Things to Do in Dorking: Visit the Dorking Museum, of course
As a Dorking resident, I thoroughly enjoy visiting the volunteer-led museum with my small children. We make it part of our half-term fun – walk the dog, hit the playground, visit the cafes, and enjoy our museum. They immediately head for the dress-up stand, the interactive Deepdene Trail station, the dinosaur bones and fossils, the impressive mineral display, the giftshop (no, I’ve already bought you a reasonably priced stuffed dinosaur!) and then they spend another 20 minutes colouring a Rob Walker car, a William Mullins Mayflower boat, and a dinosaur. We all have a ball.
We recently had an opportunity to visit the amazing South Street Caves, also managed by the Dorking Museum, and again, totally volunteer-led. It was fascinating, historic, and fun – and don’t forget to bring a light coat!
Dorking is full of hidden treasures. You just need to know where to look. Join us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and share your experiences with us, whether they are stories or photos. We’ll post them on our channels so that locals and visitors can experience all that Dorking has to offer in your own words.
Sunday 14th July – 2.00pm
Sunday 11th August – 2.00pm
Sunday 12th May – 11.00am
Sunday 23rd June – 11.00am
Hidden Dorking Historic Walk – Saturday 16th March – 3.00pm
Hidden Dorking Historic Walk – Sunday 7th April – 11.00am
In June, this is what you can expect when you visit the fantastic Dorking Museum, provided by David Burton.
The Days of King Dor – a touring exhibition from Leasingstede Museum
Our latest intriguing exhibition is already creating amusement, fascination, puzzlement, wonder and more among museum visitors. It results from the chance discovery of an old wooden chest, which was labelled “Dorking”, by the curators of Leasingstede Museum, a fictitious village folk museum somewhere in the West country.
The artefacts, which shed light on Dorking’s past, challenge the accepted version of local history, with new information about Box Hill, the Dorking hens, cycling, and local work and pastimes – and radishes. How the wooden chest came into the folk museum’s possession is unclear, but it is fascinating to discover a link between Leasingstede and Dorking.
Leasingstede Museum is an ongoing artwork by Jane Williams, who says “Dorking and the surrounding area has a vibrant and rich history. I am delighted that, in the exhibition ‘The Days of King Dor’, I can reveal aspects of this history which will have escaped the notice of even your most diligent local historians. Treasures like the coins from the reign of King Dor, which were found by metal detectorists from Leasingstede Museum, bring Dorking’s past to life. Who owned the coins? What did they buy with them? They are also shinier and bigger than most coins from the Dark Ages in Surrey.”
Town Centre Pub Walks
One of the Museum’s popular guided Town Centre Pub Walks is open for individual bookings on Sunday 23rd June at 11am, starting from the Halifax on Dorking High Street, opposite the Surrey Yeoman. Join us in a stroll through Dorking’s past as told around its many hostelries, pubs and inns, both past and present. See some of their ‘hidden’ features and hear about how the local residents behaved – and misbehaved – through the words of a heroic policeman of Victorian times. The tour lasts an hour and a half. See website for details, further dates and bookings. Group bookings can be made for the pub walks or any of our other popular guided walks through the website.
South Street Caves tours
Take a trip under the streets of Dorking to explore the famous 17th century caves. Discover how they were created and how they evolved over the centuries. Check out the ‘mystery chamber’ and guess what it was used for. Tours last 45 minutes and sensible shoes are needed! The tours are so popular that the June Open Day is already sold out, so book ahead for later tours or book a group tour for your group, organisation or family and friends. Check website for details and further dates, or email email@example.com to arrange a group tour.
The Deepdene: A Landscape Rediscovered
‘The Deepdene: A Landscape Rediscovered’ is a welcome new book that gives insight into the fascinating story of the growth, fame and decline of an historic local estate and the recent revitalisation that restores some of its former glory.
The once famed Deepdene estate, the origins of which date back to the 17th century, was thought to be lost to the ravages of time, having suffered the fate of many of the great English estates in the 20th century. Its rediscovery and reopening has been one of the great heritage success stories. The book that tells the story of the rise, fall and revival of this local treasure is a work of love and respect by Alexander Bagnall, who has worked on Deepdene for Mole Valley District Council for more than a decade and has overseen the Council’s efforts to rescue the surviving remnants.
‘The Deepdene: A Landscape Rediscovered’ by Alexander Bagnall is published by The Cockerel Press, £15, and available from Dorking Museum (shop and online shop). More information about The Deepdene Trail can be found at www.deepdenetrail.co.uk and www.dorkingmuseum.org.uk. The Dorking Museum walks team runs regular guided walks for individuals or group walks by appointment: see website for details and booking.
The Museum is at 62 West Street, Dorking RH4 1BS. Open Thursday, Friday, Saturday 10am-4pm. Visit www.dorkingmuseum.org.uk. Enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01306 876591.