Spend a weekend in Dorking
Whether the wild outdoors is your thing, professional football (this weekend it’s Wanderers v Maidenhead) or you’d rather peruse some superb modern art (or antiquities), or you’d rather nest down in a microbrewery/historic coffee shop/award-winning restaurant for a few hours, we’ve something to delight all manner of passions here in our beautiful market town of Dorking.
Here we will share how to make the most of your time here in just three days. With so much to see and do (and eat!), we have excellent recommendations — made by a world traveller who happens to call Dorking home.
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If you’re a practised mini-breaker who has already found Dorking, we salute you. For those who haven’t found our secret? Let us share something special; when you’ve more than a few hours, the doors to all things Dorking start to open. The town centre starts to reach outwards, and the stunning Surrey Hills open up before you. Life here is paced to match you, so don’t hurry – enjoy the views, the atmosphere, the lifestyle. Take a weekend, and let us show you around!
Whether you arrive by train or car, you can’t fail to see the lush landscape opening out before you as you arrive. Start to breathe, set down your bags, and then get in the mood by taking in a little culture at the volunteer-led Dorking Museum and Heritage Centre.
So now you’re starting to unwind, let’s grab a welcoming aperitif in our fabulous White Horse on the High Street, the Grape Variety, or grab a sundowner at the Old House or the multi-award winning Cobbetts Beer Shop and Micropub. Those in the know book a room at the White Horse Hotel too, but either way it’s a great base to begin your weekend away, especially if you go authentic and try out our local gins from Silent Pool and the Gin Kitchen.
Time for some pampering? A little refresh ready for the evening? We’ve a host of stylish salons at your disposal; pop in to Darren James Bye, the multi-award-winning Teresa Weller Hair Art, Unparalleled Hair, or Dorking Barbers on the High Street for a quick men’s trim and old fashioned wet shave. If you’re looking for a specialist, expert spa treatment, why not pop into Si Salon or the full service, award-winning Mayflower Spa for complete luxury pampering?
Afterwards, head down the High Street into South Street to the fabulous award-winning Queen’s Head for dinner. If the sun is shining, you can grab a table in the garden or, if it’s a little chilly, snag a cosy table inside in the corner (number 7 is our favourite). They serve up pub classics with a modern twist and the portions are hearty and generous. There’s always a terrific atmosphere here and the bar staff are first class. Or if you fancy amazing Asian cuisine, we are spoilt for choice: walk back up the high street to Sang Thai, we have the friendly and fresh Chinese Fountain Garden on West Street and Chifan Restaurant at the top of town (a local favourite), and then there’s Dorking Brasserie on Junction Road.
Fancy dancing the night away with a fabulous DJ? Boogie on down to Knox at 287 High Street where you'll find the perfect combination of the right dining with amazing cocktails and a gorgeous space to show your moves.
The Grape Variety (TGV) at 272 High Street combines an emerald tiled bar, chandeliers and views out to Denbies vineyard, TGV Dorking is the perfect place to pop in for happy hour with colleagues or enjoy a bottle of something chilled for date night.
There’s always a great buzz on a Saturday morning in Dorking and there’s a range of breakfast options available to you. Holmestores does the best Mexican Eggs and avocado on toast and perfectly formed full english breakfast (as well as vegan and gluten-free options), and they serve a mean fresh coffee that comes from beans from the local Box Hill roastery. If last night was a good one, you might want to try Pepe’s instead, where they will cook you up the works or a terrific sausage butty on floury doorstop bread.
Get your shop on for the rest of the day with a bit of retail therapy with our other itineraries – shopper’s delight, or partake in the foodie escape, or go on an art adventure around Dorking. The choice is yours. Just remember to make dinner reservations!
We love Sundays in Dorking. One of the joys of living here is that within minutes of the bustling town, you can step out and find yourself in the surrounding countryside of the Surrey Hills.
Grab yourself a bite at Too Many Cooks on South Street, historic Mullins Coffee Shop on West Street, or the new Putty Cakes cafe, all of which offer a delicious selection of coffee, tea and CAKE — it’s just a case of finding an available table amidst the weekend bustle. If you fancy something sweet, pop in to Cosy Moose at Pump Corners for one, or a box of macarons or the brand new, family owned Coughlan’s Bakery at 156 High Street.
If you want to get your antiques shop on, visit Talbots - open seven days a week - a veritable emporium of antiques goodies on West Street.
And then go off the beaten path for the day. Discover the Deepdene Trail, hike to Leith Hill, check out the Stepping Stones or pick your own adventure in our glorious part of the Surrey Hills. Check out our 'off the beaten path' itinerary and list of Dorking Museum tours. You won’t regret it.
Photos courtesy of Dorking Camera Club, Mullins Coffee Shop and The Queens Head.