Elite Duchy Tours – Interview with Peter Long
Peter Long is a former police officer whose 30 year career saw him working in close protection (as a bodyguard) and training riot police. Today he runs luxury, bespoke driving tours in Cornwall. It sounds like a surprising career change, but is one that draws on many of the skills he learned with the police. Kilden Mor customers receive a 10% discount on an Elite Duchy Tour, so we caught up with Peter to find out more.
What can people expect from one of your tours?
It’s flexible and entirely led by the customer’s expectations. We offer fixed ‘off the shelf’ packages like our Poldark tour, but the itinerary will often change during the course of the day. They’ll be picked up from their location in a luxury car and treated like a VIP all day.
Are there any regular requests?
I’ll often make lunch reservations or offer suggestions for places to eat – I’ve had everything from people who want to try their first Cornish pasty to those looking for lunch in a really nice restaurant. One group wanted a bottle of bubbly in a stunning location, so we parked up on the cliffs at Kynance Cove – one of the most beautiful beaches in the country – with a bottle of Camel Valley wine.
Who uses your service?
The sort of people who want to do this tour are interested in other people and interested in learning. A lot of them say to me that they want to take the tour because of the unusual bits, the “behind the scenes” stuff. I was amazed by the number of Americans who come to Cornwall. They tend to be of a certain status where they expect a high level of service; these people want a personal tour and to experience things that they wouldn’t normally see.
Tell us how you got into this business?
Four years ago, after I retired from the police, we moved from Surrey to Cornwall and I was looking for something to do. I have this background in close protection, which involves all sorts of transferable skills including advanced driving, first aid, but also itinerary planning and that kind of thing. Policemen can talk to anybody about anything!
How did that lead you to luxury tours?
When we moved here, friends and family who would normally come and visit us for a weekend in Surrey would come for a fortnight! We would drive people around and show them what Cornwall has got to offer. I talked about it with my wife who works in tourism and we thought, there’s a business opportunity here. Other people are doing similar sorts of things but I came at it from a slightly different angle, using my background and skills and pitching it at that VIP level of the market.
Are there any particular tour highlights?
I had some people recently who wanted to go to Port Isaac because they’d seen the Fisherman’s Friends movie. They’d come all the way from Maine in the United States where sea shanties are a big thing. I’ve got a guy who used to work for me at Lanhydrock, who was an extra in the film, so he came along and did a whole behind the scenes chat for them. Then I took them in to meet one of the Fisherman’s Friends who happened to be there and they got autographs and photos.
You’re very obviously very well connected.
Absolutely. It’s handy to have people that you can link up with. And it works in terms of accommodation as well. I get a lot of requests from people who want to book tours and they ask, where can we stay? So it’s nice to have places like Kilden Mor that I can recommend. And if they stay there they get a 10% tour discount.
What do you love most about your job?
Meeting people. I’m constantly amazed by the things that people tell me and the things that people have done. Even if I do the same tour two or three times a week, it’s always different because the people are different. It’s become a bit of a passion really. We want clients to go away feeling they’ve had a special day. People always take away one or two little memories.