Fringe Box



Gallery House Cafe, The High Street

Published on: 6 Mar, 2012
Updated on: 13 Mar, 2012

Guildford House. To access the Gallery Cafe go through the Tourist Information Centre, past the staircase and down the steps to the rear basement

I like things traditional, so I like the coffee shop at Guildford House. It could be used as a set for an Agatha Christie film or a Doctor Who scene set in the 1970s but don’t think any less of it for that.

The atmosphere was good despite the slightly cramped seating, perhaps because of it, forcing a degree of cooperation, consideration and discourse between customers as they weaved their way between tables.

There is no pretension with the coffee on offer, simple filter but pretty good. No cappuccinos or lattes though, fussier coffee drinkers please note. The cakes were good but not particularly cheap.

Access is difficult but it is a basement room of a 17th century house. Steps are inevitable.

Unlike most other coffee shops in Guildford these days it was unmistakably and unashamedly English, a Danish pastry perhaps is the most exotic item on offer. With English reserve it does not shout out its presence but lies tucked away, almost hidden, in the bowels of one of the town’s finest buildings.

If I were a tourist in Guildford it is the kind of place I would want to find rather than one of the major chains which are the same not just throughout Europe but throughout the world. And although I do like coffee shops with a continental feel too it was good to find something that seemed natural and fitting in what is, after all, an English High Street.

They don’t seem to need extra customers, there was hardly a seat to be had by the time we left, but if you are also a fan of things traditional, and can manage a few steps, I say don’t worry too much about any lower scores below and give it a go. It might become your favourite.

Subject Comments Score
Vero Cibo, 1 The Shambles, Guildford
Coffee Simple filter coffee but good. Reasonably priced. No fancy types e.g. cappuccino. £1.75 per cup. 3.5
Cakes Fresh. Tasty. Excellent presentation (with half a strawberry!) Average value. 4
Menu range
Limited range of cakes. For lunch: Jacket potatoes, salads and sandwiches. 3.5
Interior Old fashioned, cramped, English tea room. Slightly grimy quarry tiles floor. Noisy fridge. There are also tables in the outside courtyard and in a marquee extension (not seen). 2.5
Atmosphere Full house gave a lively, cosy, friendly, ‘National Trust tea room’ type atmosphere. 4.5
Access Difficult, if not impossible for wheel chair/pram access. 2.5
Service Table service. Staff were polite, attentive and helpful. 4
Information No wifi but newspapers to borrow. Table menus. 3.5
Value for money Two coffees and two cakes for just under £8. About average. 3
Toilets Clean. No disabled or baby changing facilities. 3
Opening hours Tuesday to Saturday: 9.30am to 4.15pm
Address 155 High Street, Guildford GU1 3AJ Tel:01483 444742 website:

Our order - Excellent presentation!

What they say about themselves:

The Gallery Cafe can be found in the quiet rear courtyard at Guildford House. It is a tranquil setting for refreshments, among the specially designed ceramic pots and gardens.

A full range of delicious home prepared hot and cold food is served.

Shopping Break. The perfect place to take the weight off your feet and enjoy cream teas, coffee, cakes and slices. And why not browse around the gallery afterwards, after all – entry is free!

Click here to see last week’s survey – Vero Cibo. Which one will it be next week?

Have you used this coffee shop? What are your views? Please add your own review by using the ‘Leave a Reply’ feature below…

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Responses to Gallery House Cafe, The High Street

  1. Pauline Surrey

    April 17, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Don’t forget that one of the best things about the Guildford House Gallery Cafe, apart from the food, is the fact that on sunny days one can enjoy the beautiful courtyard and the view to the back of the house, with its oriel window and mathematical tiles. One of the nicest views in Guildford!
    What’s more, it is, I believe, the only place in Guildford where you can still get a toasted tea-cake!