Meet the Team

At Ashdown Travel your holiday experience starts as soon as you contact us. Our expert team of advisors are waiting to look after you, discuss your travel requirements and put together the best holiday to suit your needs in every way.

We have been successfully trading in Oxted, Surrey, since 1985 which makes us one of the most established agencies in the area. We are a very experienced team with over 230 years of travel industry experience between us! For your financial security and peace of mind we are members of ABTA (29348), IATA (91293565) & hold an ATOL licence (10499).

We are all genuinely passionate about travel and we all have travelled extensively. We love to share our experiences with you, and have first-hand knowledge of many destinations and hotels. We are totally independent which means that we are free to use which ever supplier we think is best for you in order to offer you complete flexibility. Our breadth of knowledge means we can organise pretty much anything you would like from a weekend away to a round the world adventure, amazing wildlife experiences, romantic honeymoons or even your overseas wedding, ski-trips, family holidays & Spa retreats…

Situated in Station Road East in the centre of Oxted, we are open 6 days a week Monday – Friday 09.30 – 17.30 and 09.30 – 15.00 on Saturdays. We are closed on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Outside these times we have a 24 hour emergency line available to existing clients outside of these times which is manned by a senior member of our team.

Most of the time an appointment is not required however should you wish to come in at a specific time and date then please contact us and we will be delighted to make one for you.

Nick Samuels

Managing Director

Having started my Travel career in a small Travel Agency in Worthing, I got the opportunity to go and fulfil a dream of working in a ski resort which I did for 2 seasons. I have skied from a very early age virtually throughout the whole of Europe but also in California as well and still manage to get a long weekend in every year.

Returning to the UK I re-joined the retail industry working for a large agency eventually running many different shops in the Sussex area before I joined Ashdown Travel in 1997. With the exception of a short break where I ran a prestigious London Travel Agent in Chelsea I have remained here and am now a shareholder and director.

The industry has allowed me to travel most of the world and I have extensive knowledge of the Caribbean and Indian Ocean as well as having travelled to Australia on numerous occasions. Throughout my time in the industry I have made many valuable contacts that ensure our clients receive the best available rooms and added extras.

Favourite Destinations

Naming my favourite hotel is difficult but some of the following have a special allure, Royal Palm in Mauritius, Four Seasons Kuda Huraa in the Maldives, Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island in Australia, Spice Island Resort in Grenada and to satisfy my skiing passions the newly opened L’Apogee in Courchevel 1850 is truly outstanding!

James Metcalf

Business Travel Manager

After graduating from school in Japan, where I spent most of my childhood, I came back to the UK and trained with British Airways in the travel sector.  After my time at BA I joined an Independent travel agency in Putney that specialized in travel for Medical professionals.    

In 2002 I joined the friendly and committed team at Ashdown Travel.  Working in the corporate department we have a variety of local and UK wide travel accounts, including some of my previous clients in the Medical profession.

Having had the privilege of travelling extensively throughout my career, this has been an invaluable asset to knowing destinations, and products.   Also what I have found invaluable is times like the Ash Cloud in 2010.   Though incredibly demanding, this helped solidify relationships with our clients, as we endeavoured to repatriate or get them to their final destination, by any means available.

What I find especially rewarding is being able to piece together a complex multi sector itinerary that fits within the parameters of our client’s schedule.  Recently  I put together a business trip that included Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam,  Yantai & Qingdao in China, and then onto Kuala Namu in Indonesia.

Michelle Warner

Accounts Manager

My career started in the public sector during which time I carried out my accountancy training.

Over a period of thirteen years, I worked in accounts roles for three large government departments; my last role in the Civil Service was preparing accounts for the National Lottery Distribution Fund.   

When my son was born I wanted to work closer to home and to work within the private sector, so I said goodbye to my London commute and left the Civil Service.  Since then I’ve enjoyed seeing how independent businesses run and have worked for a range of local successful businesses in the areas of cleaning, manufacturing (including steel construction, and toy manufacturing), and now I’m happy to be working in the best industry of all, the travel industry. 

I love hearing of fabulous holidays and new places to go; I just wished I loved flying as much!

  I’ve worked for Ashdown Travel for nearly a year now, I love my job and couldn’t work with a nicer group of people.

Sue Mercer

Sales Consultant

My career in Travel has spanned over 40 years and has included working for a Midland based European Tour Operator and after a few years at home following the birth of my two children, I spent the next 20 years managing branches of a large Retail Travel Agent.

During this time I visited many European and worldwide countries, my favourite being Italy where I have enjoyed the Lakes, the countryside and the cities. Driving down from the UK proved to be a truly wonderful experience; the scenery is fabulous passing through small villages and enjoying the local cuisine on the way.

A short spell at a cruising specialist gave me a real opportunity to learn about both ocean cruising and river cruising which has been of great value to me recently and given me the position of cruising specialist within the shop. Prior to working for Ashdown Travel I was the Weddings Manager for a Tour Operator and organised weddings for both group wedding parties and “ just the bride and groom” in faraway destinations.   

I have been with Ashdown Travel since 2010 where I have had the opportunity to use my experience and have organised a group beach wedding in Thailand, a hilltop family wedding in Umbria, Italy and an intimate (just the two of us) marriage on the Greek Island of Mykonos. 

I have travelled many Caribbean islands, Cuba, Mauritius, Seychelles, Egypt, India and Dubai; I have also taken holidays to Florida, California, Canada and most of Europe.

Favourite Destinations

The Caribbean is where my current love lies; we holiday in Jamaica every spring at Couples Swept Away, an adult only Colonial style Hotel set on 7 miles of a beautiful white sand beach. The Hotel has a repeat guest ratio of over 30% which probably says it all, I have been there 12 times, and I can honestly say it is home from home!

Anne Knight

Sales Consultant

Travelling to new places has always been a fascination for me, and ever since I can remember, whenever time and budget permits, I go!  Perhaps it was the summers spent exploring France as a child, or maybe the hours spent daydreaming as I watched the planes out of the window – either way, it was perhaps inevitable that I landed up working in travel.

I have worked for over 25 years in the industry – everything from Campsite Courier to Passenger Service Agent at Gatwick to Reservations Manager for a villa specialist. But the attraction of being able to tailor bespoke holidays worldwide for clients, led me in 1998 to the world of independent retail, and I’ve never looked back.  I joined the team here at Ashdown in 2005 and happily, I still get great pleasure in creating the ideal itinerary for a client.

Favourite Destinations

My career to date has enabled me to visit many places, but in particular I love islands! From small Caribbean hideaways like Anguilla and St Barth’s to the simplicity of the Greek Ionian Islands; the colonial charms of Bermuda; mighty Australia and the diverse Indian Ocean Islands of the Seychelles, Maldives and Mauritius, they all have their own unique appeal.

In recent years, Orlando has been great fun for family holidays, and I do consider myself to be an expert on the thrills that this part of Florida can offer! But South Africa and Canada remain two of my favourite destinations simply because of their diversity. From stunning scenery and outstanding wildlife encounters to cosmopolitan cities and fabulous dining, you can have a multitude of experiences in just one trip. A family holiday in 2012 began in Cape Town, and we then toured the Garden Route finishing with an Eastern Cape safari. It was one of those magical times where the contrasting experiences just kept getting better and better, and like us, our son, then aged 9, is still inspired today by the memories. The dramatic views from Table Mountain; the beachwalk, township tour and glorious sunsets from Grootbos; riding an Ostrich in Oudtshoorn; hiring bikes for the day at Fancourt near George; the scenic coastal drive from George to Plettenberg Bay; the tranquillity at Kurland culminating perfectly with our safari at Hlosi Lodge on Amakhala Game Reserve. None of us will forget watching a family of endearing warthogs play around the watering hole nor the two bull elephants nonchalantly eating the grass outside our lodge as dusk fell on our second evening. And throughout the trip the warmth and friendliness of the people put us at our ease, and the food and wine were always memorable. I have no doubt we will be back!

Jo Wolfe

Sales Consultant

I have been lucky to have travelled to some amazing places during my time in the travel industry.

Having started my career at British Airways Holidays where I stayed for 2 years working in telephone sales, I joined Ashdown Travel where I have been for the past 18 years!!

Over the years I have travelled to Australia, Bangkok to Singapore on the Eastern Orient Express, St Lucia, Grenadines, Barbados, Oman, Mauritius, Spain, Italy including Rome, Venice, Florence, Siena & Sicily, plus many more!

Favourite Destinations

I love to chill out and relax on holiday (which is a bit difficult with 2 children), however my favourite place has to be Palm Island in the Grenadines. My husband and I went there for our honeymoon in 2007 and I was lucky enough to return there a few years ago and it was just as stunning as I remembered it to be! Palm Island is an all-inclusive private island where you can just chill out and do nothing or there are land and water based activities, plus boat excursions for those who want to do a bit more! The beaches are stunning with clear blue waters. An ideal holiday location!

I also love Italy with Rome and Sicily being some of my favourite places closer to home. I have been to Rome 3 times now both on work trips and holiday. It’s a fantastic city full of culture with plenty of sights to visit & once you’ve exhausted yourself with all of that, just relax in a local café or restaurant and watch the world go by. I have a bit of a soft spot for Sicily! Many years ago we met some Sicilians in London & 20+ years later I am still very good friends with them. I spent many holidays there before and after having my children. Taormina is beautiful with stunning views from the top & plenty of restaurants & shops (including the most amazing ice cream shops) to while away the hours!

© Ashdown Travel 2021