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Dorking town guide 2015

PUBLISHED: 09:58 21 August 2015 | UPDATED: 10:18 21 August 2015

Dorking's famous cockerel greets visitors to the town (Photo: Matthew Williams)

Dorking's famous cockerel greets visitors to the town (Photo: Matthew Williams)

Archant

Home to England’s largest single-estate vineyard, a giant cockerel and the antique shop lined West Street, Dorking is a thriving market town at the foot of the cycling nirvana and beauty spot, Box Hill

A Surrey countryside view from Box Hill (Photo: Matthew Williams)A Surrey countryside view from Box Hill (Photo: Matthew Williams)

Originally published in A Celebration of Surrey Life

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Did you know?

1 Marking an unusual welcome to the town, the 10ft-tall Dorking Cockerel was created by Leatherhead’s Fire & Iron Gallery and has become quite the centre of attention – often getting decorated by guerrilla knitters to mark occasions such as the Olympics or Jubilee.

2 Packed with ancient shops that brim with treasures, West Street is one of the oldest roads in Dorking and frequented by collectors.

3 The historic street was also once home to William Mullins, a Pilgrim Father who sailed across the Atlantic on the Mayflower to America on September 16, 1620.

4 Among Dorking Museum’s earliest artefacts is The Ashcombe Collection, a large collection of fossils and bones of extinct animals (all found locally), together with a valuable collection of minerals; donated on the death of Henry Cubitt, 2nd Lord Ashcombe, in the late 1940s.

5 England’s largest vineyard, Denbies Wine Estate can be found in Dorking. In 2011, their Chalk Ridge Rosé 2010 was named best rosé in the world by the International Wine Challenge.

6 Having originally been based on the Albury Estate, Surrey Hills Brewery is now also based at Denbies. Over 95% of the beer they brew is consumed within 15 miles of the brewery.

7 The National Trust’s Box Hill has a superb look-out at the top, giving incredible views over the town and surrounding countryside. Its slopes have long tested hobby cyclists but became a focal point for international competitors with the Olympic road race.

8 Leith Hill, the highest point in the south-east of England, is also just a short drive away. This year, the 250th anniversary of its tower is being celebrated. The original owner, Richard Hull, is buried underneath.

9 The Hope Springs Eternal project aims to restore The Deepdene, one of the nation’s great forgotten estates, for the public. Work to the estate and landscape will see garden buildings, key paths and the site of the old Deepdene House, once the grand home of renowned Regency taste-maker Thomas Hope, transformed.

10 Another historic estate that had a bid for life as a tourist attraction a few years ago, Cherkley Court is currently being turned into a luxury hotel and golf resort despite much local protest. The property was formerly home of Lord Beaverbrook, the politician, writer and former owner of Express Newspapers.

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A pocket guide:

Drink at: For something a little different, try Cobbetts Real Ales – a shop with a bar…

Eat at: The Emlyn Restaurant has put the Burford Bridge Hotel firmly on the foodie map.

Stay at: The aforementioned Burford Bridge Hotel is found at the foot of Box Hill.

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