2020, what a year it has been in Dorking. As we draw to a close, we’re sure a welcome relief will be felt by many as we hope for a prosperous new year. We’re sure we don’t need to spell out all of the lows of this year. Instead, let us reflect on the wonderful events and news in Dorking during 2020. Here’s to ending with a high!


This year marked 400 years since the sailing of the Mayflower to North America, or the New World as it was referred to during the time. Unfortunately, many of the festivities commemorating this historical moment were put on hold until safe to do so in future. Though a lapse in a year, there are commemorative events to be held in 2021, should it be safe to do so. One to look forward to in the coming year!


Despite the odds, one local gin distillery crafted a limited-edition gin to commemorate the sailing of the Mayflower. Named ‘Saints and Strangers’, The Gin Kitchen, located on Punchbowl Lane, produced the Mayflower inspired gin to memorialise the perilous voyage undertaken to freedom in the new world. You can read our full blog on this here.

Community Spirit

Dorking has always had a tremendous community spirit which binds us together in celebration of our heritage, spirit, and culture. This year, the community truly showed its sense of compassion and gratitude for one and other to help and support not only our local businesses but others in need during the difficult times. Many offered to help those shielding with errands such a shopping and local businesses turned to delivery and click and collect to maintain minimal contact. We were able to adapt as a community to help one and other which truly makes Dorking a special place.

During the lockdown, Mid Surrey Community Fridges provided food and support to many people who are really struggling and often have no food in the house. When asked in our blog, read here, how the community were able to help, Clare Davies responded: “The community has been fantastic during lockdown, springing into action with volunteering and fundraising events … In fact, instead of the doom and gloom that the media would give us, what I see every day is selflessness, love and caring.” This is such a reflection of how our community in Dorking came together and should be celebrated as this year draws to a close.

Shop Dorking Support Local

Dorking Town Partnership launched its campaign of Shop Dorking Support Local. It has been an incredible success within the community and has had an affect on local businesses in Dorking. Many during lockdown quickly adapted and began to offer click and collect services, some even delivery. We pulled together as a community and show our loyalty to Dorking’s retailers and businesses.

This campaign is only in its inception. As we move into the new year, Shop Dorking Support Local will grow and expand, with exciting competitions, greater awareness, and a stronger sense of shopping locally. If lockdown taught us one thing, is that local expertise and service with a smile is valued so much when it was taken away. Let’s jump into 2021 with the same energy that we showed local businesses this year! Read here some ways in which you can Shop Dorking Support Local.

Park For Free After Three

From 2 October 2020, Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) working with Dorking Town Partnership offered free parking every Friday from 3pm in St Martin’s Walk, Wathen Road, Southside and West Street car parks. This is to be continued until the 26th of February 2021.

The Park for Free after Three initiative, funded by Dorking Town Partnership, will continue to encourage residents to shop locally and support the town’s businesses. Tickets are not needed during the free parking periods.

Eat Out To Help Out

Dorking diners delighted in a tasty discount at 22 participating establishments during August under the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme. Every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday between 3rd and 31st August, diners 50% discount on food and soft drinks (up to a maximum of £10 discount per diner) when they ate or drank in at a participating outlet.

Eat Out to Help Out

The scheme was a huge success in Dorking, giving many eateries in Dorking the boost they needed during this year. Thank you to all those who continue to dine in Dorking – here’s to 2021 with more dining experiences. You can see who was part of the Eat Out To Help Out scheme here.

Loyal Free and Dorking Minds Charity

During lockdown, LoyalFree app created new trails on their app which showed shops in Dorking offering click and collect and delivery. The LoyalFree app ‘Give As You Save’ initiative raised over £180 to mental health charity Dorking Minds. The award winning high street app, which promotes local businesses and interactive trails, donated 1p to charity every time a loyalty stamp was collected.

Dorking Minds is a wonderful charity that aims to help people in the Dorking area take control of their community’s mental health by providing subsidised courses and support including a new suicide prevention training. Thank to everyone who uses LoyalFree, not only do you get great savings but you have also made a big impact in the community this year!

We look forward to continuing to share news and support Dorking’s community and business in 2021. Follow us on social media (@HelloDorking) or sign up to mailing list here – you could win £500 in travel vouchers if you do!

Have a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Hello Dorking

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