There’s something intrinsically romantic and evocative about railways and old train carriages and at Railway Retreats, they’ve really taken that notion and run with it! And you don’t have to be a trainspotter to just love what they’ve done … although it may help!
Set within Northiam Steam Railway Station (a working station on the Kent and East Sussex Railway line) right in the corner of East Sussex, you’ll find a collection of stunningly refurbished old train carriages. The team at Railway Retreats has transformed care-worn rolling stock into elegant, and spacious accommodation that captures the essence of travel by rail, with working steam trains pulling out of the station only feet away.
Whether you want a holiday base that is a little different from where you can explore the area, or whether you want to immerse yourself into the romance of the railways, Railway Retreats is everything we love: stylish, original, and fun. There are four carriages you can stay in, each with their own unique charm and back story.
The Plum and Custard Mk1
An icon of travel between the 1950s and 1980s, the Mk 1 is the old slam-door style carriage with sliding window vents. “Plum and Custard” refers to the distinctive livery for coaching stock in the early days of British Railways. This carriage dating from 1962, sleeps up to six, and has a family bathroom, one en-suite bathroom, a fully functional kitchen, two double bedrooms, a bunk room for kids, and an open plan lounge/dining area. It even has a glass balcony with views of the station, railway line and surrounding countryside of Northiam.
The Great Western “TOAD” Brake Van
Dating from 1940, this carriage was one of hundreds that ran on the mainline between 1894 and 1968. The nickname “Toad” comes from the Great Western Railway’s telegraph code for brake vans, which were attached to the rear of goods trains to allow the guard to apply the brakes where needed and ensure that the train made safe passage.
This carriage sleeps two with its own en-suite shower room. The “TOAD” faces directly on to the station platform and is perfect for relaxing on the veranda, where you can watch steam trains roll by and soak up the atmosphere.
The “Guns & Roses” Ammunition Wagon
This sleeps up to four and has an en-suite shower room and a private garden. This wagon was originally built for the War Department in 1944. It was used to convey military ammunition and explosives, an extremely dangerous cargo to carry in a wooden wagon behind a hard-working steam engine sending out sparks.
The Emerald Express
This is the latest addition to the Railway Retreat family and is in the final stages of restoration. When ready, she’ll sleep up to four, with one double bedroom, one twin bedroom, a family shower room, and an open plan lounge and dining area. It also has a balcony overlooking the Kent and East Sussex Railway Line.
Train lovers delight
There’s plenty to do in the area surrounding Northiam, including a visit to Rye, Battle, Camber Castle, Bodiam Castle or Bedgebury Pinetum and Go Ape. But if you’re here just for the railway experience, you also have the Hastings Funicular Railway, the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway (world-famous one-third full-size steam and diesel locomotives), and of course, the Kent and East Sussex Railway.
If you’re looking for somewhere different this summer, make tracks to Railway Retreats. This one of Sussex’s very special locations.
You can find out more at https://www.railwayretreats.co.uk/