Does anyone else love a good café ride?

We do!

In this article, South West London local, John Maskell, shares the cycling coffee stops he loves the most when he heads out west to the Windsor, Henley and Marlow areas.

Enjoy!

If you want to know more about what we look for in a cycling café, take a look at this article, which also links to our other cycling café guides to London the Surrey Hills, Hampton Court and Woking areas.

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

 

A bit about the area

Windsor is around 30 km west from London and is famous for the 11th Century Windsor Castle and Windsor Great Park (open to cyclists).

It is a picture postcard town on the River Thames and a natural destination for a decent ride from South West London.

For those looking for a longer ride, a further 20 km west of Windsor lies idyllic Henley-on-Thames and some 20 km north west of Windsor lies Marlow, a beautiful small town full of small boutique shops and cafés.

 

The 5 best cycling cafés in the area

 

The map below gives a rough idea of where each of our five 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 Cinnamon Café

The Old Ticket Hall, Windsor SL4 1PJ

Opening hours: 7am-6pm every day

GPX route from Richmond Park

Outside of the Cinnamon cafe, Windsor
Famous cinnamon bun at the Cinnamon Cafe Windsor

 

Location

On arrival in Windsor, turn down the Old Ticket Hall (pedestrianised undercover area) directly opposite Windsor Castle.  On the right hand side is the Cinnamon Café which has room for bikes at the front but also has enough bike racks for say 30 bikes at the back of the café. There’s also lots more seating here – don’t be shy; just wheel your bike through.

 

Our view

The Cinnamon Café is probably more famous in the cycling community than Windsor Castle itself. No joke.

There is plenty of seating for about 75 people and you can only really describe the seating as both internal and external, as the whole area is open but under cover – just like a railway station ticket hall.

You order at the counter and collect at the counter using the trays provided.  Service is really efficient as there are plenty of professional, friendly staff around.

The range of cakes is very good and you get to look at the cakes as well as the hot food menu as you queue. Most people opt for either a whole or half cinnamon bun and they will warm them up for you.

Prices are reasonable and there is a 10% discount for cyclists, free internet, heaters in winter and the manager (a keen cyclist himself) has been recently experimenting with glove warmers as well.

 

Conclusion

The Cinnamon Café is an unpretentious mecca for cyclists and is the go-to destination in Windsor.  It is also graced by some professional cyclists, so keep your eyes peeled.

 

2. The Old Post Office

55 High Street, Wargrave, RG10 8BU

Opening hours: Tuesday-Saturday 9am-5pm. Sunday 9am-2pm. Closed on Monday.

GPX route from Richmond Park

The outside of the Old Post Office wargrave, perfect for cyclists on a cafe ride
Full english breakfast, the breakfast for kings, Old Post Office Wargrave

 

Location

The Old Post Office is situated near the River Thames, some 20 km west of Windsor and 5 km south of Henley-on-Thames.

 

Our view

On arrival there are no bike racks and, as far as we could see, no room around the back for bikes, so it’s best to bring a lock and leave the bikes in front of the café.

Once inside, the café has an “olde” world relaxed charm with an abundance of comfortable arm chairs and, wait for it – extremely good food.

The food is ordered at the counter and brought to your table.

The Full English is so big that you will genuinely struggle to finish it (the plate itself is huge, hence the £10 price). I am an ex rugby playing Full English connoisseur and I couldn’t even finish it – which led to a rather uncomfortable ride home as I felt like a python in a chicken coup for the next hour.

The trick is to either order the smaller English breakfast (£7.50) or share the big one between two.

The service is very friendly and the coffee and cakes are sublime. There is also very good and fast internet.

 

Conclusion

If you like your food, this is the café for you.

 

3. The Chocolate Theatre Café

Henley, RG9 1BH

Opening hours: 8am-5pm weekdays, 9am-5pm Saturday, 10am-5pm Sunday.

GPX route from Richmond Park

The Chocolate Cafe Henley perfect for cyclists on a cafe ride
21 types of hot chocolate to choose from

Location

The café has a good location, next to the River Thames on the left hand side of the bridge.  Bikes can be parked and (we would advise) locked on the other side of the road to the café.

 

Our view

It is called The Chocolate Theatre Café because part of the kitchen is behind glass, so you can watch the various stages of “tempering” going into the making of the awesome chocolate patisseries.  The chef, Roy Hastings, has spent 30 years perfecting his skills as a master patissier and chocolatier under three different patissiers from the Dorchester Hotel. A testament to the success of this well-known café is that there is now a Chocolate Café in both Goring and Wokingham.

The décor / ambiance could do with a shift away from function to more style, with say more sofas or bar stools in the window. There’s also no internet. Yet these things are not deal breakers for this particular café.

There’s a sit-down, menu-based ordering system and our tip is that before you go ahead and order, you have a look at the awesome range of cakes and “all things” chocolate in the counters.

While the menu is extremely comprehensive, with excellent hot traditional food – eggs benedicte, panini, superb milk shakes etc – what you should really be going for here is the chocolate. Check out the tiffin, millionaires shortbread or florentines and/or the 21 different types of hot chocolate: this is were the “Epic” factor really kicks in.

The cakes are not cheap at nearly £4 per slice (tray bake is £2.50) – these are the most expensive cakes “on test” in our café guides – but, frankly, the quality and pedigree is out of this world. We wonder how much the same food would cost you in the Dorchester.

They even have a “Dessert Platter” with 8 cakes if you are feeling like you need fuel.

 

Conclusion

A great location in a great destination, with wonderful calories of chocolate to fuel the ride home.  If it did bedrooms we would probably stay the night.

 

4. Velolife

Warren Row Road, RG10 8QS

Opening hours: weekdays 10am-4pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am-4 pm. Closed Monday.

GPX route from Richmond Park

Velolife cycling cafe, warren row road
Coffee and toast at Velolife cycling cafe

Location

On arrival in Warren Row (a lovely destination in itself), go slowly as this café is easy to miss. Look for the red brick building that looks like a pub with loads of bike racks in the old car park.

 

Our view

Velolife Cycling Café, to give it its full name, used to be a pub. It was converted to a shrine to all things cycling in 2016.

You could so easily go down the road to Wargrave and have a great Full English at the Old Post Office, or go slightly north to Henley and gorge yourself on wonderful chocolate at the Chocolate Café. But, if you are a keen cyclist and you like talking “bike bull”, then this is the place for you. There’s even a plethora of bike books lying around the tables.

The café has its own bike workshop, weekly ride (Saturday 9am) and time trial (which will earn you a free coffee if you do it, road bikes only).

The people behind the counter look like Cat II cyclists and “surprise” they are!

Outside seating is a work in progress – i.e. does not exist yet. The inside seating is very relaxed and extremely cool: a little like Giro in Esher, but perhaps more laid back and less swish. A lot of reclaimed heavy timber has been to build the bar with a tap and basin in the bar itself to fill water bottles.

The cakes are homemade and extremely good – but slices are on the thin side. They also offer toasties (cheese £5, others £6.50) as a hot alternative and some have said they are better than the cheese on toast at The Milk Churn in West Sussex. The owner Lee admits there is still work to do around offering more food/developing the kitchen, but perhaps focusing on a few really good offerings is better?

The coffee is really good and there is internet.

Cakes at Velolife
Water bottle refills at Velolife

 

Conclusion

Velolife is a real asset to the cycling fraternity and should be supported and nurtured as much by long range Londoners as it already is by the local cycling community. Where else can you get your bike fixed while you have a really good coffee and cake?

 

5. Fernygrove Farm Café

Hawthorn Hill, RG42 6HN

Opening Hours: Tuesday-Friday 8am-5:30pm, Saturday 8am-4pm, Sunday 10am-2pm. Closed on Monday.

GPX route from Richmond Park

Fernygrove farm cycling destination for a cafe ride
External areas at Fernygrove farm

 

Location

Fernygrove Café is just off the Drift Road time trial circuit, so is a good place to go and rest up after a few fast flat efforts along Drift Road or the circuit itself. It lies around 10 km west-south-west of Windsor.

You cycle down a well-signposted farm track from Hawthorn Lane. The track is made up of very compact dirt/hardcore so you might hesitate if you’re on a brand new bike, but it’s never put us off…

The first thing you see is a farm shop/butchers selling wonderful local produce such as meats, vegetables and bread.  The café itself is behind this farm shop and it is best to use the gate in the wooden fence to the right of the café to bring the bikes into the large back garden for safety.

 

Our view

This café’s speciality is selling local produce: i.e. from the farm to the table. You order at the service counter and your food is brought to you.

The food is homemade, the service is very good and the views from the outside tables are pleasant. However you may agree that the pricing seems unusual: a jacket potato costs £8.50 but an extremely good Full English is only £9.00.

Internet is available.

There’s lots of seating, both inside and out. It’s functional rather than stylish.

Cakes at Fernygrove farm
Interior of Fernygrove farm cafe

 

Conclusion

There is enough room at Fernygrove for a large group of cyclists and it is a pretty chilled place to go just off the Drift Road time trial circuit. Try the farm produced bacon and sausages.

What’s your favourite cycling café in berkshire/South Bucks?

 

Tell us in the comments below!

Don’t miss our guides to the best cycling cafés of the Surrey HillsHampton Court and Woking!

 

 

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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One Response to “Best cycling cafés outside London: Windsor, Henley and Marlow”

  1. Chiltern Velo Cafe is new and has really cool cycling artwork,bike parking,best toasties & homemade soup&cakes. Our local club love it,give it a try maybe

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