Throughout December, the legendary British Pullman and Northern Belle trains offer a host of seasonal journeys that include trips to some of Britain’s finest Christmas markets, to historic cathedrals for special carols, unique and exclusive shopping events and delicious festive fare.
Christmas in the UK is the most widely celebrated date in the country. The English Christmas celebrations include the beautiful Christmas music, decorated Christmas Trees and hang up evergreen branches. The English gift giver is called Father Christmas and is expected on Christmas Eve. A traditional Christmas dinner is enjoyed the next day with a rich, fruity dessert – the delicious Christmas pudding with brandy sauce. Both trains in the UK honour these traditions with festively decorated carriages and a whole host of sumptuous Christmas lunches and dinners are held onboard throughout December.
Back by popular demand and for the second year running, Christmas Shopping on the Rails will depart on 6th December. Guests are invited to avoid the hassle of the high-street by travelling on the British Pullman where a hand-picked selection of luxury British brands will be showcasing their top seasonal gifts and products throughout the various carriages.
The Spanish hold festivals like no where else, with copious amounts of traditional Spanish food on offer, outsiders are welcomed to join in all of the fiesta events and holiday celebrations. It is not Santa who comes to Spain bearing gifts, but the Three Wise Men. The Spanish Christmas continues for a few weeks after December 25th. On the Eve of Epiphany, January 5th, children place their shoes on the doorstep, and in the secret of the night, the Three Wise Men pass leaving gifts. Parades are held in various cities on January 6th, where candy and cakes are distributed to throngs of children.
Once again, the Hotel Ritz Madrid invites guests to celebrate an unforgettable holiday season full of emotions and sensations. This year a very special programme will again include the youthful voices of a Children’s Choir Christmas Concert, filling the Ritz with delightful carols and classic songs. Luxury and glamour have an appointment at the Ritz in the longest night of the year. This year on the eve of the New Year, guests staying at the hotel can enjoy a Spanish themed night filled with surprises and fun under the rhythm of the Big Band Orchestra.
Heading to South America, in Peru, December 24th is when the magic happens. Christmas in Peru is celebrated as “Nocha Buena”, which literally means “Good Night” in Spanish. On Christmas evening, there is a family get-together to celebrate Christmas which is also called the Christmas for Children. The people of Peru put the scenes of Nativity in the churches and homes. They buy the pieces of nativity from the market of Santurantikuy or the buying of saints. The scenes are kept till the La Bjeda de los Reyes which is the arrival of the three wise men on January 6.
All of our Peruvian properties have devised a delightful programme of events for the festive season. For example guests can travel to the city of Cuzco, where Hotel Monasterio will hold a traditional Peruvian Christmas mass at the chapel San Antonio Abad along with the presentation of the children’s choir. Opened earlier this year, Palacio Nazarenas in Cuzco will welcome its first New Years Eve in with a spectacular celebration at the fabulous Senzo restaurant with a six-course dinner created especially by the world-class chef, Virgilio Martinez. Later, guests will share a midnight toast with us in the Main Patio, enjoying the best band in Cuzco and the city’s impressive fireworks show to ring in the New Year!
The city of colours, Rio de Janeiro continues to shine brightly in the festive season with the Cariocas (Rio residents) keeping with tradition by dressing in white, complimented by coloured accessories: green for health, red for romance, yellow for good fortune, etc. Dressing in black or using black accessories is considered to bring bad luck. It’s also a tradition to bring offerings of flowers, candles, and other small tokens to honour Yemanja, known as the Queen of the Ocean by the Afro-Brazilian Candomble religion. Street vendors sell flowers which are thrown into the sea by both local residents and tourists in the city. Copacabana Palace has the perfect positioning for the highlight of New Year’s Eve evening every year with the fantastic fireworks show at midnight on Copacabana Beach. Several large barges, anchored in the water off the beach, create a world class fireworks show that lasts about 20 minutes.
Escape the winter chill in Europe this Christmas and venture to the warmer climates of South-East Asia region with a New Year’s Eve experience on the rails aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express. The New Year’s Eve special four-night journey will depart Singapore and head north through Malaysia en route to Bangkok. New for this year, sarongs and flip flops will be given as a special turn down gift to be worn for the beach party at Hua Yai, the Pattaya region of Thailand, on New Year’s Eve which will take place after a sumptuous dinner onboard.
It is never too early to make plans for the festive season, experiencing a magical time of the year through the eyes of a different and exotic culture can be an eye-opening and unforgettable experience. Orient-Express are on hand to ensure our guests enjoy an enriching and enjoyable luxury experience at the most magical time of the year.