Guset writer Graham Stillwell asks if this is the ideal hotel for a train-spotter?
The Old Railway Station, Pentworth, West Sussex
Surely everyone wants to sleep on a train – and not in the head-lolling, mouth-open commuter sense. Once upon a Golden Age there was a more civilised way to enjoy a rail kip, one where crisp cotton sheets came as standard. If the Granddaddy of classic trains, the Orient-Express, is too pricey for a memory-lane journey, then make tracks to The Old Railway Station in West Sussex instead. Here, at the former Petworth Railway Station, it’s always circa 1930, with four genuine Pullman carriages housing eight plush guestrooms guaranteed to thrill railway children and their parents.
There’s nostalgia galore here in the now-static ‘Mimosa’ and ‘Alicante’ carriages, once part of the Cunarder boat train from London to Southampton, and ‘Montana’ and ‘Flora’, from the Golden Arrow London-to-Paris service. The sleekly restored interiors ripple with marquetry and many original features, including luggage racks, antiques, and ‘white-handkerchief’ windows, props such as old radios and suitcases adding to the charm. Space is at a premium, but who cares when it’s all so eye-wideningly magical? In the morning, it’s a 10-second stroll to the station building for the full English, silver service-style, in the former waiting room, complete with its original ticket windows.
Details: A night for two in a King Pullman starts at £130, B&B (01798 342346, www.old-station.co.uk). Extra mattresses can be put in Station House rooms for an additional cost