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Places to eat near Motolegends

Published on: 12 April 2024

Places to eat header

Based in the middle of Surrey, we are fortunate to be within an easy ride for many motorcyclists. If you live in Surrey, Hampshire, West Sussex, Berkshire or the western half of Kent you can probably be here inside 90 minutes at the very most. Of course, we're not far from the great metropolis either, although it's going to be an easier hike from west or south London than it is from north or east.

Motolegends surrounding area

Based in the middle of Surrey we're easily accessible for many people.

But, for one reason or another, many people seem prepared to bypass their local motorcycle clothing sellers to come and see us. That might be because people want to be regaled by my undoubted wit and charm, but it might equally be because we carry lots of nice stuff you just can't find elsewhere, because we hold more stock than any shop in the country, because you will get a dose of our no-nonsense advice, or because we won't let you go until everything fits properly, the way it should.

Personally, I am sticking with the whole wit and charm thing, but who knows?

Now often when people have travelled a decent distance to come and see us, they ask about places in the area where they can get breakfast before they come, or lunch or an afternoon snack afterwards. And so we thought it might be an idea to create a list of nice places in the local environs.

Coffee and cake

If you have travelled a long way, you might want to grab a bite nearby.

I know when I go somewhere further afield, I'm always keen to find the best local places for a spot of scran. I personally swear by a guide I have that's all about farm shops, but sadly there aren't very many good ones close to us.

But equally, I get really miffed if I've driven or ridden half way across the country, and end up in some dive that the locals would never go near.

Well, it's no different in Surrey to anywhere else. We have some great places to stop off at, many of which you would never find unless you knew where they were. By the same token, we have some very average eateries that you wouldn't wish upon anybody, but that nonetheless know how to charge Surrey prices!

Huge fry up

This is the kind of breakfast that MCN always seems keen to promote!

What I would say is that we are not going to be recommending any of those fill-your-chops for £5.99 places that MCN loves to dedicate a huge amount of space to in every issue. Nor are we going to send you anywhere that thinks it's acceptable to serve tea by pouring hot water over a teabag in a cup. Everywhere we're going to talk about is more than happy to welcome Shoei Neotec 3-wearing, Rukka-clad bikers. They’re not biker places, per se, however. We’ve chosen these places because we trust their food and their service. They're the places we like to go to when we're not stuck in here trying to keep the show on the road.


Watts Gallery

The Watts Gallery on the B3000

Okay, so this place is a bit more refined than some. It's a café that's attached to a famous Arts and Crafts art gallery. The gallery itself may not be up your street, but the location is lovely. It's tucked away down a country lane that's less than a couple of miles from the shop. They do nice cakes. It's a great place for afternoon tea; the kind of establishment you would have taken your mum out to on her birthday. Not sure they do much by way of proper meals, although they have quiches, Welsh Rarebit, macaroni cheese and so on. If Sara and I feel we can escape for an hour on a summer's afternoon, we'll sometimes pop down here for a little treat.


The Withies Inn

The Withies Inn at Compton

I am not a huge pub person. There are some lovely pubs in Surrey and West Sussex that do sensational grub, but they are few and far between, and none of the ones I have in mind are around the corner. I am sure there are many that are fine if you just want a packet of crisps and a coke, but lots of the pubs that are very local to us are a tad disappointing when it comes to food. The Withies Inn which, like the Watts Gallery, is tucked down a tiny road just a couple of miles from us, is about as quintessential as an English country pub gets. Hidden away from the pell mell of daily life, the pub has a lovely lounge where the prize seat is always in front of the roaring log fire. The garden is lovely too. The bar food we really rate, but we are not necessarily quite so enamoured of the restaurant, although it always seems full of locals. If you want to stay over, they have rooms as well. You will need to keep your eye out for the sign to the Withies Inn. Blink, and you'll miss it.


Natter Cafe

Natter Café in Farncombe

This is a nice, albeit quite compact, café where you can always get a decent plate of food. For many years, Sara and I had breakfast here twice a week, but actually Gails in Godalming is more convenient for us these days, and we often pick up one of their sausage rolls or quiches for lunch. But Natters is lovely. They do good coffee, and good cakes. They prepare proper lunches, but they close quite early so, as with everywhere we recommend, you should check out the opening hours before you turn up.


Newlands Corner view

The Plucky Pheasant and Newlands Corner

Locally, there are a number of those bike places that fill up at the weekend with guys and girls in one-piece leathers on sportsbikes. As the kids in the fifties did, they spend their Sundays racing from one local biker café to the other, scaring the bejesus out of anybody who happens to be on the road at the same time as them. Well Newlands Corner might be thought of as one of these places, but it's not really. On a Sunday morning, the bikes come out, but it's predominantly the old boys on their British thumpers, although the IAM and the local HoG chapter will often meet up here before somebody in a bright yellow vest calls them to order with a shrill whistle, as they set off in procession to wherever it is they are off to.

Newlands Corner cafe

I just love the bacon rolls here, and tea served from a huge teapot.

Now, there are two eating establishments up at Newlands. In the main car park, there's the queue-up café, but I have to say I love this place. Most Sunday mornings Sara and I will walk up to here from the the centre of town. It's a bit of a hike, but it's worth it for the 'small bacon' and tea. You get wonderful views over the North Downs, and I have already decided that when I hang up my helmet after that very last ride out, I want my ashes to be scattered by the bench we sit on whilst eating our baps, looking down into the valley. This a view that I reckon hasn't changed for a hundred years, and conceivably much, much longer.

The Plucky Pheasant

You can sit inside or outside at the 'Plucky'. Nothing wrong with their nosh!

On the other side of the road is The Plucky Pheasant. Now don’t be confused. For years the café here was dreadful, but a new owner came in a few years ago, and transformed the place. They didn’t do anything particularly special. But there’s now a proper chef who does a great breakfast; the last people could only heat up a panini. This is where you come if it’s raining, and you don’t want to eat your meal outside. We often meet with our suppliers here. Our favourite meetings are always breakfast meetings, of course. One poached, halloumi and a sausage works for me.


Ferma Cafe

The Ferma Café in Ripley

Situated on Ripley High Street, not far from where the A3 meets the M25, this place is part café and part farm shop. Now I love a decent farm shop. You get the best ready meals, nicer cheeses than you get in the supermarket, good ham and hopefully proper pork pies. Well the farm shop here is very nice, although it’s no Cowdray Park. But the café that’s attached to it is also a notch or five above your average biker caff. They would probably be horrified if they thought that somebody was directing bikers to their gaff, but if they knew you had been sent by Motolegends I’m sure they wouldn’t have a problem. It's a small café, and it does get busy, so a reservation may be the way to go.


ONE 40 Cranleigh

The One 40 Café in Cranleigh

Situated next to Sainsbury's on the High Street, in Cranleigh, this place is run by good friends of ours, so we’re probably a little biased. The café sits at the far end of a rather chi-chi little department store that feels far more Fulham Road than Cranleigh High Street, but the jewel in this particular emporium’s gilded crown is undoubtedly the café. They do the nicest breakfasts. Properly-done scrambled egg. Award-winning sausages from Rawlings the butcher just down the road. Nice coffee. And so on. I know I am making it sound as though Sara and I do little else other than have breakfast, and it’s true that wherever we go in the world we always seek out the best breakfast places. Well this is our favourite. If Cranleigh was closer I'd have a permanent table in the corner here like Adam Faith used to have at the Fountain in Fortnums. I could write all my copy here, and then, like Michael Winner, just signal with my whirling napkin whenever I needed a re-fill. I actually do that in the trailer, but Sara really hates it.

Anyway, One 40 is lovely. They do great lunches too. And if you are popping in for a coffee on your way to visit us, an apricot slice would be much appreciated.


Hilltop Kitchen

The Hilltop Kitchen

Location, location, location. And this tiny café just outside Godalming has one of the best. But if you weren't given explicit instructions you'd never find the place. It's been around for a couple of years now, but it only opens from March to the end of November.

Run by a couple of very enterprising young chefs, the Hilltop Kitchen is so small that, initially, we thought it couldn't possibly work as a business, but it's a case of building a better mousetrap, and waiting for the world to beat a path to your door. And that's exactly what has happened. It's really popular. These guys do top grub, although the menu is limited. But their sausage rolls are out of this world. Sara and I live a mile away from this place, although it's the wrong direction for coming into work. Yet, whenever we can, we pop in for a flat white and whatever breakfast treat is on offer that day.

There's a lovely view from the tables that are laid out in front of what can only be termed a shed. The shed is the kitchen, but luckily they have another shed next door where you can sit if it's raining.

They open at nine, but only Wednesday to Sunday. If you do visit, then try to find your way from the Godalming/Hascombe end. You can get here via Bramley on the A281, but in wet weather the mud can make the road a bit tortuous.

The lads who started the place have recently taken on a local pub called ‘The Merry Harriers’. They have transformed the place. It’s become a foodies’ delight, and if you book now you might just get a table for Christmas.

Honestly, top nosh here, and a top view too.


Maddings at Whipley Farm Manor

Maddings at Whipley Manor Farm

Now if your visit to Motolegends sees you heading east down the A281, you have a couple of choices. There's the Milk Churn at the Rudgwick Brickworks. I haven't made a song and dance about this place because it's not exactly around the corner, but it's a really nice café that's particularly popular at weekends. If you like cheese, their toasties are fantastic. A heart attack wrapped in bread. I'm tempted to suggest that they're to die for, but feel that's tempting fate.

You could, of course, always divert into Cranleigh for One 40, although parking at the Milk Churn is easier.

Anyway, Whipley Manor Farm is an agglomeration of local businesses spread around the courtyard of a farm just this side of Cranleigh. The site is right on the roadside on the A281. There you will find a farm shop, and separately a café called Maddings.

Truth be told, I don't know the place that well, but it always looks inviting. The rotisserie chicken served at lunchtime is reported to be fantastic, but personally I find the breakfast menu a bit fancy; just a tad pretentious for a farm shop. At times, you just want ham and eggs. But what you get offered here is 'ham hock, bubble and squeak, tomato ketchup and lee house eggs'. Sometimes, I have found it easier to order my breakfast by building it up solely on the basis of what they term the 'Add Ons'.

But there's a proper kitchen here. The ingredients are, I'm sure, first class; and the A281 is a road down which many visitors will ride on their way to us. I think it's worth a visit. You can make up your own mind.

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