Evoke romantic vintage railway journeys with a stay in a converted East Sussex carriage for two, the GWR ‘TOAD' Brake Van at Railway Retreats.
  • Sleeps: 2
  • Bedroom: 1
  • Bathroom: 1
  • Minimum stay: 2 nights

Originally constructed in 1940 by Great Western Railway, the ‘TOAD’ Brake Van spent many faithful years as a safety brake for goods trains, complete with a guard to ensure no wagons were left behind.

These days, the charming carriage has been beautifully converted in clean-lined vintage style, and is set within Northiam Steam Railway Station, a working station on the Kent and East Sussex steam railway line.   

It’s easy to feel transported to simpler times past here. The scenery on the Kent and Essex border is truly captivating, with lush countryside greenery all around.  Meanwhile, you can watch nostalgic steam trains roll in and out of the station from the comfort of your elevated track-facing veranda…what a way to greet each day!

Sleeping two people in cosy luxury, the ‘TOAD’ Brake Van is ideal for couples who want to evoke vintage railside romance. Self-contained, with its own ensuite shower room and a dining area with lush views of the Rother Valley as well as the station platform, you’ll find everything you need for a relaxing stay.

You’ll find your carriage fully insulated, double-glazed and heated, so you can stay perfectly toasty whatever the weather. With those magnificent views, a Freesat TV and a well-equipped kitchen all on hand, you may feel that going out seems like…well, just a bit too much effort!

If you do feel like stepping off the tracks for a moment, you’ll find the village of Northiam is a wonderful base from which to explore the local area, offering something for everyone. For starters, your carriage is set close to plenty of local pubs and restaurants, with a fish and chip shop nearby for a traditional English supper.

Perhaps begin the day by taking a country ramble, or packing up a tasty picnic and heading for the bracing coast, with Hastings Beach and Rye Harbour a mere 12 miles from the carriage?  

Keep reading

At a glance

  • 1940s brake van charmingly converted to a self-contained holiday hideaway for two, with views of lush countryside and the Northiam Steam Railway Station platform.
  • Located within the Northiam Steam Railway Station on the Kent and East Sussex line. Private parking is available.
  • Smoking and pets are not permitted. Bedding, towels and kitchen equipment are included.
  • The carriage is close to many local towns and attractions, including Hastings, Rye and Tenterden, with beaches, shopping, dining and activities all available close by.


TOAD sleeps 2, double bedroom, bedding & towels provided, en-suite shower room & toilet, fitted kitchen, hob, oven, kettle, utensils, fridge, dining area, FreeSat TV, elevated balcony, allocated parking.

Local activities

Kent & East Sussex Railway, beaches, watersports, swimming, boat trips, historic towns/villages, wine tasting, fishing, kite surfing, nature reserve, castles, horse riding, cycling, coastal walks.

More information

Or, with the Kent and East Sussex Railway literally on the doorstep, simply catch a train and choose your favourite stop! Perhaps visit the town of Tenterden, or head to Bodiam Castle for an historic day out?

Keen shoppers will enjoy visiting the larger town of Hastings, with its shopping centre and plenty of places to enjoy coffee and cake along the way – and how about a visit to Hastings Blue Reef Aquarium too?

Return to your cosy carriage just in time to enjoy the blazing sunset from the comfort of your veranda… perhaps accompanied by a chilled bottle of wine.  You’re on holiday after all, and your romantic relaxation has only just begun.

Things to note

Minimum booking period 2 nights. No smoking, no pets permitted.

Where you'll be staying

Northiam, East Sussex

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