Jonathan Welch pays a visit to Southampton-based Angela Coaches and Angela Holidays in the company’s 70th anniversary year
The smartly presented coaches of Angela Holidays will be familiar to many, especially along the south coast. The Southampton-based family business has been in operation for 70 years, but can trace its history on the site it occupies today back right through to the 1940s. Current Managing Director of Angela Coaches Robert Pressley is the grandson of founder John Pressley, whilst sister Paula holds the same role in the Angela Holidays side of the business.
My visit to the company’s premises in Southampton for a chat with Robert and Paula about the company’s long history, it’s often unusual vehicle choices, and how it has survived and rebuilt from the pandemic was prompted by the delivery of a new Irizar i8. Before arriving at the office, I stopped off to see the new coach, which was being used to promote the company’s 2024 holiday programme in Fareham’s main shopping street, along with colleagues Mark and Maria who welcomed me aboard for a look around.
Mark, who joined the industry after leaving the military, will be the coach’s regular driver, and was already impressed with it. “My stepdad was a coach driver,” he explained, “but I never thought I would be. I have a passion for driving and like to meet people and travel.
“The new coach is fantastic, even though it’s still bedding in. It was quite a surprise when I found out I was getting a new coach. My previous coach was a 44-seat VDL, which was seven years old. I’m looking forward to trips to the Christmas markets in Bruges, and then I’m doing a six-day trip to Germany over Christmas. My partner’s coming with me. It’s great to be able to travel so much, especially in this new coach, but there’s so much to see in the UK too. Lots of drivers like to go to Europe but don’t see enough of the UK.[…]
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