The Night Riviera
08.07.2011 - 09.07.2011 18 °C
There can be no more exciting way to begin a holiday than to take a sleeper train. Climbing into bed in the middle of London to wake hours later to glimpses of fishing villages and rural scenes feels like being transported to a different world.
Rail travel guru site Seat 61 describes the Night Riviera Sleeper as like a 'mini travelling hotel', an accurate description. As you board the train at Paddington station you are met by a host/hostess who shows you to your room down a very narrow train corridor, and takes your order for breakfast. The rooms are small but comfortable and clean. If you book a single compartment there is an in-house entertainment system with a small LCD screen - as we were travelling as a couple and had a bunk room this wasn't available. On the bed is a free bag of the sort of bits-and-pieces you normally get in a hotel room plus a few other things, including some effective earplugs which are particularly important if your neighbours in the next room are a bit chatty.
I found it suprisingly easy to sleep on the train, the gentle motion of the carriages lulling me off into quite a deep sleep. I needed the early morning wake-up call with breakfast!
The Night Riviera terminates at Penzance on the South Coast so for our onward train to St Ives, on the North, we needed to make an early morning change at St Erth. We changed onto the picturesque little branch line that follows the sweep of St Ives Bay and before long we were looking out over the turquoise waters lapping at the beaches of St Ives.