Our Story

Since launching in 2010 Holiday Architects has set out to really listen to our clients – we get to know you, we get to know your travel needs and we design the perfect holiday to match. By operating in this manner, and avoiding the standard off-the-shelf packages offered by many other travel companies, we’ve become one of the fastest-growing and most-trusted tour operators in the UK. Underpinning all of this is the expertise of our team: each committed to servicing their specialist destination, backed up with a dedicated country website packed full of unique hotels, quirky excursions and engaging holiday suggestions. Every one of our team has visited their destination many times (often even lived there), has many years’ experience in the travel industry and is carefully chosen to fit with our friendly and helpful team culture. This means when discussing your travel plans, you’ll have the peace of mind that you’re not only speaking to a genuine expert but a real person who cares about you and your holiday.

We believe we are better than anyone else at listening to your travel aspirations and turning them into perfectly designed holidays, but of course that is not always easy to substantiate, which is why we were extremely proud in 2019 to be named Wanderlust magazine’s ‘Top Tour Operator of the Year’, for the second year running, gaining a 100% satisfaction rating from their readers. Competition at these awards is fierce, so winning brings us a great deal of pleasure and pride as it means we have lots of very happy clients!

Don’t just take our word for it though; you can read more about our clients’ experience of Holiday Architects by visiting our Trustpilot page found here.

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Covid-19 & Travel

It’s undeniable that the travel industry was hit incredibly hard by Covid-19. But, we’re a resilient bunch and are so excited to be back doing what we do best – designing tailor-made holidays for you, our wonderful clients. As we navigate this new normal, we understand that planning a holiday may raise more questions and worries than it has done in the past. And that’s why we’re here and arguably more valuable than ever before. When you pick up the phone and book a holiday with us, you book with the confidence of knowing a real live human is on the end of the phone at all times, ready to help answer any questions or solve any problems that may arise.

To find out more, visit our Travel with Confidence hub here.

 

Tailor-Made Travel

Tailor-made travel starts with a blank sheet of paper and a conversation with one of our experts, and finishes with a holiday that’s been designed specifically for you. Nothing is set, nothing is off-the-peg, or off limits. You depart when you want, see what you want, stay where you want (guided by the advice and first-hand knowledge of our specialists during the design process). It used to be that tailor-made travel was a relatively expensive way to go on holiday, but this isn’t the case anymore: and we’ll make sure we stick to whatever budget you give us for the trip.

How We Work

Everything we do is designed specifically for you, and that design process starts with an initial conversation. We like to have that conversation to get to know you and understand the key things you want to get out of the holiday and we find the best way to do that is a friendly chat over the phone (or email if you prefer), where we take the time to really listen to what it is you want from your trip. We’ve travelled to our specialist destination many times, so we’ll also provide plenty of inspiration and ideas that we feel may best suit you. It’s because of our knowledge and experience that we are also able to offer honest advice about a destination, as we’ve most likely stayed in that certain hotel or gone on a particular quirky excursion ourselves; this will ensure you are able to make the right choices for your trip.

Next, your dedicated specialist will carefully design you an itinerary, with a price, and send that to you within 48hrs. This is very much a first draft and we can revise as necessary until we’ve got it exactly right for you. This is where we differ from our competitors as you’re not just going to get a standard itinerary, but something which is designed to your requirements with care. We take huge pride in our clients having the best possible holiday. Upon booking, you can rest easy, as your money is 100% protected either by our ATOL bonding or through our Trust My Travel membership. Things don’t end there though, as our dedicated team is here on the phone and on the ground; to provide you with great service and peace of mind throughout your trip, so you can focus on your next discovery.

The Team

Kirsty has been travelling to Africa since 1993 when she embarked on an overland trip from Zimbabwe to Kenya.  Since then she has returned on numerous occasions exploring Southern Africa from the Cape to the Skeleton Coast. Fortunate to have many friends in the region and with family now living just outside the Kruger National Park, she has plenty of  reasons to regularly visit this incredible part of the world.  20 years of exploring has not lessened her enthusiasm for Africa’s amazing scenery, wonderful people and fascinating culture. These days she is travelling with her young family but it is just as appealing as ever.

Catherine’s first introduction to Africa was to Zambia, back in 2000 where she fell in love with the country’s beauty, culture and wildlife, resulting in her returning to the continent multiple times, including embarking on a 6-week overland trip from Rwanda & Uganda through to Zimbabwe. South Africa has been a frequent destination for Catherine, with trips involving a self-drive adventure from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth with a week-long Kruger Safari and more recently a honeymoon around the KwaZulu-Natal. From city life to safaris and wine tasting to outdoor activities, South Africa is the perfect destination for everyone.

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Lisa’s love for African landscapes started at the age of 8 when she did her first big 6-week Botswana safari, and she has been drawn back to the wildlife, people and culture of Southern Africa ever since. Annual trips to the Kruger National Park and to the Chobe National Park developed her lifelong obsession with owls, and her husband’s obsession with mountain passes has meant many happy road trips through South Africa’s spectacular scenery year round. With parents that have also lived in Botswana, Namibia and Kenya, Lisa has been fortunate to have had amazing travel experiences including diving in Sodwana, tiger fishing on the Zambezi River and hot air ballooning over the Masai Mara. Her absolute favourite place to visit is the Kruger National Park, and her favourite sundowner destination is Camps Bay in Cape Town for the spectacular views. Lisa has recently moved to the UK, and she brings her passion and first-hand knowledge of South Africa and all it has to offer to Holiday Architects.

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Jane was born in South Africa to British parents and spent 34 amazing years there before moving to the UK. Growing up in South Africa meant many an adventure, hiking in the beautiful Drakensberg mountains, road trips to the Cape and annual family holidays to the Kruger National Park. This instilled a love for wildlife and birdwatching and lead to Jane perusing her dream job of living and working in the bush – managing safari lodges in the Greater Kruger and Madikwe Game Reserve. Although lucky enough to have travelled to more than 25 countries around the world, her love and passion for all things Africa means she’s happiest speaking about the incredible natural beauty of South Africa and the wonderfully diverse and welcoming people of the Rainbow Nation. With its dramatic scenery, spectacular Cape Winelands, adventure activities and fabulous safaris – Jane has first-hand knowledge to tailor your perfect holiday. When not in Africa – Jane is happy walking and birdwatching in the lovely Norfolk countryside.

 

Behind the scenes Kirsty, Catherine, Lisa and Jane are (ably?) assisted by the two company founders, Damien and Andrew. Both of them had an expat upbringing in the dim and distant past, so it’s almost inevitable they’ve ended up establishing a travel company. Damien is heavily involved in the marketing side of the business, whilst Andrew takes care of day-to-day things, like making the coffee.