The village lies on the eastern side of the river Mole valley near the foot of Box Hill along a north-south route, which once formed the main London Road between Leatherhead and Dorking. The by-pass (A24), constructed in the early 1930s, has saved the village from the modern volume of traffic, and the historic centre remains essentially as one narrow, winding street with a sweep of Victorian and later development around the curve of the main road to the north-east.
During the French Revolution the area was noted for many distinguished French exiles. Juniper Hall was taken by a number of them and it became a principal meeting place. One of the group, General d’Arblay, married the authoress Fanny Burney in 1793. She was a friend of Mr. and Mrs. Locke of Norbury Park, and her sister Susanna, Mrs. Phillips, lived at what is now Mickleham Cottage. Fanny Burney went from here to Mickleham Church for her quiet and private wedding.
The old London Road remains a major through route for many walkers who are attracted to the area, but the village retains its quiet character and simplicity. The church of St. Michael forms a focal point at the historic core of the village, while the Victorian area to the north-east is well seen, hugging the steep hillside, when travelling north on the main road.