Everything You Need to Know About Buying a Property in Dorking
Nestled in the Surrey Hills, the historic market town of Dorking is surrounded by wooded hills and open downland and yet is less than 30 miles from London. Often seen as a quieter town than nearby Leatherhead and Guildford, its charms have attracted buyers for years, and it’s easy to see why.
Why buy in Dorking?
Offering stunning Surrey countryside, a bustling town centre, good schools and period properties that don’t come with the price tags of some other towns in the area, there are plenty of reasons why Dorking is proving a property hotspot, particularly with people looking to move out of London.
The beautiful setting of the town attracts many. The Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Box Hill and Leith Hill are all on Dorking’s doorstep, while the Deepdene Trail starts just 15 minutes walk away from the centre of town and lets visitors explore the gardens, temples and woodlands around the Deepdene Estate. Tackling the stepping stones across the River Mole is a popular activity for all ages, while younger family members will no doubt enjoy Meadow Bank Park with its green spaces, wildlife, soft play and playground.
Handily located by St Martin’s Walk Shopping Centre, Meadow Bank Park is also well situated for the town’s vibrant shopping scene. This open-air shopping centre features a mix of well-known names, independent shops and an outdoor cafe area. The space also hosts many of Dorking’s popular events and festivals, including farmers markets and Christmas activities. The traditional weekly Friday market has run for over 700 years and is held in St Martin’s Walk car park.
Other shopping areas worth a visit include West Street, which is famous for its antiques as well as being home to Dorking Museum, and the High Street, which offers independent boutiques, art galleries and florists alongside larger chain stores.
Once a year, West Street is also host to Dorking Westival, a charity music festival based in and around the pubs in the street.
Indeed, Dorking also has much to offer when it comes to evening entertainment, with dining options ranging from the Michelin-starred Sorrel restaurant to the many cosy pubs in and around the town. Dorking Halls has been part of the community for over 85 years and offers a programme of film screenings, music, comedy, theatre and more. Just behind the halls, the Green Room Theatre hosts Dorking Dramatic and Operatic Society productions.
The fantastic Denbies Wine Estate is also worth mentioning, which is open for lunch, dinner, tours, tastings and special events.
Schools in Dorking
Dorking has a good selection of state and independent schools at all levels. The Busy Bees Day Nursery, Dorking Nursery School and St Paul’s Church Nursery School are all rated outstanding by Ofsted.
St Paul’s CofE primary school was also rated outstanding at its last Ofsted inspection, while a whole host of schools were rated ‘good’. This includes North Downs Primary, Powell Corderoy and St Johns CofE primary schools. When it comes to state secondary schools, The Ashcombe School is rated good, as is The Priory. High-performing independent schools include the girls-only St Teresa’s and the co-ed Huntswood House.
In terms of further and higher education, East Surrey College in Redhill has a wide selection of full-time and part-time courses and The University of Surrey in nearby Guildford offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
One of Dorking’s undoubted strengths is its transport links to the capital and beyond, with road, rail and bus connections that make getting around easy.
Trains from Dorking (Main) to London Victoria or London Waterloo take around an hour and cost £14.50 each way at peak times. You can also get from Dorking (Deepdene) to London Bridge at about the same time. This line also takes you to Gatwick in less than half an hour. If you want to travel toward Reading or Redhill, Dorking West station is another option, with prices starting from £15.50 for a single ticket to Reading.
Road-wise, Dorking is on the A24 and A25, which means drivers can reach Guilford in around 30 minutes and the M25 in 10-15 minutes, depending on traffic. Driving to Gatwick or Heathrow Airports should take less than an hour. There are more than 19,000 electric car charging points across the town.
For more local journeys, a comprehensive bus network covers the wider county of Surrey. Dorking is also popular with cyclists, with more than 300 routes for riders to explore.
House prices in Dorking
While house prices in Dorking are some way above the national average, they do tend to be lower than many neighbouring Surrey towns. Properties had an overall average price of £544,809 over the last year, according to Rightmove.
Terraced properties accounted for the majority of sales, selling for an average price of £464,654. Semi-detached properties sold for an average of £557,211, with flats fetching £321,431.
Overall, sold prices in Dorking over the last year were 15% up on the previous year and 5% up on the 2020 peak of £519,777.
Where to live in Dorking?
Dorking offers a wide variety of properties in a number of popular styles. Eighteenth century cottages, imposing detached Victorian family homes, 1920s semis and modern apartments sit side by side, helping to attract a wide variety of buyers.
Popular areas include the Rose Hill conservation area and the smart roads around Horsham Road and Flint Hill, although expect to pay well over £1 million for detached properties in these areas. Just off Flint Hill, Knoll Road and its surrounding private roads provide some of the most highly regarded housing within the town. Other areas to consider include North Holmwood on the outskirts of the town, where a two-bedroom home could come in around the £300,000-£350,000 mark, Park Copse and Dorking Rural West.
We aim to be the best value and most flexible surveyors in Dorking, offering a comprehensive, impartial survey, invaluable follow-on advice, and a friendly, professional and responsive service at all times.