About Us


Friendly Guides began in 1992 with a single hand-drawn map of the Isles of Scilly. We then decided to create a series of books small enough to fit in a pocket but big enough to cover an area in depth as if you were being shown around by a friendly local (which we are). Books that, like Cornwall and Scilly, are full of flavour and character. A quarter of a century and a quarter of a million maps and books later, we supply outlets all over the UK and Europe.


Neil Reid was born in Cornwall and studied Architecture at Canterbury College of Art, East London Polytechnic and Plymouth University. Leaving just as the recession was biting in 1992 to find there were no jobs. Rather than be unemployed in London he moved back to Cornwall and in 1992 and started Friendly Guides on the government’s Enterprise Allowance Scheme. The first product was a black and white, hand-drawn map of the Isles of Scilly (now computer drawn and in its 8th edition). When it was printed he packed 200 into a suitcase and took them over to St Mary’s on the Scillonian where Clive Mumford at the Paper Shop was his first customer.

Caroline Schanche was born in Cornwall and studied Theatre at Dartington College of Arts. She is a partner in Friendly Guides and lives in Penzance.