gorgeous views of the British countryside too (and wondering where I want to move when I retire - I do this on a lot of journeys! aha!) 

Will you be embarking on a journey with Steam Dreams soon? Find out more over on their website for information and dates for the next adventures here.


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