Canopy Coffee, London Square

The interior of Canopy Coffee, London Square, a cosy coffee cabin/container, with the counter on the left and shelves full of goodies lining all three walls.Today’s Coffee Spot is part Coffee Spot Update, part regular Coffee Spot. You may recall that London Square, a large office complex on Guildford’s London Road, opposite London Road Station and Guildford High School, once housed the Surrey Hills Coffee Cabin. Sadly, COVID-19 put paid to that and, with office workers slow to return, the coffee cabin, a lovely container-style cabin in the car park, never re-opened.

Well, I say never, but that changed this June after a chance conversation in Canopy Coffee with a customer whose company had just moved into London Square. This led to Jackie, Canopy’s new owner, taking over the lease on the empty coffee cabin and Canopy Coffee, London Square was born!

The layout’s very similar to how Surrey Hills had it (hence the update part), although there’s no longer any indoor seating, just a solitary four-person table under the shade of a convenient tree. The offering is very similar to Canopy Coffee on Haydon Place, with a standard espresso-based menu using the bespoke house-blend from Skylark Coffee, along with decaf and a regularly-rotating single-origin on batch-brew filter. There’s the same range of toasties too, although the cakes are pre-packaged, with a lot more grab-and-go options.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • London Square, just off London Road, a familiar sight (to me, at least), although these...
  • ... photos are from late 2018. At first sight, it doesn't look like the sort of place where...
  • ... you'd find a coffee shop. This is the view coming along Cross Lanes from London Road.
  • Turn right into the car park, there it is! However, that was on a wet November day...
  • ... while this is the similar view on a sunny Friday in August. It's the Canopy Coffee Cabin.
  • Carrying on along the road brings you to the front of the Canopy Coffee Cabin.
  • Meanwhile, this is the view if you come in from the other side...
  • ... and this is the view head on.
  • There's an alternative walking route from London Road which brings you in here.
  • The view front on, with a table to the left and the A-board to the right. For those with...
  • ... good memories, this is how it looked in 2019, when it was home to Surrey Hills Coffee.
  • Here's a view from back then, from the front of Surrey Hills, as I sheltered from the rain.
  • And here's the view from this August. What a different the sunshine makes!
  • There are a few changes outside. Surrey Hills had a pair of these tables...
  • ... which has been replaced by a single table, to the left as you look at Canopy.
  • The view of the coffee cabin from the table.
  • Of course, the A-board has changed too!
  • However, the bigger changes are inside. Let's go in, shall we?
  • The convenient ramp is still there...
  • ... leading to the cube-like interior on the right.
  • Compare this to how it was when Surrey Hills ran the place. Back then there was seating...
  • ... on two sides, while the left-hand side contained the counter, a small kitchen behind.
  • The counter is still there...
  • ... but the seating has gone, replaced by shelves stacked with goodies...
  • ... and, at the back, this large, open chiller cabinet.
  • If you are prepared to wait, you can have a toastie/roll from the menu at the back...
  • ... while if you have a sweet tooth, there are plenty of snacks to tempt you.
  • If I worked in London Square, I could imagine grabbing a bag to take back to the office.
  • More goodies over by the counter, where you pay and order drinks.
  • There's also a small range of coffee kit and retail bags of coffee.
  • The lights are still there, by the way...
  • ... so here's the obligatory light fitting shot from 2018.
  • There's one more change outside. To the left, Canopy has made full use of the hatch...
  • ... which is now a separate serving counter in its own right, so you don't have to go in.
  • The view from the external counter, looking to the right.
  • I think that was Surrey Hills' old espresso machine, although the grinder is new.
  • There's also a new batch brew filter machine...
  • ... although filter coffee hasn't made it onto the menu yet (you can still order it though).
  • The basil growing on the counter is a nice touch. Fresh basil is always so much nicer.
  • There are more goodies out here on the counter if you don't want to go inside.
  • I ordered a flat white, made with the Canopy blend, which I had in my HuskeeCup.
  • I paired this with an awesome cheese toastie which I had for my breakfast.
  • However, I'll leave you with my coffee, eyeing up the cabin from the table in the shade.
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There’s not much to Canopy Coffee at London Square, although small is beautiful, particularly in this case. Located in the car park, its back to the main entrance on Cross Lanes, the front of the container-style cabin faces the offices, with a long, tree-lined path running from Canopy to the office at the far end of the car park. Although primarily for the benefit of the occupants of the surrounding offices, Canopy is open to the public, so you’re welcome to come along. It’s a great spot for quality coffee if you live in the area, or if you’re popping by on your way to/from the school or station.

The cabin (container? pod?) is a cosy little thing, split into two halves, with the counter/kitchen on the left and an indoor standing/ordering area on the right, accessible via a handy ramp. This takes you into a roughly square area, open at the front, with the counter on the left, where you’ll find a range of cakes and other treats to tempt you. The coffee menu is on the wall above you, while there are more treats on the back wall, half of which is occupied by a large, open chiller cabinet with drinks and pre-prepared sandwiches, scotch eggs and sausage rolls. Alternatively, if you’re prepared to wait, you can order one of the three toasties (one of which is vegan and another vegetarian) or a bacon roll, with the menu on the back wall to the left of the chiller cabinet. Finally, against the right-hand wall, there’s a selection of coffee kit, with more soft drinks in crates below.

Although there’s the counter inside, you can order outside as well, using the large hatch to the left of the door, which opens directly onto the kitchen area. This is particularly useful if you’re just after coffee or one of the toasties/rolls. There are copies of the menus here, while the espresso machine (I believe that it’s the same one that Surrey Hills used) is at the back, so you can watch your coffee extracting. Talking of which, you’ll find the familiar Canopy house-blend from Skylark Coffee on espresso, along with decaf, while if you really are in a hurry, there’s a weekly single-origin (the Mustefa Abba, a naturally-processed coffee from Ethiopia, during my visit) on batch brew.

Although primarily catering to takeaway trade (Canopy only has disposable cups, so don’t forget to bring your own), there is a solitary four-person table on the left, opposite the hatch, which is a very pleasant place to sit and watch the world go by while you sip your coffee. This is what I did when I popped by on Friday morning to start my day with a flat white in my HuskeeCup. Smooth and sweet, it was exactly what I’ve come to expect from Canopy. Having tried the vegan flat bread the last time I went to Canopy, I paired my flat white with the double cheese toastie, which was sublime, the bread crisply toasted and the cheese oozing out from the sides. If I was still doing the Best Cheese Toastie Award, this would be the front-runner!

LONDON SQUARE • CROSS LANES • GUILDFORD • GU1 1UN
www.instagram.com/canopy_londonsquare
Monday 08:00 – 15:00 Roaster Skylark Coffee (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 08:00 – 15:00 Seating Table (outside)
Wednesday 08:00 – 15:00 Food Sandwiches, Soup, Cake
Thursday 08:00 – 15:00 Service Counter
Friday 08:00 – 14:00 Cards Cards + Cash
Saturday CLOSED Wifi No
Sunday CLOSED Power No
Chain Local Visits 26th August 2022

Liked this? Then take a look at the rest of Guildford’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Guildford.


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