Train boffins looking for a tour of Britain’s historical railway sites can embark on the perfect break, relaxing in a home away from home at some of Hallmark Hotels’ most historic properties with long links to the rail network.
The independent hotel group offers three hotels steeped in rail history, with Hallmark Hotel Derby Midland, Hallmark Hotel Chester The Queen and Hallmark Hotel Carlisle all sat just a porter’s stride from age-old train tracks.
Rail travel is the backbone of British transport, but before our trains were bemoaned for delays they were revered for their glamour. Hallmark Hotel The Queen in Chester embodies this unique charm and elegance. Opened in 1860 to serve first-class rail passengers, it was the original railway hotel set opposite the grand entrance to Chester Rail Station. The hotel’s design and architecture was the first of its kind – and the hotel is as unique today as it was 158 years ago.
The hotel is also in TripAdvisor’s ‘top ten haunted hotels in the world’; with rumoured ghosts, underground passages and a breathtaking entrance, guests are swept away on an historical journey during their stay with the odd ghostly tale.
If travel fanatics know their Flying Scotsman from their Virgin Pendolino, they should find their way (by rail, foot or road) to Hallmark Hotel Carlisle, a striking Victorian hotel with a bespoke and boutique-feeling interior. With links to London, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester, Carlisle train station has been a transport hub for an age. After a day spent “gricing”, “festooners” and “bashers” can take a turn around the hotel’s magnificent ballroom or dine in the bold brasserie and enjoy the hotel’s rich history and design.
The hotel also has royal history – the railway station in Carlisle used to be connected to the hotel by tunnel, allowing Queen Victoria to step off the train and straight into the hotel without having to encounter with the public outside.
Travelling to Derby via rail, one of the first sights you will see is the Grade-II listed Victorian built Hallmark Hotel Derby Midland. Having opened in 1839, it’s the oldest railway hotel in the world, and was originally part of the Railway Village - a complete railway complex designed by Francis Thompson.
The hotel oozes character and charm of a bygone era. Visiting monarchs – including Queen Victoria - prime ministers and celebrities have made this hotel their hotel of choice when staying in Derby over the centuries.