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The Team

Find out more about our dedicated
team of travel specialists below.

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Tony Flanagan

General Manager

Tony is the General Manager at Success Tours and has worked for the group for 12 years. When he’s not on the road visiting clients and checking out hotels and attractions, he loves to spend time with his partner or his children, and can often be found in a field coaching his local youth football team.

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What is your first travel memory?

My fondest travel memories as a child are of day trips to Frinton-on-Sea, a lovely seaside town on the Essex coast. I used to go there for day trips from Hackney with my mum, and the atmosphere and sea air seemed just magical compared to East London. I love to go back even today – the sea front has barely changed in 40 years, so it feels amazingly nostalgic. Thanks to these early memories I still love the ocean: my favourite part of a holiday is the late afternoon, watching the sun set accompanied by a cold beer and the sound of crickets, skin tingling from the sea and the sun.

What kind of food do you like to try when you travel – local delicacies, or familiar favourites?

I love cooking, it relaxes me, so I do like to sample the local cuisine. However, I can’t stand cheese so that can sometimes make it difficult! I enjoy trying dishes that are a bit different, although that being said I once had ox testicles for lunch in Shenzhen, China, and I have to say I probably wouldn’t try those again…!

What is the most mind-blowing attraction you’ve ever visited?

Probably the Cinque Terre in Italy – my first visit there absolutely blew me away. I loved it, and want all my clients to see it because it’s so wonderful! Jumping on a train and skipping along coastal villages only accessible via train, boat or foot is my idea of heaven.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it by and why?

Italy. I love the culture, the climate, the food, the family atmosphere, the sea, the history… I’m enamoured by the Italians’ love of cuisine, the way that a meal out is an event – it’s not just about being hungry.

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Andy Wenham

Office Manager

Having spent many years living and working in the beautiful lakes and mountains of Austria, he now loves being based back in the UK and is happiest when relaxing at his holiday chalet on the West Somerset coast with his wife and daughters.

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What was your favourite ever journey?

I have two. One was in New Zealand, when I travelled through the South Island from Christchurch down to Queenstown. I passed so many beautiful, scenic areas, including Mount Cook. It was the first time I’d travelled in New Zealand, so I really enjoyed discovering the towns, villages and countryside there.

The second was in Scotland: driving from Perth to the Isle of Skye in a Citroën 2CV. It was a cold, crisp autumn when the colours of the trees were changing, and we went through mountain passes, around vast lochs, and by the iconic Eilean Donan Castle before taking the ferry over to Skye… I’ll never forget that drive.

What is your most memorable travel experience?

When I was 15, my parents had a touring caravan which we took on a trip through France. Over 3 or 4 days, we drove down to the south of France from Calais. I really enjoyed seeing how our European friends lived, and experiencing the French way of life – bakery vans with freshly baked baguettes and croissants would turn up to the camp sites each day, we played pétanque with the French, and it was a really peaceful and lovely trip. It was this trip that helped me to decide to pursue a career in the travel trade: based on this experience, I decided that I wanted to see more of Europe once I’d left school.

What’s your top travel tip for a successful trip?

Don’t travel on too tight a budget! If you can’t afford it, don’t go – wait until you have the money to really enjoy it. You don’t want to have to compromise too much, or miss out on certain experiences. I backpacked on a tight budget when I was younger, and now I much prefer to be able to afford to sample the local food rather than seeking out the cheapest thing at the supermarket!

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Jo Blair

Sales Manager

Jo has been at Success Tours for over 5 years. When she’s not travelling around the UK visiting her clients she is based the beautiful Cotswolds, where she enjoys village life with her family and her golden Labrador and keeps active by walking, playing badminton and kickboxing. Travel is Jo’s passion and she loves to explore new places as well as revisiting her favourite spots.

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What was your favourite ever journey?

My favourite journey so far was through Scotland – we travelled through the Cairngorms, passing many beautiful lochs. I was absolutely amazed by the scenery there, I didn’t expect it to be nearly as dramatic as it was. A road trip I’d like to do in the future is through the Rocky Mountains in Western Canada. I lived in Canada for a short time, but as I was based in Toronto, I didn’t get to explore the Rockies.

What is your most memorable travel experience?

My most memorable was definitely backpacking around Australia when I was younger. I went away for a year, totally on my own, and had absolute freedom: I had nothing booked apart from the flights, and just a rucksack with me. It was before backpacking in Australia was common, and back then I didn’t have email or a mobile phone, so I had very little contact with home. That made it feel like a real adventure.

Where is top of your holiday wishlist, and why?

Sardinia is definitely on my wishlist. Italy is one of my favourite places in the world, but Sardinia is a part of the country I haven’t visited yet. Everyone that goes there says it’s fantastic: it has the simple pleasures of sun, sea and little towns, and of course the Italian people and way of life that I love.

What’s your top travel tip for a successful trip?

Always go with an open mind, and don’t expect to find the same things that you have at home. The world is such a small place nowadays – you can get almost anything, anywhere – so it’s always a pleasure to go looking for something different and discovering a charm specific to that destination.

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Jackie Cook

Account Manager

Jackie joined Success Tours in 2015, bringing with her a wealth of experience in organising UK coach trips and excursions. This knowledge comes in very handy when she’s exploring our beautiful coast and countryside.

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Mountain, desert, ocean or jungle?

Definitely ocean: I love the sea. It’s my go-to place when I want to clear my mind and blow away the cobwebs. I don’t mind whether it’s a remote beach or a bustling harbour town, I just love the sea air.

What was your favourite ever journey?

It has to be the train journey I took around Europe after finishing university. It was a mammoth trip exploring different corners of the continent, but the section of the journey that sticks in my mind the most is the overnight train from Rome to Nice. We travelled along a section of the track that ran right along the sea just as the sun was coming up, and it was amazing.

Where is your favourite place in the world?

That’s difficult, there are too many to choose from! Although Italy’s Amalfi Coast is definitely up there. In the UK, I would choose the West Country: I love Cornwall, the south coasts of Devon and Dorset, and the National Trust’s Stourhead estate is just lovely for a walk around the lake – especially on a quiet day.

What is the most mind-blowing site or attraction you’ve visited?

I would have to say Pompeii. It was always on my bucket list, and finally saw it a couple of years ago. A lot of people prefer Herculaneum as it has more artefacts, but the sheer size and scale of Pompeii took me by surprise and really blew me away. It helped having a really good guide, too. It made the experience of going to the top of Vesuvius even better, as I really understood the power of the volcano.

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Tracey Howes

Tour Coordinator

Tracey has been helping Success Tours’ clients have great trips for over 10 years. She loves seeing as much of the UK as she can during the weekends, going for walks and exploring National Trust properties at every opportunity with her husband and two young boys.

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What is your first travel memory?

I holidayed in the UK and Europe as a child, but one that really sticks in my mind is my first long-haul travel experience: a school trip to New York as a teenager. It was pretty memorable for a school trip, especially as we were visiting during their Independence Day celebrations. We stayed right by Central Park, and although we weren’t supposed to leave the hostel unaccompanied I did get up early one morning and had a wander through the park without the teachers… I’ll always remember that trip.

What was your most unusual travel experience?

Before I had children, I’d taken the train to London for work. As the train passed by the canal, I thought it looked really pretty, and later that day I mentioned it to my husband. He promptly went out and bought a canoe! We paddled first to Henley-on-Thames, departing from the Kennet & Avon canal in Trowbridge, over 4 nights. It was really good fun, so at a later date, we picked up where we’d left off at Henley-on-Thames, and canoed on to Basingstoke over 6 nights. It was fantastic, we just put up a tent wherever we could find a spot each evening.

What is the most mind-blowing site or attraction you’ve visited?

Two very different places come to mind. Whilst in Kraków with my husband, we visited the Wieliczka Salt Mines, which were absolutely incredible: they are just stunning inside, overwhelmingly beautiful. We also visited Auschwitz, which was obviously overwhelming for very different reasons, and it made a huge impact. I love visiting Poland; it’s beautiful, the people are very friendly and there is so much to do.

Where is top of your holiday wishlist, and why?

I’d love to do a campervan trip around Europe with my family. It would be great to see many different places: I’m not the kind of person who often returns somewhere I’ve already been, and I hate to go somewhere and just stay in the hotel, so the idea of a road trip really appeals!

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Lisa Starr

Tour Coordinator

After being a Somerset girl all her life, Lisa has now crossed the county border and lives near the Success Tours offices in lovely Wiltshire. Lisa loves the Tour Coordinator role due to its varied and interesting nature, and in her free time she loves to travel with her partner, and spend time with her friends – often on shopping trips.

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If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be, and why?

Probably Ireland – I love that the lifestyle is similar to the UK, but it has so much beautiful countryside and it’s really green. One of my favourite places in the world is Dublin: I love Dublin. I’ve been with friends and shopping trips and weekends away, I really like the city’s friendliness and atmosphere. Somewhere I’d love to visit for similar reasons is Canada, as it’s somewhere with a lot of striking natural landscapes where I could do a lot of walking, and it has seasons rather than being hot year-round.

Food when travelling: do you go for the local delicacies, or familiar favourites?

A bit of both! I will probably try something that is bit different, but nothing that sounds too crazy! My favourite cuisine is Chinese, but that being said my guilty travel pleasure is tomato ketchup – I love it with my food even when I’m abroad, I get through bottles of it at home!

What was your worst travel experience? (and… was it worth it?)

When I left school, I worked as a travel agent, and at the tender age of 17 they sent me to Israel. I travelled there alone and it was quite scary, because I was taken off into a room and questioned when I arrived! They also searched through my whole suitcase which was rather unnerving. I don’t think it was worth it for me, because at that young age I didn’t really understand the culture, I didn’t think the trip was my cup of tea, and I just wanted to go home. I didn’t appreciate the experience at the time, in the way that I would do if I visited now.

What was your most unusual travel experience?

This would be one again in Ireland. When I was younger we went there over St Patrick’s Day, and it was amazing. It was in the countryside in Wicklow, they had a massive St Patrick’s Day parade and it was great. It was really different and unusual, a really fun way to experience the country

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Laura Edwards

Tour Coordinator

Laura has worked at Success Tours since 2014. Laura grew up in Derbyshire, and spent some time living in Spain and Ireland before moving to the Somerset countryside where she now lives. She enjoys family life at home with her parents, sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew, and they are also her favourite travel partners.

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What is your most memorable travel experience?

I always go on holiday with my family – for the last ten years, there has been a group of nine of us that go away together – so I have very fond family memories that mean a lot to me, from many amazing places. One trip that was particularly memorable was to Cuba, which we absolutely loved. I was wowed by Havana, and a visit to Club Tropicana – where the drinks really are free! The cabaret show there was the most amazing spectacle – it was like nothing I’d ever seen before.

Have you ever lived abroad? What did it make you appreciate about the UK?

Yes, I lived in Spain for four years – south of Alicante, near the mountains of Murcia. Whilst it was really enjoyable and I loved the sunshine, living in southern Spain definitely made me appreciate having four distinct seasons: sometimes it could get far too hot for me, and the pace of life was either very busy and lively during the tourist season, or completely dead and quiet.

Where is your favourite place in the world?

I really loved Las Vegas, it’s an amazing city. When I was younger, I wanted to be a croupier in a casino; I also love hotels, so Las Vegas was perfect for me. It has one of the world’s best thrill rides: dropping off the side of the Stratosphere Tower on the roller coaster that wraps around the building is amazing! It’s also so beautiful at night, especially from above in a helicopter. The neighbouring Grand Canyon is one of the most mind-blowing sights I’ve ever seen, the scale of it and the colours of the rock are incredible.

Where is top of your holiday wish list, and why?

Top of our family holiday wish list is Jamaica. I’d personally love to go to Sri Lanka, and Thailand, and I’d also really like to do a safari. And Costa Rica. Oh, and actually, Hawaii – I think that should be top of the list… is that enough?!

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Kirsty Holmes

Website & Copywriting Controller

Originally hailing from Lincolnshire, Kirsty fell in love with the honey-coloured stone and Georgian grandeur of Bath in 2002 and has lived in the West Country ever since. When she’s not writing copy or designing flyers for Success Tours, she likes to travel abroad as often as possible, and also loves exploring the UK.

Read more about Kirsty Holmes...

Mountains, desert, ocean or jungle?

Although I love the ocean, I’d probably pick mountains. The joy of the mountains is that you have it all: epic scenery, forests, and if you’re lucky a ‘beach’ by a lake or river. If you go high enough, it’s as bleak and inhospitable as a desert. It’s peaceful & easy to escape the crowds. The mountains in Patagonia are one of my favourite places (so far).

What is your first travel memory?

The first trip abroad that I can remember was when I was 7 years old: a day trip to France, whilst on holiday in Kent. I LOVED it and spent the next couple of weeks wanting to be French when I grew up. I remember being fascinated by people eating mussels, as I’d never seen anything like it – my parents weren’t big on seafood! Nowadays, I love to enjoy moules frites when on the French coast.

What was your most unusual travel experience?

Staying in an ice hotel at the top of a remote mountain in Romania, accessible only by cable car. We slept in igloo-like rooms carved entirely of ice (including the bed), decorated with surreal ice sculptures, and ate from ice tables… when I first arrived and realised how cold it was I wondered if I’d made a terrible mistake, but it turned out to be quite cosy.

What was your worst travel experience? (and… was it worth it?)

Probably becoming sick due to dehydration whilst on a 6-hour overnight coach journey to Cairo… I won’t go into the details. Was it worth it? At the time, all I wanted to do was curl up and go home. But when I finally saw the mighty pyramids at Giza – somewhere that had inspired wonder in me since I was a child – they were incredible and I had no regrets. Lesson learned: drink plenty of water when you’re in the desert.

(A close second would be the time I was persuaded to try skiing… and no, it wasn’t worth it. The small child I accidentally knocked over would probably agree.)

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Success Tours travel diary