TOWN & COUNTRY: Dorking & Abinger Hammer

Surrey Life|March 2020

TOWN & COUNTRY: Dorking & Abinger Hammer
A perfect launchpad into the Surrey Hills, Dorking has long been celebrated for its antiques shops but has increasingly made its name as a food and drink hub in recent years. Here are just a few of the reasons you should think about exploring
James Knighton

Stood at one of Surrey’s most famous viewpoints, Box Hill, it feels like you can see the edge of the world on the horizon. Lower your eyes for a moment and you’ll find the town of Dorking, sprawling out from around the spire of St Martin’s Church.

Depending on your direction of travel into town, you may head past England’s largest single estate vineyard, one of Surrey’s premium antiques and interiors shopping streets, one of the nation’s great lost landscapes or a giant cockerel forged from steel. Clearly, Dorking is not your average town.

In West Street, you’ll find the heart of Dorking’s independent spirit with its antiques shops packed full of unique treasures, coffee shops and pubs, one of the best beer shops/micropubs in Surrey (Cobbett’s Real Ale), The Gilliangladrag Fluff-a-torium (seriously, check it out!) and the Head for the Hills bike shop, where you can shop for electric bikes, as well as the traditional variety.

Jump on a bike from Dorking and you can explore some of Surrey’s most charming villages and pristine beauty spots, such as the aforementioned Box Hill or the highest point in South East England at Leith Hill Tower. That countryside also plays host to some exceptional Surrey food and drink producers, including but not limited to Chimney Fire Coffee, Dorking Brewery, The Gin Kitchen and Hill House Farm (as well as those mentioned in the Abinger Hammer section later!).

Back in the town centre though, you’ll find an elongated High Street with what seems on a quick glance to be thousands of shops. Highlights include the award-winning Dorking Butchery, St Martin’s Walk, Kuoni Travel and The White Horse hotel. To list them all would be to create a directory, but it’s also where most of the national brands can be found.


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March 2020