Enjoying the journey, not just the destination: Melanie Kruger reviews First Class train travel with CrossCountry
It is often said of travelling that it’s not about the destination but about the journey, but it’s a sad fact of life that most means of transport allow for very little enjoyment. More often than not, too much time is wasted in lengthy airport check-in queues or gridlocked traffic, and all that’s really on our minds is the end point, where the fun can really begin.
Train travel, though, can be a different kettle of fish, and relaxing back in your seat to enjoy the scenic route to your destination makes it an unbeatable way to go.
There’s a lot to be said for the beautiful British countryside, and on a recent journey with CrossCountry Trains, I had my most enjoyable experience yet. The Plymouth to Leeds service saw me as far as Birmingham New Street, where I changed for the final half an hour to reach my target destination of Leamington Spa, and suffice it to say that it was surprisingly seamless from start to finish.
The moment we embarked, we were greeted by the onboard Retail Service Manager, having easily located our spacious seats in First Class. All smiles, he brought us tea, coffee and water, offering us a selection of complementary snacks as he went about it. Hungry after a long day’s work, we gladly accepted the meals on offer – Morrocan chicken salad for me, and a spicy bean wrap for my partner.
What really set us off on the right foot though, was the promptness with which the train arrived, and as we sailed out of the station at the exact time on our tickets, we were pleased to be on our way.
Some might question the worth of travelling First Class by train, but if you’re yet to experience the tranquility of coach A, then you might be missing a trick. For the duration of our journey, there was plenty of space to get some work done or stretch out and enjoy a good book – made altogether easier by the personal electricity sockets and complementary WiFi – and more peace and quiet than you could hope for when using public transport. Add to that the dedicated in-seat trolley service – boasting wine, beer, soft drinks and a selection of hot and cold snacks – and it all makes for a truly relaxing and hassle-free way to travel.
On arrival into Birmingham New Street – once again, on time – we had fifteen minutes to spare, and by the time we had found the right platform and settled onto the next train for the final leg of our journey, it was chugging promptly out of the station, delivering us to our chauffeur at Leamington Spa.
Although our outward journey was sparse on daylight, our return trip to the southwest two days later made for a real visual treat. Rolling green fields dusted lightly with the morning’s snow, frozen streams and crunchy, colourful fallen leaves slowly faded to darkness, marking the end to a truly stress-free and altogether enjoyable weekend away.
Would I travel with CrossCountry again? You can bet on it. So next time you’re spreading out that map and feeling anxious at the very thought of hitting the road, why not hand the reins over to someone else and let the journey become as much a part of your trip as the destination?
To book your tickets with CrossCountry,visit www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk