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Lakeside Coffee Shop at University of Surrey, Guildford - On the Tea Shop Trail

PUBLISHED: 10:57 07 September 2015 | UPDATED: 14:47 07 September 2015

The coffee shop is one of Guildford's best-kept secrets

The coffee shop is one of Guildford's best-kept secrets


In a town already brimming with cafés, the Lakeside Coffee Shop at the University of Surrey is something of a hidden gem, says Louise Johncox

Just some of the tempting selection on offerJust some of the tempting selection on offer

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine August 2015


Need to know:

Lakeside Coffee Shop, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH. Open: Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm (and University Open Days). Tel: 01483 689655. Web:


The low-down…

The growing trend for coffee shop culture and afternoon tea has been echoed in the hospitality education at the University of Surrey, which is home to the first training café run by a UK university.

Located on the Stag Hill campus in Guildford, the Lakeside Coffee Shop is not only open to students but also to the public – and, with its fine local fare, charming décor and rock-bottom prices, is a real hidden gem.

A potted history...

This innovative café was the brainchild of Professor Graham Miller, head of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, along with Michelle Rimmington, buildings and facilities manager, and former hospitality student, Rhian Jones, who manages the café with a team of students.

“We wanted to give people a proper welcome to our university with a coffee shop that could showcase the incredible skills and talents of our staff and students,” says Professor Miller.

Ranked number one for hospitality and tourism programmes by The Guardian and The Times/Sunday Times, the university was also ranked fourth for Best University in the UK by The Guardian in May.


The on-site team of professional chefs make most of the cakes and pastries, under the watchful eye of pastry chef, David Hill. According to Rhian, the top three pastries are the almond croissant, £1.40, cinnamon swirl, £1.40, and a healthier multi-cereal croissant, £1.10. I enjoyed the cinnamon swirl while my friend indulged in a pecan plait, £1.40, which we shared. I’d recommend both and will be trying the multi-cereal croissant next.

On the menu…

Serving barista-style, triple-certified (organic, Rainforest Alliance and Fair Trade) coffee along with a wide variety of other hot and cold drinks, the Lakeside Coffee Shop is the place to go in Guildford for a good-quality, reasonably-priced snack, cake or light lunch.

Not only is the coffee good value – with an Americano, £1.50; latte/cappuccino, £1.60; and tea, £1.40 (fairtrade and organic) – but if you invest in a branded reusable cup (£2), you can save 10p every time.

Also, ingredients are mainly locally sourced, with the top three savouries home-made soup, £2.25; bacon bap, £2; and ham and Emmental ciabatta, £3.

“We have an ever-changing range of sandwiches, wraps, bagels, ciabattas, baguettes and baps, which are filled with a mix of home-made fillings,” says Rhian. 
“We also stock healthy and naughty snacks. The home-made soup is a big seller and often we sell over 20 litres a day.”


Overlooking the University Piazza, the Lakeside Coffee Shop is bright, fresh and welcoming with a hot pink colour scheme, home-made bunting and inviting displays of cakes and savouries.

“The décor was a joint effort between Michelle and I, hot pink being both of our favourite colours and the perfect shade to brighten the entrance to the building,” says Rhian. “We added home-made bunting and hot pink aprons for some fun.”

There are 48 seats inside plus eight bar stools and seating on a terrace outside for 65. The most popular table is the round one in the window with the pink and black chairs.


The Lakeside Coffee Shop serves affordable coffee with a great selection of home-made cakes and savouries. The staff are young, friendly and welcoming while the bright décor is just the tonic.

Students, staff and visitors are lucky to have such an original well-run coffee shop with home-made food at the heart of the university campus. Other universities, and even other coffee shops, could learn a thing or two from this successful café venture.


Top tip:

Discover more about the University of Surrey at one of their Open Days on Saturday September 12 and Saturday October 17. See


Louise Johncox’s parents, Peter and Frankie, ran Peter’s tea shop in Weybridge from 1958 until 2000 when they retired. Louise has written a book about her parents’ tea shop, The Baker’s Daughter, which is out now in all good bookshops (see

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