One of the world’s most luxurious trains, branded the “grand duchess of luxury travel” by actor Bill Nighy, will pass through Hertfordshire next week.

Train spotters will find The Northern Belle, once part of the iconic Orient Express, in Hitchin and Stevenage shortly after 7pm on Tuesday, March 29.

It passes the Herts stations as part of a of a slap-up £5,000-a-head week-long “land cruise” around Britain - from Edinburgh to King’s Cross along the East Coast main line.

The 1930s-style Pullman carriages, hauled by a vintage diesel locomotive, are scheduled to pass Hitchin station at 7.20pm, then Stevenage at 7.25 and Hertford North at 7.34.

David Pitts, Northern Belle boss, said: “A lot of people are still naturally a little nervous about taking a cruise ship after Covid.

“So we and Imagine came up with the idea of organising Britain’s first land cruise instead. All the luxury but – apart from a boat ride on Loch Ness – on dry land.

“The first one sold out within days so we have organised several more throughout the year.”

Two hundred and fifty passengers will set out from London on the no-expense-spared trip organised with luxury cruise firm Imagine on Wednesday, March 23.

The holiday actually begins the previous night, with an exclusive concert at The Savoy Hotel in London by operatic star Katherine Jenkins.

Later, the train will stop in Bath, the Lake District, Edinburgh, Gleneagles, Loch Ness and York, with all passengers staying in five-star hotels.

The Northern Belle also does various day trips to and from different stations round Britain. For more information, visit: