The History of Thornton’s Travel

The company was incorporated on the 24th July 1940. It was based in Avonmouth, it’s activities being that of shipping agent for Bristol City, Avonmouth, Cardiff and Newport Docks.

In early 1948 the company started a secondary operation, that of a travel agent. The two operations, operated side by side. By 1958 the travel agency
business surpassed the activities of the shipping agency. From then onwards the travel agency became increasingly dominant and with the demise of Bristol City Docks the shipping activities diminished and were finally wound down in 1968.

In November 1944 the Avonmouth offices moved to Bristol’s Baldwin Street and started its journey to become Bristol’s leading independent travel agent under the stewardship of Reg Taylor, until his retirement in 1979 when Patrick Murphy was appointed as MD having joined the company in 1967.

Under his guise and that of his fellow directors John Stephens, Anne Taylor and Mollie Jones, the company expanded. Offices were then opened in Clevedon, Portishead, Filton, Staple Hill, Old Market, Yatton, Clifton and Bristol Airport.

Thornton’s had many firsts, the first being to operate a charter flight to New York from Bristol (Boeing 707) and the excitement of bringing Concord into Filton, Cardiff and Exeter for the first time, for day trips around the Bay of Biscay and visits to European cities.

In 2000 Patrick became the sole owner of the company and centralised all operations to Head Office in Baldwin Street. At this time the company could see the demise of mass package holidays and decided to open a second standalone cruise office in Bath following the success of the Bristol Cruise office. Chew Valley Travel was added to the company portfolio in 2006.

Patrick sadly passed away in 2011 with his wife Carol continuing as a Director. In Early 2016, following Carol’s decision to retire from the business, Sarah Kelley and Lee Morse acquired a majority shareholding in the business. Sarah and Lee have both held long-standing positions within Thornton’s and are excited to take the company forward.

With over 75 years of bringing the world to you, we pride ourselves on the service given to our clients, it’s the key to our success. As a well-established independent company we are extremely flexible, adapting easily and efficiently to the changing needs of our customers.

The Thornton’s Travel team have a wealth of travel experience and have travelled extensively. We pride ourselves on giving personal and exceptional service at all times, going that extra mile, looking after all your travel needs and special requests. We offer a wide range of travel opportunities from short breaks, tailor-made holidays and lifetime experiences.

In our dedicated specialist cruise department, the current staff have travelled the globe and between them possess over 50 years of experience in the cruise industry.Thornton’s remains uniquely placed to provide you with a wonderful collection of cruises and to organise your holiday of a lifetime.

Our experienced and inspired Business Travel team utilise the latest technology, providing you with a service tailored for your company’s travel policy. We can drive costs down whilst still ensuring your budget is maximised globally. We are proud to be part of the elite Focus Partnership, the country’s largest travel management organisation. Thornton’s Travel ‘Your Local Agent with Global Reach’

In 2017 Thornton’s Travel are excited to relaunch the company’s websites and promoting a bigger and better online presence.

 
 

The Team

The Thornton’s Travel team have a wealth of travel experience and have travelled extensively. We pride ourselves on giving personal and exceptional service at all times, going that extra mile, looking after all your travel needs and special requests. We offer a wide range of travel opportunities from short breaks, tailor-made holidays and lifetime experiences.

In our dedicated specialist cruise department, the current staff have travelled the globe and between them possess over 50 years of experience in the cruise industry.Thornton’s remains uniquely placed to provide you with a wonderful collection of cruises and to organise your holiday of a lifetime.

Our experienced and inspired Business Travel team utilise the latest technology, providing you with a service tailored for your company’s travel policy. We can drive costs down whilst still ensuring your budget is maximised globally. We are proud to be part of the elite Focus Partnership, the country’s largest travel management organisation. Thornton’s Travel ‘Your Local Agent with Global Reach’

Caroline
North

Manager
carolinen-1

Gin
Ford

Chew Valley Manager
gin

Rachel
Wichard

Travel Expert
RACHAEL-IBIZA

Julie
Burchill

Senior Travel Expert
Julie

Dawn
Wilson

Cruise Expert
Thorntons-Cruise-World-team-dawn

Julie
Collings

Cruise Expert
Thorntons-Cruise-World-team-julie

Sarah
Kelley

Director
sarah-kelley

Katie
Sweet

Business Travel Expert
katie-sweet

Jess
Cooper-Key

Team Leader
jess

Alison
Mears

Business Travel Expert
alison-mears

Paul
Henshall

Business Travel Executive
Paul

Jeni
Easterbrook

Business Travel Expert
jeni-easterbrook

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Hi, I'm Caroline

I have worked in travel for over 21 years starting my career with Lunn Poly.

The travel industry has changed over the years but it still continues to excite me and educate me (every day is a school day).

I love working for an independent travel agent where I can really tailor each enquiry to what best suits our client’s needs and offer a personalised service.

My favourite places to visit would have to be the Caribbean, over the years I’ve been to 7 different islands, Grenada being one of my favourites.

I still have a lot of travelling and adventures to do but if I won the lottery I would definitely travel to Antarctica.  I would then have to warm up so next on my list would have to Namibia

Hi, I'm Gin

Having starting in the travel industry in 1969, gosh a long time ago, in Bristol there was only 4 travel agents………
I have worked for Thornton’s Travel for the last 27 years opening the Nailsea branch and also working in Long Ashton and then Chew Magna.
I have travelled extensively over my working life.
My Favorite destinations are the Maldives, the middle east, South Africa, Namibia and Caribbean especially the island of Mystique and Grenada, USA and of course all over Europe Italy being my favorite.
I have cruised with many cruise companies my favorite to date is Silversea.

I have been very fortunate within the industry to of visited so many lovely places.
 I specialize in putting itineraries together and finding you exactly what you are looking for.
Your dream wedding or special honeymoon
I can also arrange for that special fishing holiday, as I have fished in many places all over the world.
I look forward to arranging that special memory……

Hi, I'm Rachael

I have worked in travel for over 13 years, I originally started working for Thornton’s Travel back in 1997 and loved it so much I returned a few years later after spending more time with my young family.

Working  for an independent family owned company  has to be one of the best jobs, I love that we have the  freedom to  offer such a  wide range of products and everyday I learn something new about the world.

I have been lucky enough to travel to many destinations all over Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico and America.  My favourite place has got to be Sri Lanka for its friendly people, diverse culture and the wildlife, I would not hesitate to return.

If  I won the lottery my dream destination would have to be Bora Bora, I love nothing more than to get away from it all and  relax  in the sun  !

Hi, I'm Julie

I joined Thornton’s Travel Service in June 1983 on the first ABTA YTS and have remained with the company ever since.  I am now the longest serving member of staff, which I am very proud of.

I enjoy spending time with family and friends and travelling, and have visited places from Australia, Borneo, and Florida to the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean.

Hi, I'm Dawn

I joined Thornton’s after working in the duty free shop onboard an Airtour’s cruise ship, the Carousel, where I spent a season cruising around both the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.

I have now been with us for 16 years as a cruise consultant.  During this time I have cruised with Crystal, Cunard, P&O, Fred Olsen, Princess, Tauck and Hurtigruten, experiencing the Baltic, Norway, Caribbean, Transatlantic, Western and Eastern Mediterranean and Western Europe. My favourite cruise line is Crystal Cruises and my best experience was seeing the Northern lights with Hurtigruten whilst dog sledging.  

Travelled recently to:
Corfu, Italy, Amsterdam, Spain

Future travels:
Far East

Favourite destination:
Greek Islands

Favourite Cruise Ship:
Crystal Symphony

Travel wish list:
Far East

Hi, I'm Sarah

I always wanted to work in travel and left school as a Y.T.S to work as a cruise agent for Cunard Crusader Travel in Bristol, leaving two years later to work for Thornton’s. I have been with the company now for 28 years, working in Leisure, Business Travel & then becoming a Director of the company in 2016.

I love the ever changing face of travel, we really do learn something new every day, it’s definitely never boring. We have built some fantastic relationships with our clients and it’s great to support them with their travel.

I have travelled extensively and been lucky enough to stay in some amazing properties around the world. I also back packed for two years travelling to Canada, Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand & Vietnam. My favourite holiday ever was to the South Pacific, Tahiti and Moorea, it was beautiful, we had an overwater bungalow in Moorea and I could dive from the balcony in the morning straight into the ocean!

Hi, I'm Jess

My career in the Travel Industry started a little over 20 years ago now, on the eve of the new millennium! Back in those days I was a shy, untravelled, spring chicken – how times have changed!

My job has given me the opportunity to travel the world and gain knowledge and experience I will forever be grateful for! Some of my favourite highlights from trips so far would have to be experiencing the beauty of the Iguazu Falls in South America to salsa dancing in a Sydney harbour bar after sampling a few fine vintage Australian wines, absolutely bonzer!

In corporate travel, I enjoy working closely with my clients putting together itineraries to help make the booking process as smooth and enjoyable as possible. In an ever changing competitive industry, that personal touch and first hand help if you need urgent assistance is always worth its’ weight in gold! Here’s to the next 20 years!

Hi, I'm Jeni

I have worked in Business Travel for 20 years since the tender age of 17. My personal love for Travel has kept me motivated and passionate in the ever changing market that is travel.

I enjoy the challenges that Corporate Travel brings, finding clients the best possible itineraries to meet their individual needs. Every day is different and I never know what new destinations will derive.I have been fortunate enough to travel widely and even lived in Dubai for a year. I am always chasing the next big trip.

One of my favourite places that I have visited is Aruba in the Caribbean where I honeymooned. One of the ABC islands to be situated outside of the hurricane belt with consistently fine weather.

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