Also situated within the garden of High Cross Cottage is another railway carriage. This one, dating from 1876, is the oldest surviving carriage of the former London & South Western Railway. It was a First Class Family Saloon; essentially, the best private hire carriage available at that time. In 1905, the carriage was converted into living space at Exmouth, Devon, before being rescued by the current owners in a very dilapidated state.
Charles and Marion have restored it with great attention to detail, aided by the discovery of a time-capsule of original fittings and materials concealed, along with a newspaper dated 1896, within the walls. The result is a museum-standard restoration of a luxurious railway carriage interior, with fine Brazilian mahogany, gold leaf lining, polished brass fittings, embossed wallpapers, rich fabrics, superb lace antimacassars, fascinating notices, and a railway map and sepia photographs under the luggage racks.
The First Class Saloon is available for hire, allowing guests to savour for themselves the delights of a First Class Dinner prepared by a professional cook or Afternoon Tea served in a sumptuous Victorian setting complete with original South Western silverware and china. Either option a truly memorable experience, and ideal for a special occasion.
Menus vary depending on the time of year. Below are samples for your information.
Smoked Salmon parcel
Skillet chicken breasts with salsa verde
Sticky toffee pudding
Ham hock terrine
Tagliata of Dorset lamb with salsa verde
Clafoutis and clotted cream
Garlic and chicken liver tart
Pork fillet with herb mousseline and mustard sauce
Tea or coffee
Two people – £58 each
Three people – £55 each
Four+ people £50 each
Scones, jam and clotted cream, Victoria sponge, tea or coffee
Two people £ 20 each
Three people £ 18 each
Four+ people £ 15 each