Introduction and Background

Introduction to Louise M Chapman – founder of Cognoscenti Guides

Welcome to Cognoscenti Guides.

As founder and Chairperson of Cognoscenti Guides, I would like to take this opportunity to explain to you what motivated me to set up Cognoscenti Guides and my philosophy in life which has allowed me to create a unique guiding service with an emphasis on fluency in language and historical perspective.

All of my life, I have been someone who has taken pride in showing places of interest to people, be they friends, family or clients. A wish to explore, discover, interact with, understand, learn – be that of a town or of a region – has been with me from an early age.

Having been fortunate to have travelled extensively overseas, in North America, Australasia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe, I have used the services of private guides in many countries and know well the time constraints that visitors have. The feeling that you may never again return to those shores means that the time in that country is particularly precious. It is important to derive the maximum benefit from the days you have in any particular place. These travel experiences have inspired me to offer a bespoke guiding service as an English speaking guide and also as a French speaking guide. Travel is always educational but I wish to ensure that it is also fun and that the client returns home with the satisfaction of knowing that they have seen the best of what England has to offer.

Today I live in Surrey and also have a home in Westminster, London and consider myself more European than a lot of other British people. The fact that I have lived overseas means that I have an awareness of what it is like to live in mainland Europe. Likewise, having travelled several times to North America, I feel that I can relate well to American and Canadian visitors who naturally will wish to see all that is quintessentially English.’

Background – language excellence and travel emphasis

In 1985 I graduated in Modern Languages from the University of Bristol, having spent 6 months at the University of Grenoble in France and 6 months at the University of Munich in Germany as part of that 4 year degree course.

After graduating, I joined a major international accountancy firm based in London, training and specialising as an international tax consultant and advising multi national companies in multiple jurisdictions. Shortly afterwards, I moved into the world of international legal headhunting for major law practices in England.

I continued my interest in languages by studying TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), Spanish ‘A’ Level and by completing a Masters Degree in Applied Linguistics at the University of Sussex in January 2009.

My husband and I have travelled extensively with our 2 children so as to provide them with a wider view of the world. We have taken the family to North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australasia with a view to offering our children interesting and educational experiences. Amongst other things we have spent 3 weeks visiting areas of China; learnt about the culture of the Maoris in New Zealand, the Karen tribes people in Northern Thailand, the Navajo people of New Mexico and the Aborigines in Australia. We have visited the mountainous areas of Iceland to see the remote, natural beauty of glaciers, geysers and vast plains and been on safari in South Africa to see the wonderful wildlife there. All these experiences serve to strengthen my determination to offer the very best to my clients – to offer a first class service to clients who demand the very best. Your time is precious – let’s make the most of it.’