William Shakespeare called England “this other Eden...this precious stone set in the silver sea”. It is certainly a country in which travelling can be every bit as enjoyable as arriving.
One of the most luxurious ways to travel is aboard the Orient-Express British Pullman, sister train to the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, which operates five-star day-trips through the English countryside. Train Chartering can make the experience even more special with a private carriage or by adding Pegasus, a classic Fifties bar car, to the scheduled service. Alternatively, charter the whole train and tailor your own off-train experiences.
Prue Leith, of Leith’s School of Food & Wine in London, is a Pullman fan. “I love the exquisite marquetry, different in every carriage, big comfy wing-back chairs, Thirties table lamps with pink shades, deep carpets and waiters smart as paint in mess jackets,” she says.
There’s nothing vintage about our next suggestion. Slip behind the wheel of an iconic supercar and drive it – and five others, including a Ferrari, an Aston Martin and a Lamborghini LP560 Bicolore – through the Cotswolds. This experience, offered by Quintessentially Travel (part of Quintessentially, an exclusive concierge service founded by Ben Elliot, the Duchess of Cornwall’s nephew), includes lunch en route along winding country lanes and through picturesque Cotswold villages, before pulling into Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons for the night.
For horse power of a different sort, head for one of the country’s most luxurious hotels, the Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, which has a superb equestrian centre. From here you can trot out along quiet country lanes or canter across the fields. The hotel, arranged around a lovely Georgian manor house, is perfectly placed for visiting many Hampshire landmarks, including the village of Chawton, the house where Jane Austen wrote Mansfield Park, Emma and Persuasion.