Living in Dorking
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In addition to the local services, our Living in Dorking guide will give you a sense of what life is like in the area – its history, culture and recreational activities.
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What Is Life Like In Dorking?
Nestled in the picturesque Surrey Hills, Dorking is a quiet rural town surrounded by golf courses and outstanding natural beauty. It is a fantastic hub for young families, first time buyers and commuters who want to be anchored in the charming countryside, with fast links to London and nearby towns.
The rural beauty of Surrey inspired much of the poetry of Lord Alfred Tennyson, Poet Laureate. Dorking itself was a home away from home for Charles Dickens, who stayed at the White Horse Hotel whilst writing The Pickwick Papers.
There is still a relaxed pace of life in Dorking, with a market held in the town every Friday in St. Martins Walk, and worship services held every Sunday and Wednesday at St. Pauls Church. This small town has great amenities, including excellent schools, a Sainsbury’s supermarket, and three train stations with fast services into London, Brighton and surrounding towns.
History Of Dorking
Dorking has its roots as a Saxon settlement, with its name deriving from the Saxon ‘Dorchingas’. The town itself sits on the Roman Stane Street road which was used by the Romans as a direct link between London and Chichester.
With the introduction of the Epsom Turnpike in 1755, Dorking became something of a recreational hotspot, giving Londoners a destination to enjoy farm markets, fresh air and the rolling Surrey Hills. The town has retained much of its historic character while developing better roads and railway infrastructure.
Days Out In Dorking
For days out in Dorking, you can expect countryside retreats and a range of cultural activities in the town itself.
Don your wellies because Dorking is the perfect countryside grounding for access to cycling, walking and jogging opportunities in the Surrey Hills. Located on the outskirts of town is Box Hill with dramatic views of the North Downs’ chalk escarpment and the River Mole.
For an even more relaxed day out, visit the local wine estate for tours and wine tastings set in an estate house on the edge of Dorking. Here you can expect stunning views of the countryside and a delicious array of wines.
Commuters love this location for its excellent railway connections into London and Brighton, as well as being only 26 miles away from Charing Cross by car. Take advantage of this with days out in the City, or a trip to the culture capital of the south coast.
Things To Do In Dorking
Although Dorking is a rural town, there are many local amenities and things to do.
Enjoy a round of golf at Dorking’s well stablished golf club, or roll with the Dorking Cycling Club as a member of their organised group rides and races. Alternatively, you can give Dorking Badminton or Camera Club a whirl as you make the most of this beautiful town.
Shopping in Dorking is a vintage affair mixed with independent shops and high street chains. The town is famous among residents and tourists for its thriving antiques trade. Along West Street, which has been said to be Britain’s oldest street, you will stumble across a host of delightful old pubs and stores dealing in antiques. Here you will also find the Dorking Museum, which is home to archaeological discoveries as well as paintings and exhibits on medieval life in Dorking.
With a population of only 11,185, necessities are well covered by the local Sainsbury’s, Londis and Lidl which are all located within the tow.
Schools In Dorking
For a small town, Dorking offers a great range of educational facilities.
Nurseries and Pre-schools include:
- Dorking Nursery School
- Abinger Common Nursery
- Holmbury St Mary Playgroup
- Little Doves Pre-school
Primary schools include:
- Abinger Common First School
- Powell Corderoy Primary School
- St Joseph's Catholic Primary School
Secondary schools include:
- The Ashcombe School
- The Priory Cofe Voluntary Aided School
Transport In Dorking
Dorking is a rural town, but well connected by roads, rail and cycling routes – including the Olympic road race route from London.
Dorking is well connected via its railway station – with direct trains to London Victoria taking just 50 minutes.
Buses and coaches
There are services running between Dorking, surrounding towns and villages as well as to Brighton. This includes the route 772 which connects Dorking, Chapel, Warnham, Broadbridge Heath, Cowfold and Brighton.
London Gatwick is the nearest international airport, only 8.4 miles from Dorking. London Heathrow is also only 17 miles away.
Dorking is located on the A24, which serves as a route between London and the south coast, ending one mile west of Brighton. Dorking is only 29 miles from Charing Cross.