Interview with Louise of Experience Cornwall Tours
The role tour guides have in promoting a positive image of a place is often overlooked, but is an important and valuable addition to the tourism sector. It is a responsible position to be in as they have a role in providing a positive overall impression of the destination they are showing; a less than positive tour could affect people’s perceptions of a place and the people.
Louise is a lucky woman in our opinion, as she has made a career out of showing off Cornwall. Having lived here for most of her life she certainly knows the area well and you couldn’t be in safer and more experienced hands.
Having had a career in Travel and tourism for the past 20 years, Louise puts her invaluable experience gained over the years to great use in her range of exceptional day and 5 day deluxe tours. Louise is an experienced guide and has been navigating visitors through Cornwall delights for the past 15 years. Louise gets to show clients the very best of the Cornwall’s hidden gems. Over the last 15 years, Louise has played the role of tour guide to all her visiting friends and family. She is now coming into her second season of doing it professionally and can’t wait to show more visitors the true Cornish experience.
Clients can look forward to a unique and fully tailored experience; where they are taken off the beaten tourist trail and introduced to some of Cornwall’s splendid secrets. Clients will get a better connection, understanding and experience of Cornwall with a personal tour.
Hi Louise, Firstly, thank you for taking the time to chat with us and we are interested to learn a little more about you and your role as a tour guide here in Cornwall. So, let’s dive straight in then?
What exactly is a tour guide?
"In my opinion, a tour guide is a person who enhances the experience of visiting a new place. By sharing local knowledge and insight, bringing a place to life. A tour guide should be passionate about their destination, whether that is a place or an attraction. They should provide interesting facts and save time by missing out the not so interesting parts! They should make you feel at ease and give guests a real locals insight and understanding of the area they are visiting."
How long have you been a tour guide?
"I am now coming into my second year of being a tour guide professionally."
"After years of playing local tour guide to visiting friends and family, a dream to own my own guided tour business was brewing. Encouraged by great feedback, I started to explore the idea further, before taking the leap of faith back in 2019."
"Little did I know that we would be subject to a global pandemic. But despite the challenges, we gained good bookings in the peak months last year and with a staycation on most people’s agenda for 2021, we are looking set for a busy season."
What made you get into this field of work?
"I have lived in Cornwall since I was 5 years old, after my parents relocated from Buckinghamshire. I fell in love with Cornwall as a child, attending the local Surf Life Saving Club and eventually becoming a beach lifeguard for the RNLI on Perranporth beach. I have always been adventurous, and love exploring new places and experiencing new things."
"When I finished my studies at Falmouth Marine School, completing a National Diploma in tourism and marine leisure management, I naturally fell into the fabulous world of hospitality, as I found I was naturally good at engaging with people. Over the last 20 years, I have managed numerous restaurants, bars and hotels, and worked for different travel agencies all over the county, before taking a career change, moving into sales."
"In 2019 I was made redundant from a sales role, and I decided it was time to embark on ‘the’ dream, to bring my love of Cornwall, people and exploring to life and Experience Cornwall Tours was created. "
What do you like most about your job?
"The diversity of people and the smiles on their faces at the end of the day."
"I really am passionate about my county and want to make my guests fall in love with it too. I love to show off Cornwall, its hidden gems and secret spots, which I have been lucky enough to explore while growing up down here."
"I genuinely want to give people something different. Not just a scenic tour of popular destinations, but a real experience into Cornwall’s culture, history, heritage, wonderful produce, and it’s hospitality."
"As you said, I feel lucky to say my job is visiting the most beautiful and fascinating places in Cornwall. Meeting some great people is just another added bonus."
What are the benefits of hiring a tour guide?
"There are many benefits of hiring a knowledgeable, local guide."
"We have done all the research for you, so you save time on wondering where to visit. We will provide you with inside knowledge, which will enhance your experience."
"We do all the driving, we have experience in driving Cornwall’s narrow lanes making it a safe experience, as they can be quite tricky to navigate. This in turn, means no designated driver! You are on holiday after all, and there are plenty of award-winning beverages to enjoy with your lunch. We also make great suggestions on where to get lunch or who makes the best pasty, so more time saves from trolling through Trip Advisor."
"Drawing on a local guides knowledge means you get to see the best places at the right time. For instance, if you want to visit St Ives (an exceedingly popular tourist destination) we make sure it is the first place on the day’s itinerary, as parking is limited. You could have driven all the way there, only to find you cannot park and you have now waisted hours of your day. This can be said for many attractions in high season (July & August)."
"And with a local guide, you will discover unique places that you might have otherwise missed."
Is there a maximum number for your group tours?
"Our VW bus (the vehicle of choice for many locals) can take up to 8 persons, but we offer solo trips also."
What can people expect from a personal tour with you?
"A true, personalised experience."
"When I visit a new destination, I want to really feel the place, meet its people, submerge in their culture, and try their cuisine, so this is what I offer our guests on all our tours."
"Initially, I create a bespoke tour that suits your interests, incorporating must see landmarks and attractions, as well as hidden gems. Once this is agreed and you have landed on Cornish soil, we pick you up from your accommodation, anywhere in the county and at a time that suits you. So, if you are an early bird, that is fine with us."
"We offer everyone the opportunity to walk a short stretch of the South West Coast Path, which is renowned as on the best trails in the UK. You do not have to do it of course, but we feel it is an experience not to be missed when visiting Cornwall. "
"You cannot come to Cornwall without indulging in a Cornish cream tea, but we offer something unique, a Cornish cream tea picnic experience, made with only local produce and homemade scones, it is even served on Cornishware crockery which has been lovingly hand painted here in Cornwall. It rounds your day up perfectly and will stay in your thoughts for a long time, well that is what our guests have told us on our reviews."
What makes a good tour guide?
"Being friendly and personable, professional, and flexible and most of all, knowledgeable."
Are there any disadvantages to being a tour guide?
What place/areas would you tell visitors to Cornwall not to miss?
"These may be on the well-trodden tourist route, but there is a reason why. St Michael’s Mount and the Minack Theatre are a must see. They are spectacular sites and they definitely have the wow factor. The Lizard Peninsula is also an absolute treasure trove of quaint thatched fishing villages, dramatic harbours, secluded bays, creek side dwellings and fabulous walking trails."
"There are plenty of others too, like Botallack Mine, with its icon engine houses clinging to the cliffs near St Just, Trebah Gardens with its sub-tropical plants and plenty of history of how it played its part in the D Day landings. The hidden gems, we will keep a secret for now!"
Do you have any travel tips for anyone visiting Cornwall?
"Don’t rush! Here in Cornwall, we are very relaxed and go at a slow pace. We do things ‘dreckly’. When the sun is shining, you can feel like you are in the Caribbean, but it does rain…. Quite a lot, so be prepared and don’t let it spoil your day. There are so many things to do even on a wet day, you just need the right mindset and a waterproof jacket."
Your favourite place to visit in Cornwall and why?
"This is a difficult question to answer, as I have so many favourites."
"I love watching the sun set on Perranporth Beach, as it brings me back to my youth and is one of the best placed to watch the sun set."
"I love to hike up rough tour on Bodmin Moor for those amazing views and spectacular rock formations."
"I love driving along the seafront at Gyllyngvase in Falmouth, to see the sail boats playing on the shimmering water and the tankers far out to sea."
"I love exploring Kennel Vale woods and gunpowder works which are right on my doorstep, which hold a fascinating connecting to our mining history."
"I love exploring the Lizard Peninsula, as it just has so much to offer for the adventurous. Oh……. And I love walking the SWCP from Porthgwarra to Lands’ end, its breath-taking, and you are often lucky enough to see the Cornish Chough, a red legged and red billed bird which we proudly display on our coat of arms."
What do you love to do when you are not busy working?
"I am a bit of a water baby. I love to surf, swim and Scuba dive. Cornwall is amazing for scuba diving; you would not believe the amount of life in our waters, it may be cold, but it is worth the effort."
"My partner and I own motorcycles, something I got into in my 20’s and we love to get out on the road early to explore new places. Although we are fast running out of new places in Cornwall now, so we tend to go out of county or across the channel. I also love to walk."
If you could magically become a tour guide in another country/city where would it be?
"New Zealand. I feel it has the same laid-back vibe as Cornwall. It also offers outstanding scenery, incredible marine life, and plenty of culture. I have been lucky enough to go once, but it is on my bucket list to do again."
Finally, what are the oddest/strangest questions you have been asked by clients?
"Someone once asked me ‘what time do the waves come’, that always tickles me!"
Nothing beats a private tour, yes, they may be a bit more expensive, but the intimate touch, personal attention and experience is infinitely better, and you will have an experience that you will remember going forward for a long time to come.
For further details on Experience Cornwall Tours, please contact Louise .....
Experience Cornwall Tours
Telephone: +44 1872 396143