Who wants to know the best cycling cafés and coffee stops in the Surrey Hills?!

In this article, South West London local, John Maskell, shares the cycling cafés he loves the most. He’s been riding in this area each week for the last 5 years+, so what he doesn’t know about the best options for cyclists isn’t worth knowing.


Looking for route inspiration in the Surrey Hills? Don’t miss our in-depth guide to the area!

If you want to know more about how the criteria used to make into this rarified list of just four cycling cafés, take a look at this article, which also links to our other cycling café guides to the Hampton CourtWoking and Windsor/Henley/Marlow areas. You can find London cycling cafés here.

Please check for temporary closures and opening times before planning your ride around a particular café being open.

A bit about the area

The Surrey Hills are an Area of Outstanding National Beauty about 30 km south- west of central London. Cycling the Surrey Hills takes you along steep-banked country lanes, through ancient woodland, past pretty villages and well-kept pubs.

It’s a top choice for London-based cyclists looking to escape the city.

The most famous climb in the area is Box Hill, which is just a couple of kilometres up the road from Dorking. Cycle Box Hill on a Sunday morning and it’s difficult to dispute Dorking’s cycle capital claim: you’ll find yourself surrounded by hundreds of lycra-clad roadies sipping coffee and checking out each other’s carbon dream machines.

In some circles, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the Box Hill café is the only game in town.  However we feel the audience at Box Hill is rather captive, the service perfunctory and the prices rather stretched.  This guide hopefully gives much better alternatives.

The 3 best cycling cafés in the area

The map below gives a rough idea of where each of our four favourite cycling cafés are located. You can also zoom in and click on each coffee cup for the name of the café. Read on for more information on each!

1. The Plough Inn and Shop

Coldharbour, RH5 6HD

Shop opening hours: 8:30am-6pm Monday to Saturday and 9am to 5pm on Sundays.

GPX route from Richmond Park


The Plough Inn and shop, Coldharbour, leith cycling climb, surrey
Tools outside the Plough Inn

(The banner photo shows the wonderful inside of the shop; a veritable Aladdin’s Cave of goodies!)


The Plough Inn and Shop is in the village of Coldharbour, south-west of Dorking and close to Leith Hill. Its location on the Olympic and Tour of Britain road biking route makes it a natural destination for a keen cyclist.

Our view

There is ample and safe space to park bikes through the archway between the shop and the pub.

If you follow this natural alley way then it opens up to both a barn to sit in, a small brewery and a plethora of outside seating.  The shop itself has seating in the window for four people. If this is full, you can overspill into the barn or the pub itself. In summer the two terraces around the back next to the small brewery are wonderful sun traps.

The shop is full of locally sourced foods such as ice cream, cheese, cakes, pasties and sausage rolls. It serves very good coffee.

There are also some bike essentials and a track pump – of note would be the plethora of Park Tools in the refurbished red Telephone Box opposite the pub (photo above).

The large pasties and large sausage rolls tend to come out of the oven at 10:30 am so we time our arrival for this as the sausage rolls are to die for.

Staff are warm and engaging and there is good internet.

Prices are reasonable.


One of our absolute favourites due to its location, friendliness of the staff and – of course – the sausage rolls.

2. The Milk Churn

Rudgwick, Horsham, RH12 3DH

Opening hours: closed on a Monday. Opens at 10 am on weekends.  Rest of the week opens at 8:30 am.

GPX route from Richmond Park

Outside of the Milk Churn café
Famous cheese on toast at The Milk Churn Rudgwick


The Milk Churn lies about 30 km south-west of Dorking and is one of the favourite destinations of Kingston Wheelers CC.

The entrance to the Milk Churn is about 30 metres west of the entrance to the old brickworks/the Firebird Brewery.

Our view

There is extensive bike parking for around 50 bikes.

Service is via a counter style order system where you are given a buzzer to tell you when your food is ready.

There is plenty of very comfortable outside seating with cushions and the indoor seating, whilst less scenic, is good and plentiful.

The farm (Woodsomes farm) attached to the coffee shop is a cheese producing dairy farm (producing Sussex Charmer) and so the speciality of the Milk Churn is naturally cheese on toast which they do spectacularly well in various different guises.

Wallace and Gromit would have a field-day.

Our favourite is probably the cheese and red onion on toast.

There is plenty of other food available such as macaroni cheese, ploughman’s and cakes. Take away dairy produce can be also bought from the fridges, as can the local Firebird beer.

The coffee is good, internet is available and the prices are reasonable.

Free bottles of water can be taken from the fridges to refill water bottles and/or glasses.


If you’re coming from London, it’s quite a long way to go for cheese on toast. But it’s well worth it.

3. Tanhouse Farm Shop

Rusper Road, Newdigate, RH5 5BX

Opening hours: 7 days a week from 9 am to 5 pm

GPX route from Richmond Park

Exterior of Tanhouse Farm Shop and Café
Farm shop within a cycling cafe


Tanhouse Farm Shop is located just south of Newdigate, some 10 km south, south-east of Dorking.  It originated from a simple farm shop and now caters for a wider audience with a shop, a large café and children’s play area.  It is extremely popular with cyclists.

Our view

Being about 100 metres off the main road with plenty of space, it’s great for bike parking – but as yet there are no bike racks.

There is ample and comfortable indoor and outdoor seating for a decent size peloton.

The log burner helps warm up cold gloves and feet in the winter, whilst the spacious garden is great in the summer.

The prices are also reasonable for Surrey.

The service is quick and the local homemade food very good – especially the soup in winter.

There is also a water tap and basin in the conservatory with glasses and jugs for cyclists to refill water bottles – a lovely touch.

The café currently has no internet and mobile data reception is bad; this is something that could be improved upon for those that need their internet fix / checking their Strava feed.

It’s also worth knowing that the toilets are outside.

Log burner keeps Tan House Farm toasty in winter
Water refill at Tan House Farm cycling cafe


Tanhouse is nearly perfect, especially if you have a large group of cyclists and want a reasonably speedy turnaround.

What’s your favourite cycling café in the Surrey Hills?

Tell us in the comments below!

Don’t miss our guides to the best cycling cafés of the Woking, Hampton Court and Windsor!

Before you go!

Don’t miss our in-depth guide to cycling in the Surrey Hills. It’s got full guides to our favourite rides, where to stay and when to go. Check it out here!


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John Maskell

John Maskell is a roving reporter whose mission in life is to find the best coffee stop on any given ride.

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2 Responses to “Best cycling cafés outside London: Surrey Hills”

  1. Great article. As a regular Surrey Hills rider and local, the Milk Churn is my favourite and as the article says, the Red Onion Sussex Charmer (double of course) is the one to go for.
    Chris C

    • Thanks so much – glad you agree!! Thanks for taking the time to comment and happy riding!

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