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Baldwins Travel Group. The history of Kent and Sussex’s award-winning travel agent

Baldwins Travel has been established for over 120 years, and has grown to become the largest independent, family-owned travel agent in Kent and Sussex. It’s always been family owned, first by the Baldwins family, and then by the Botting family, and was bought by Ron and Sally Marks in 1991.

Now run by Chairman, Ron Marks, wife Sally, and sons Nick and Chris as Joint Managing Directors, we have eight high street travel agents, in Tunbridge Wells, Cranbrook, Lewes, Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Tenterden, Tonbridge and Uckfield, all recently given a fresh new look.

As a member of the The Advantage Travel Partnership, the UK’s largest independent travel agency partnership, we benefit from the shared buying power of over 350 members, allowing us to retain the exemplary levels of personal service that our customers love, whilst offering competitive prices across a wide range of travel options.

The picture on the right is an early depiction of the Baldwins Travel office and the Head Office stands on the same site on Grosvenor Road in Tunbridge Wells to this day. There are still traces of the original fittings in the extensive cellars. Below, we give a plotted history of how Baldwins Travel has evolved to the business you can see today.

Timeline

Circa 1895

Alfred K Baldwin is a well-established printer, bookbinder and publisher in Tunbridge Wells. Son Charles takes over and renames the firm Baldwins. Baldwins begins selling railway tickets and helping friends to travel to Europe and beyond. News spreads and the former printers slowly build a strong side-line in travel at the back of the Baldwins Stationery shop at 27 Grosvenor Road. Our Head Office and Tunbridge Wells branch are still based there.

1952

Tom Botting, a long-standing Baldwins’ employee, buys Baldwins Printers and Travel agents from third-generation Herbert Baldwin and sets about growing Baldwins Travel Agency.

1991

Ron Marks acquires Baldwins Travel, now with three offices in Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone and Tonbridge.

2003

Baldwins Travel Agency Ltd acquires Sevenoaks Travel Ltd in Dorset Street, Sevenoaks.

2010

Red Box Travel in Uckfield becomes part of the Baldwins Travel Agency group.

2013

Baldwins Travel acquires highly regarded local competitor Travelux Tenterden, following owner Ian Hopley’s decision to retire. Baldwins Travel decides to retain the name Travelux Tenterden.

With six branches and a successful Business Travel department in the Baldwins Travel Group, a new marketing team is created to support the company’s growth

Ron Marks is a former Chair of The Advantage Travel Partnership. His 50-plus years in travel are recognised with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Travel Industry’. He pays tribute to our “fantastic, highly experienced team…offering a high level of personal service.”

2015

Grace Travel Cranbrook becomes part of Baldwins Travel, adopting the name Baldwins Travel - Cranbrook 12 months later. Ron Marks promotes his sons Nick and Chris to Joint Managing Directors, himself becoming Chairman of Baldwins Travel Group.

2016

Lewes Travel joins Baldwins Travel group, and with a new team and modernised branch immediately rebrands as Baldwins Travel – Lewes. All our branches now include a Foreign Exchange bureau, a highly popular service due to our competitive rates and excellent service.

2018

Sevenoaks Travel and Travelux Tenterden are renamed Baldwins Travel, as part of a brand update bringing a fresh new look to all our branches. All branches receive new signage and fascias to take them through to the next era of Baldwins Travel.

2019 

Baldwins Travel wins Travel Agent of the Year for London and the South East for the 12th consecutive year. This unbroken stretch of travel industry recognition is further reflected in winning National High Street Agency of the Year 2019, for the fourth time since 2014.