Discover a car-free family weekend in Dorking with SWR

A car-free family weekend in Dorking

21 March 2022

Planning for a fun day out or weekend away with the kids in the south? Look no further than Dorking! Located around 21-miles south of London in the county of Surrey, this small market town isn’t short of character or charm.

There are plenty of things to do in Dorking with the family, from adrenaline-fueled outdoor activities to entertaining indoor activities on those quieter rainy days. You’ll find plenty of dining options for even the fussiest of eaters with our pick of the town’s most delicious restaurants, and if you’re planning to make a weekend out of your trip, there are lots of family-friendly hotels to choose from.

Ready to find out more about this wonderful town? Our handy guide will point you towards the best things to do for families in Dorking, most of which are just a short walk from Dorking train station.

Indoor activities for families in Dorking

We all know the UK’s weather can be unpredictable at the best of times – so make sure you plan for some indoor family activities during your stay in Dorking. From the fascinating museum to the action-packed sports centre, there’s plenty to keep the whole family entertained.

Paradox Parlours Escape Rooms

Jeffries House, Jeffries Passage, Guildford GU1 4AP, 01483 567607, paradoxparlours.com

Work together as a family and get your brains ticking at Paradox Parlours Escape Rooms. Perfect for older children, Paradox Parlours offers a selection of exciting, interactive themed rooms filled with clues and puzzles just waiting to be solved. During your stay, you could be doing anything from solving a murder to finishing a secret agents’ mission, and with themed rooms ranging from a sinister music studio to a creepy barbershop, no two experiences will be quite the same.

Age range: 11+

Pricing: £££

How to get here: From Dorking (Main), Paradox Parlours Escape Rooms is an 18-minute walk away.

Dorking Museum and Heritage Centre

62 West St, Dorking RH4 1BS, 01306 876591, dorkingmuseum.org.uk

If you’re looking to learn about Dorking’s rich history, then a trip to Dorking Museum and Heritage Centre should be on the cards. Showcasing a range of exhibitions, from pre-historic and medieval life in Dorking to wartime and the iconic Dorking cockerel, you’ll learn lots and have fun at the same time. Get the family involved with a fun painting or crafts activity or take a dip in the dressing-up box to see what you can find.

Exhibits at the Dorking Museum & Heritage Centre

Age range: All ages

Pricing: £

How to get here: It's under a 20-minute walk to Dorking Museum and Heritage Centre from Dorking (Main), or if you’d prefer to get there in seven minutes, you can hop on the number 465 bus towards Dorking and get off at South Street.

Dorking Sports Centre

Reigate Rd, Dorking RH4 1SN, 01306 870180, placesleisure.org

Fancy a dip? Or how about a quick-fire game of table tennis? At Dorking Sports Centre, it’s easy to make the most of rainy days when there’s so much fun to be had indoors. With an indoor pool, gym, sports court and more, there’s plenty to keep you entertained.

The main pool at Dorking Sports Centre

Age range: All ages

Pricing: £

How to get here: At just a 13-minute walk from Dorking (Main) station, it won’t take you long to get here.

Outdoor activities for families in Dorking

Get out in nature and let the kids burn off some steam with a fun outdoor activity in Dorking. With plenty of options to suit all ages, we promise you’ll never be bored.

Bedlam Splatmaster Kids Paintball Dorking

Henfold Lakes, Henfold Ln, Dorking RH5 4RW, 01306 772925, bedlampaintball.co.uk

Paintballing can be great, even if getting pelted with paint might not be your idea of fun. At Bedlam Kids Paintball, the company use low-impact ammo designed to splatter in the same way that the usual ammo does without the additional pain! Perfect for kids aged eight and over, this makes for a fun and unique family day out.

Age range: 8-11 years

Pricing: £££

Splatmaster Kids Paintball is a 24-minute walk from Holmwood station, or alternatively you can hop in a seven-minute taxi.

The Deepdene Walking Trail

Deepdene Ave, Dorking RH5 4AE, 01306 885001, deepdenetrail.co.uk

The Deepdene Walking Trail is located in the stunning grounds of the grand Deepdene Estate—so there’s more to this walking route than just plants and wildlife. Along the trail, keep on the lookout for historical monuments such as ancient statues and buildings, and take in the elaborate designs of one of England’s most historically significant gardens.

The Flint Steps at the Betchworth Estate

Age range: All ages

Pricing: Free

How to get here: There are many walking routes to explore which you can follow if you pick up a map during your visit. From Dorking (Main) station it is a 15-minute walk to the trail.

Best places for brunch and lunch in Dorking

Arto Restaurant

170-172 High St, Dorking RH4 1BG, 01306 644844, artorestaurant.co.uk

If you’re someone who doesn’t have much of a stomach for breakfast, then Arto Restaurant isn’t the place for you! With an impressive brunch menu ranging from mouth-watering fry ups to fluffy pancakes, you’ll want to have a full appetite before visiting here.

Interior of Arto Ristorante

Pricing: ££ - £££

How to get here: It takes just 15 minutes to walk here from Dorking (Main), or if you’d prefer, you can catch the number 22 bus via Abinger Hammer, ride for just three minutes and get off at The White Horse.

The Diner @ No.54

54 High St, Dorking RH4 1AY, instagram.com/diner_at_54

Head to one of Dorking’s most popular eateries for a huge selection of different breakfast and brunch options ranging from egg and ham to moreish, American-style pancakes. With vegan breakfast and brunch options available too, this is a diner that caters to all preferences.

Pricing: ££

How to get here: The Diner @ No.54 is a 17-minute walk from Dorking (Main), or alternatively, you can catch the 22 bus via Abinger Hammer, ride for three minutes and get off at The White Horse. From there, it’s a two-minute walk to your destination.

Best spots for dinner in Dorking

La Cucina Dorking Italian Restaurant

55 West St, Dorking RH4 1BS, 01306 887758, lacucina-dorking.co.uk

If you’re searching for an eatery that everyone will love, then La Cucina Dorking Italian Restaurant is the place for you. You simply can’t go wrong with some delicious Italian food, from cheesy pizza to traditional spaghetti bolognaise, so there’s bound to be something for even the pickiest of eaters.

Interior of La Cucina restaurant

Pricing: ££ - £££

How get here: It’s a 20-minute walk from Dorking (Main). If you’d prefer not to walk, catch the 465 bus towards Dorking, ride for seven-minutes and get off at South Street. The restaurant is then just a two-minute walk away.

Rooster’s Kitchen

7 London Rd, Dorking RH4 1RQ, 01306 640875, roosterkitchen.co.uk

For something a little different, head to Rooster’s Kitchen. Serving Mediterranean Turkish cuisine from charcoal grills and seafood to casseroles and mezzes, you can expect a high-quality dining experience at this popular Dorking restaurant. Round off your taste of Turkey with a delicious dessert, or why not sample one of the restaurant’s tempting cocktails?

Interior of Rooster's Kitchen restaurant

Pricing: ££

How to get here: This restaurant is just a 10-minute walk from Dorking (Main), making it the perfect pit-stop before you head home.

King’s Arms Dorking

45 West St, Dorking RH4 1BU, 01306 886496, kingsarmsdorking.co.uk

If you’re looking for some good ol’ British pub grub, then head to King’s Arms. As one of the most popular pubs in Dorking, you can expect to find a jolly atmosphere and a delicious menu here in this cosy 600-year-old building. Choose from pub classics like pies and curries, to mouth-watering burgers, hotdogs, chicken wings and more.

Food served at the King's Arms

Pricing: ££

How to get here: From Dorking (Main), King’s Arms is a 20-minute walk away, or just a four-minute journey on the number 93 bus towards Horsham. Get off at South Street and walk for three minutes to reach your destination.

Best places to stay for families in Dorking

You can find a range of accommodation types for the whole family in Dorking, regardless of your budget. Our top picks include:

  • Travelodge Dorking, at just a 12-minute walk from the train station
  • The White Horse, at a 15-minute walk from the station
  • Chart House, which is 20 minutes away on foot

With so much to see and do in Dorking, why not plan your trip now? Explore our flexible range of ticket types to find the right one for your journey. Make the most of cheap train tickets throughout your trip by going off-peak, and those with a Railcard could save even more.