Our heritage

“I first started offering villa holidays in 1978 with my Greek wife Yianna. Inspired by the idea of sharing the kind of authentic travel experiences we enjoyed ourselves, we set up Simply Crete.

Back then, this unspoilt island was on the ‘road less travelled’ in the most literal sense. Today some of our villas and Simpson Hotels are quietly secluded, while others sit near the finest beaches or cultural gems in Europe and certainly no longer off the beaten track. However, our approach remains unchanged. To us, the road less travelled is about going the extra mile where others might take shortcuts, focusing on those all-important details that transform an experience from good to great.

Four and a half decades after the creation of Simply Crete, we have received many awards and upgraded our collection to a quality that was simply unheard of back in the 1970's, when villas with pools were largely the preserve of royalty and film-stars! We've also weathered many storms, from pandemics to political uncertainties, and I am immensely grateful for the resilience of our staff and the loyalty of our guests who have sustained us throughout all the ups and downs.

Yianna and I spend more time in Greece these days, with our children at the helm in the London office, but regardless of location we remain committed to offering the kind of holidays we like to take ourselves. I'm very proud of the fact that Simpson Travel remains so true to our original values; here's to the future!"

Graham Simpson


" The holiday, accommodation, location and rep all exceeded our expectations. Thanks to everyone involved at Simpson Travel. We first holidayed with you in 1984 as Simply Travel and had many excellent holidays over the years. As Simpson Travel we experienced the same high quality and excellent service."

Jane Samways – Rhodia Beach Villa, September 2022


Timeline... 1978   1999   2002   2008   2010   2012   2014   2015   2016   2017    2018    2019    2020    2021    2022



As a favour to his Cretan brother-in-law, Graham Simpson and his wife Yianna start renting out a number of villas in Crete, which leads to the creation of Simply Travel. In 21 years, 80 customers grows to 40,000.


Thomson Holidays buys Simply Travel and Graham begins a ten-year sabbatical, supporting an orphanage in Tanzania, backpacking around the Southern Hemisphere and becoming Chairman of Watford Football Club.


Simpson Travel is born after several members of Graham’s Simply Travel team approach him to set it up. It recreates the personalised service of his former company and introduces the idea of 'the road less travelled', to represent a willingness to go the extra mile for our guests. Graham remains as the Chair of Watford FC for another seven years.


Graham becomes the Managing Director of Simpson Travel and takes an active role in the business, supported by his two sons, Mat and Dan, who joined the company in 2004. His daughter, Hannah, follows on a part-time basis in 2011, along with husband Kirk in 2012. With Yianna continuing her invaluable involvement in the intricacies of Greek contracting, the family business goes from strength to strength. 


The first Simpson Hotel launches, offering personalised service, comfortable beds, delicious home-cooked breakfasts and inspirational sea views across Turkey's Turquoise Coast. Simpson Secrets, chosen specifically for the more adventurous, independent traveller, and the luxurious Simpson Exclusive Collection launch in the same year.


We win The Guardian & Observer Travel Awards for Best Online Booking Service and come second in the Best Small Tour Operator category. Included in Condé Nast Traveller’s World’s Top 100 list. Other awards follow.


We open our creche and children's club at Mousses Villas. Our ongoing partnership with the charity Together for Short Live begins, with £1 donated for every Customer Service Questionnaire completed to help terminally-ill children and their families.


We acquire Cottages to Castles, the Italian holiday specialists, and France experts Dominique’s Villas – both family-run businesses like our own. In December, the company moves from Mortlake to new offices within the Bank of England Sports Ground in Barnes, home to the Wimbledon and Junior Wimbledon qualifying matches.


The France programme launches. Simpson Travel is listed in the London Stock Exchange’s 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain, and Graham, soon to take up a new role as Simpson Travel's Chairman, wins Silver Travel Advisor's Exceptional Achievement Award.


We begin our programme in Italy, opening with Tuscany and Umbria, then expanding into Puglia in preparation for summer 2018. As the company grows, we keep an obsessively close eye on service, and are rewarded with a Silver Award for Best Holiday Company to East & Southeast Europe at the British Travel Awards 2017. At the end of a busy year, we launch our new website.


A big year for our Founder Graham Simpson, celebrating 40 years in the travel industry. The occasion is marked with a three-generation Simpson family holiday to Kalkan in Turkey, and a party in our London office. Further cause for celebration came from being named Best Villa Operator at The Telegraph Travel Awards and winning our second Silver Travel Advisor Award, taking runner-up position in the Best Villa Holiday Company category.


Following the acquisition of Alternative Escapes, 2019 saw the expansion of Simpson Travel's French portfolio with the introduction of a superb range of family-sized properties along the glorious Aquitaine Coast. And another award-winning year saw us named Best Family Travel Company at the 2019 Baby Awards.


The exquisite French island of Ile de Ré joined the portfolio and 2020 looked set to be our best year yet until the horror of the Coronavirus pandemic struck in early Spring. As we began the process of deferring cancelled holidays and issuing refunds, we launched Simpson Safe, a programme designed to keep our clients informed and reassured once travel resumed. Despite the challenges we faced, we were proud to retain our reputation for five-star service both at home and abroad.


Despite the ongoing and ever-changing pandemic restrictions, we were delighted to help many people enjoy a wonderful (albeit rather different) summer holiday, and to feature in the Top 10 Villa Rental Companies in the Conde Nast Readers’ Choice awards. In June we launched our Shareholder offer, giving guests the opportunity to invest in Simpson Travel. The response was overwhelming, raising £1.6M and securing an even more solid future for the business.


Travel was fully back at last and we were ready for it! Summer 2022 brought in a huge volume of questionnaires from guests eager to tell us about their long-awaited post-Covid holiday, so we were particularly delighted to retain an impressive 4.9 score on Trustpilot, as well as featuring once again in the Conde Nast Top 10 Villa Rental Companies world wide. As in-person events returned, we welcomed our Loyalty Club members once more to a Champagne afternoon tea reception in London for a personal thank you from Graham Simpson.


After a successful career spanning over four decades in travel, Graham steps down as Chairman to focus on new, locally-focused projects in his beloved Crete, where he now lives with his wife Yianna. Simpson Travel remains very much a family concern however, with children Mathew, Daniel and Hannah continuing in their senior management roles. Former Operations Director Ed Pyke, who already has 20 years of travel and hospitality experience, steps up to the role of Managing Director, supported by Paul Carter as Chairman. Substantial new investment has also been secured this year to ensure the company can continue to thrive in the digital world, whilst maintaining its commitment to personal service.