Itinerary: Independent Spirit
You might have heard it before, but we’re very proud of our independent spirit here in Dorking. The town has a unique vibe because of our inhabitants, their vision, their creativity, and their passion for making their own dreams come true.
If you like a little of the unique yourself, then you’ve come to the right place. Dorking is the perfect match of small town, big ideas. Let us share some of the best of our recent, upcoming and annual independent events…
Our DorKing Coronation Event was a brilliant display of our heritage, culture and spirit! It was a celebration of our community: encouraging sustainability, volunteerism, and supporting local products in our high street economy. The town has a strong volunteer ethos: we have had 29 local artists submit their work for our art competition; 60+ nominations for our community spirit awards, 22 volunteer groups participate in our volunteer village, 4 volunteer musical acts join in to perform at the celebration, 3 judges donate their time, and countless volunteers signed up on the day. Meet the winners of our community spirit awards and art competition.
Pippfest is a free annual festival that is taking place 3rd September at Pippbrook House. There’s live local music, an artist’s colony, healing fields, craft stalls, plus some exquisite food stalls (as well as some bars for the adults). It’s fun for the whole family, with children’s games aplenty, and you don’t even need a ticket.
More of an independent film buff? The Dorking Radical Film Festival is your chance to revel in some lesser known masterpieces in the Green Room Theatre in the heart of our town. Often the screenings are accompanied by poetry readings, or a topical guest speaker joins the evening, or the organisers will link the event with the work of local charities. Supporting this festival is high on our list.
And we haven’t even described our independent family-run shops yet. Families build businesses, and businesses build towns, and we’ve got them all; from S C Fuller, est. 1892 and still run by descendants of the original man, through to Mullins Coffee shop which is in the ancestral home of Williams Mullins, one of North America’s Pilgrim Fathers…
The Boothole turned 40 this year and the Dorking Model Shop also turns 40 this year, too. Eternal Tattoos is a sprightly 20 years old and that's just scratching the surface of our indie shops. Visit our directory of shops to get started, there are organised by categories of: Shop, Eat, Stay and Professional Services.
Be sure to visit Dorking and share your photos with us by tagging our social accounts at #HelloDorking – there’s a treasure around every corner waiting to be discovered by you. Dorking has, and is, been home to some of the most independently spirited and eclectic people around. It’s no surprise (to anyone who knows us) that we’ve been home to actors Laurence Olivier and Daniel Defoe, author Benjamin Disraeli and master builder Thomas Cubitt who built huge areas of London in the 19th Century. To name but a few.
Finally, we can’t let you go without mentioning Ralph Vaughan Williams, a former resident of Leith Hill Place and a composer with a conscience. It’s no coincidence his famously beautiful ‘Lark Ascending’ (1920) composition was suggested by a poem by George Meredith of nearby Box Hill. If you visit on a quiet day, you might even see one yourself.