Dorking - please can anyone give me an honest lowdown?

(23 Posts)
incapableofdecisions Fri 15-Apr-16 18:01:54

I'd be really grateful if anyone could spare the time to give me some honest feedback. We are having to relocate a couple of hundred miles due to my husband's job and are considering dorking. It seems a pretty and large enough town in gorgeous countryside and the schools seem good. However I am slightly worried that for a growing family who are used to a city, it might just be a bit dull - the estate agent called it "sleepy surrey"? (am hoping I'm wrong). Are there lots of interesting/alternative/arty things going on? Is it very golf club? Do teenagers get bored stiff? Did you move to dorking with your family and now have regrets and and desperate to get out? And if so where would you chose instead? Or are you very happy with your lot? Any feedback would be really welcome. Many, many thank yous.

SmallBee Fri 15-Apr-16 18:04:11

I've never been to Dorking but live in Surrey. Tbh Dorking doesn't have a vibrant reputation, it's just sort of..... There.
Godalming and Guildford however do have a lot going on, as well as Farnham although I think that's further away.

Sixweekstowait Fri 15-Apr-16 18:47:45

I've lived in Dorking for 32 years ( dd was 3 when we arrived). I'm not going to move now but it's a funny little town . Very dull - not arty or alternative at all. Nice countryside, a super restaurant - we read the Guardian and are considered a bit 'leftie'. Nice complex with the Dorking Halls with cinema and concerts, local folk club. Wouldn't recommend it - Guildford is better but more expensive. Does that matter? It's not golf club - it's sort of lower middle class

Sixweekstowait Fri 15-Apr-16 18:50:01

PS - I'm very interesting though and not the slightest lower middle class grin

incapableofdecisions Fri 15-Apr-16 20:12:07

Eeek. Thanks for your answers, kind of what I thought I might get but hoped I wouldnt! Oh god, that might mean starting our search again. So Guildford , godalming, Farnham - anywhere else you'd recommend with the usual nice community/state schools/interestingish vibe? We've got about £650,000 and would need four beds and preferably a garden....

incapableofdecisions Fri 15-Apr-16 20:45:28

And Bourdic, I'm sure you're lovely and very interesting!

SmallBee Fri 15-Apr-16 21:41:11

You'd get more for your money in Woking, it's not as pretty as the others but the theatre is miles better. They are putting lots of money into revamping the whole town centre with lots of new restaurants etc as they are building a lot more homes . London is increasingly to expensive as are the three towns I've already mentioned, but Woking is 35 minutes to Waterloo and close to the M3 & M25 so people are beginning to look there.
Money no object I'd choose Guildford, loads of places to eat, lots of arts stuff , a couple of good gig venues and lots to do as a teenager. (I went to Guildford college) do you want to be in the town centre or would you consider the surrounding villages? Both Woking and Guildford have good villages and ones to avoid!

incapableofdecisions Sat 16-Apr-16 07:41:24

Thanks small bee. I actually spent 8 years outside Woking as a child when it was a cultural wasteland which has always put me off but maybe I should reconsider. We'd like to be within a mile or so of the station but able to access greenery which was why dorking seemed so good on paper. Bourdic - do you think dorking might have potential to suddenly get interesting? (asks desperately). I went to a cafe and the library and looked at the notice boards for arty little things going on but they just weren't there - it seems weird ....

Fortunatepiggy Sat 16-Apr-16 10:32:30

We are in Guildford and like it a lot. Loads of nice restaurants ( which we can no longer afford to go to!) since having ds! And loads to do for kids

V pretty and near countryside. Traffic is a nightmare though. Dorking is nice but a bit sleepy in my opinion

Sixweekstowait Sat 16-Apr-16 21:30:02

Incapable - oh dear, I do wish I thought it might get interesting ! The most exciting thing that has happened recently is that a proper butchers has opened. Perhaps if you did come to live here, you might be the catalyst for making it interesting! I do have to say though that the Gourmet Evenings at 2-4 ( which we live in staggering distance from) could not be bettered.

Saz23sunshine Mon 18-Apr-16 15:33:54

Hello! Dorking is lovely, but some locally regard it as 'sleepy'. Its the kind of place we would consider moving to when our kids have left home, for a quieter pace of life. We know teenagers in Guildford, Epsom and Dorking, and some of the villages in between! They ALL head to Guildford for their social life. (Parties would tend to take place at Guildford Spectrum too, when they were junior school age - we hardly ever took them to parties at Woking or Dorking amenities.) Consider villages on the 'stopping' train line (South West Trains, Waterloo to Guildford via Cobham), then you are getting some areas with homes within your price range and the kids can have their independence as they grow up, and travel by themselves. We have friends who live on the outskirts of Dorking, but they don't have much to say about the town, which is strange as on paper it has all the amenities but not much feedback from the locals! Hope that helps! Sxx

incapableofdecisions Mon 18-Apr-16 22:09:54

Thanks so much Saz and everyone - lots of food for thought. I guess I just wanted Dorking to be right because then we could stop looking and I could stop waking up every morning thinking - oh god, where shall we move to? I know its ridiculous but I find myself almost completely incapable of making a feels like such a responsibility and I just don't want to get it wrong.Shame Guildford is so expensive ..Have i missed any areas of London that are wonderful but somehow not too expensive?

DIYwannabe Tue 26-Apr-16 09:30:53

What do your teens like to do? Because honestly, Dorking is lovely, and is close enough to other places that it doesn't really matter that its not 'busy'. Easy train service to Guildford, and to Gatwick.

Dorking Halls is very well run and has some great shows etc. Lots of communiy groups, sports groups etc.

I live about 5 minutes drive from Dorking so much more rural.

Ashcombe High school is very well regarded and a larger school than the average so your children will have the opportunity to make loads of friends. Teens of friends of ours have all seemed happy and now that they're off to uni always come back during the holidays.

incapableofdecisions Tue 26-Apr-16 09:55:13

Thank you DIY! I'm still in agonies of indecision. My boys like sport and i'm pretty sure that is well catered for? I guess it is my daughter I'm more worried about - she loves music and the performing arts and arty stuff generally which where we are now is very accessible. Also, I read on a mumsnet thread once that Dorking was so dull that there was a problem with bored underage kids drinking etc in the parks - I know this must be a huge generalisation but has added to my ridiculous circular worries. Do people often go up to London for nights out or is the journey just a bit too far?

Sixweekstowait Tue 26-Apr-16 11:04:46

Last trains back from either Waterloo or Victoria are about 11.30. Yes I do sometimes see the bored kids in the park but have never felt it was a huge issue. What sport does your ds do? I believe Brockham Rugby Club is well thought of.

DIYwannabe Tue 26-Apr-16 12:14:35

If you want sports for boys you are very well catered for. There are numerous theatre and music clubs that your daughter would be interested in.

I know a LOT of girls locally that have gone on to study music to a very high level. Loads of choirs, catering to all levels. Quite a number of amateur theatre groups. One of the local girls was appearing in The Lion King for quite awhile, until she outgrew the role.

The bored children in the parks would be bored anywhere. The teenagers I know have problems squeezing all of their activities in!

NJNR2016 Wed 27-Apr-16 15:20:18

Hi! We looked at Dorking but ended up vetoing it as there just didn't seem to be enough going on. It's lovely but certainly sleepy. Lots of beautiful countryside nearby on the plus side. I'd suggest looking at some of the other places suggested above by others. Guildford probably most buzzy, Woking a lot more affordable and there are places like Farnham too which have stuff going on. Hope that helps smile

stylejuicer Mon 05-Jun-17 23:03:28

incapableofdecisions I'm going through exactly the same agonising decision at the moment though our budget is lower and our boys are still little. So strange that Dorking hasn't got more of a buzz. Guildford is our preference but it's hideously (reassuringly?) expensive if you want to live within a mile of the train station. We're also looking at Epsom and will check out Dorking at some point for myself over the next few weeks. Please share any lightbulb moments on this thread as I'd be interested to hear how you're getting on. Good luck! Xx

NikkiSurrey Tue 06-Jun-17 11:57:42

What about Redhill/Reigate borders (Reigate would be too expensive for your brief I think?)
Redhill has huge investment into new multiplex cinema right now and there are numerous sports & music/drama opportunities across both towns (people tend to regard the two towns as the 'local area').

Trains into Victoria c 30 mins and London Bridge line is being revamped (although has had problems to date).

We've lived here 20 years and have teens and I think there is more going on in this area than Dorking, however the kids have friends all over the place and their social lives revolve around Reigate/Redhill/Dorking/Crawley/Caterham and occasionally into London. It's not all bad!

twofingersfinal Tue 06-Jun-17 18:10:34

I've lived in Redhill,Reigate and now Caterham which are all fairly local. I'd say all three have .ore going on than Dorking and a more vibrant feel, even Redhill and Caterham which have been a bit rundown but are on the up. Dorking is nice, quite, nice leisure centre, some good restaurants but I think I'd find it very boring and I'm in my forties. I think you'd get somewhere with with more for the kids to do in Redhill/Caterham/Warlingham/Coulsdon etc Reigate and Oxted are also very vibrant but house prices are higher.

farnhamflowerpot Wed 07-Jun-17 05:57:20

I'm just outside Farnham. It's v arty with the Uni of Creatuve Arts, and a lot of craft in the area. Schools are good, with South Farnham featuring v high on various lists. Also Weydon school excellent with great sporting facilities. Farnham has a strong and active rugby club for all ages. The Maltings has screenings of films, music, comedians, monthly markets, craft fairs etc. Pretty Georgian streets... in places.

We bought a buy to let about 300 yes from the station last year. 3 beds, 2 baths with permit parking outside for £550k. Not much garden, though! You'd need to look in the South Farnham area for best housing and school opportunities.

Frensham ponds and Devils Punchbowl at Hindhead and in between. Great walking countryside!

Trains to London twice an hour and take about an hour.

PM me if you want to chat more.

farnhamflowerpot Wed 07-Jun-17 05:58:41

Oh, I grew up with Dorking as my local town. I agree with the others up thread! It's pretty dull - can't figure out why - as it should prosper more than it does.

midsummerbee Fri 23-Jun-17 17:28:29

Dorking is a very good place for families. There are some excellent schools (primary and secondary). There are good sports facilities/clubs eg. running club, cricket club, Brockham rugby club all of which have good junior sections. Dorking sports centre is only 15 yrs old and has a good pool and is home to the local Swimming club. There are various drama/arts options eg. Stage coach and perform. There is a newish waitrose. Shopping generally could be better but you can get things delivered to Waitrose(john lewis stuff) Marks or Tesco..or pop on the train to Guildford which only takes 15 minutes. Dorking Halls has a cinema and theatre. The surrounding countryside is wonderful. on inset days you can easily do a day out to London or the coast. Bluewater or Kingston 40mins drive for major shopping. It is easy to get to Portsmouth/Dover/Gatwick/Heathrow for holidays. The drawbacks are the slow train service to London and cost of housing. It suits people who enjoy the outdoors...walking etc.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now