by Janis / 0 comments - Orginally published:26th February 2019

Including dining at The Dozen

The 18th-century White Horse coaching inn is located in the historic market town of Dorking. 

Which you’ll find nestled amongst the rolling ‘Surrey Hills’ in the south of England, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Dorking is popular with cyclists, and those wishing to attempt part of the London 2012 Olympics road course can tackle Box Hill around 3 miles/ 5kms away.

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A bright yellow replica period delivery van for The White Horse & The Dozen in Dorking
Gerald, the Deli-van

Our review of The White Horse, Dorking

A blend of the old and the new
The White Horse has recently undergone a stylish refurbishment and is part of the "bespoke" Hotels family.
The lounge area of the White Horse Hotel, Dorking
The welcoming lounge space

The former coaching inns past has not been forgotten, and is said to be where Dicken's penned the Pickwick Papers.

The shilling instalments tell of the humorous tales of the Pickwick club and feature Dorking within its tales.

A wall of pictures on the White Horse Hotel, Dorking
Beautiful detail to enjoy.

Situated along the main High Street in Dorking, The White Horse hotel is very straightforward to find by car or on foot.

We arrived a little earlier than the check-in time of 3:00pm, as we wanted to discover a little more of historic Dorking.

Our car parked up in the White Horse Hotel in Dorking
Parked up safely in the off-road car park in our allocated space
We checked in with reception and there was no problem and our reserved car parking space was clearly marked. 
A polished stainless steel 1930's racing car in an antique shop in Dorking.
Discovering Dorking's Antiques Quarter

Hotel Parking

As we were driving it was important that the hotel had car parking. Refreshingly you are able to book ahead, rather than rely on a first-come, first-served basis. There was a charge of £10 a day and you were reserved a specific bay.

Our thoughs on The White Horse, Dorking

Living in history
Our first impressions of The White Horse were style and comfort, plenty of peaceful, cosy seating areas to relax in, amongst old wooden beams, open fireplaces and comfy sofas.
Seating around a large stone fireplace in the lounge area of the White Horse Hotel, Dorking
Around the fireplace in the lounge
The friendliness of the staff and their willingness to help make for a charming welcome.
The first-floor lobby of the White Horse Hotel in Dorking at dusk.
Traditional timbers that have seen some history
After checking in we were shown to our room, passing mysterious staircases, across creaking floorboards and through corridors that could hold secrets from centuries past.  Would weary travellers of old, have settled in, after braving the roads frequented by highwaymen?
The Tudor interior of the first floor corridors of White Horse Hotel in Dorking
Halls of history

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Our Bedroom at The White Horse, Dorking

A relaxing night in Dorking
Our accommodation for the night was a “Spacious” style room, and it undoubtedly was. We overlooked the historic High Street and for us it was peaceful throughout the night. 
The supplied bathrobes on our large, comfortable, double bed in our room at the White Horse Hotel in Dorking.
Ready to refresh - Our room at the White Horse
The large king-size double bed was extremely comfortable, with a duck down and feather duvet and two non-allergenic pillows each. 
A close-up of the decorative pillows on our large, comfortable, double bed in our room at the White Horse Hotel in Dorking.
A large, comfortable bed
The traditional décor and the period blue walls within the room I found quite soothing and the lighting warming & subdued. 
Two comfortable chairs in our room at the White Horse Hotel in Dorking.
Room to relax
Along with the two relaxing lounge chairs and a drinks table, was a roomy desk, a lamp and a lovely old-style telephone. Giving ample of space to pop out your laptop and catch up with the world. 
The desk, featuring period features and themed hotel information, in our room at the White Horse Hotel in Dorking.
The desk, a good place to get some work done
A close-up of the period phone on the desk in our room at the White Horse Hotel in Dorking.
The attention to detail - love the period pieces

There was plenty of storage available in the room for your clothing, the room also had a full-length mirror with a power point nearby, which I always find a nice touch, and sometimes this can be missed.

Other in-room facilities were a flat-screen TV and a combination safe for your valuables.

What we found extremely handy was the USB ports set within the plug sockets. I personally like having my phone next to me through the night, so that I can check the time. This meant I could easily charge it overnight as well.

An iPhone, resting on couple of Dickens novels, charging directly off the USB socket included in the mains power socket.
The ever so useful USB point
Free Wi-fi was available throughout the hotel, a passcode wasn’t required, so it made access easy. Tea and coffee making facilities were in the room, along with a couple of cookies from the in-house deli.

Our Bathroom at The White Horse, Dorking

Beautifully finished period fixtures
Heading into the bathroom, the elegant chrome antique-style fittings immediately caught my eye and worked very well with the traditional theme of the bedroom. 
A highly polished chrome, wall-mounted, saving mirror in our bathroom in the White Horse hotel in Dorking
The shaving mirror - beautiful fittings
A traditional chrome hot water tap from our bathroom in the White Horse hotel in Dorking
Love the period fittings

There’s a large walk-in rainfall shower complete with Green & Spring toiletries. These products are made with 100% natural ingredients from Cowley Manor in the Cotswolds.

Fluffy towels can be found on the heated towel rail accompanied by a couple of plush bathrobes. Oh, and another touch I like is the double-sided magnifying mirror.

The Dozen Bar at The White Horse, Dorking

Supporting local suppliers
We sneaked a peek in the “Pickwick Papers” themed bar and couldn’t resist sampling a tipple from a couple of local breweries.
A pint of the Pilcrow Pale Ale in front of its pump in the Dozens bar in the White Horse Hotel, Dorking
A beautiful local pint

Gary enjoyed the Pilcrow Pale Ale from the Dorking Brewery, and I went for the Pippin cider from The Crafty Brewing Co.

The coaching inn theme was also continued through into the bar, and as a bit of fun you could saddle up at the saloon and enjoy your ale, or one of the bar’s Charles Dickens-inspired cocktails.

Saddles provide the seating at the 'Pickwick Papers' themed Dozen Bar of the White Horse Hotel in Dorking
Saddle up at the bar
The Dickensian themed wallpaper lining the Dozens bar in the White Horse Hotel, Dorking
Dickensian charm
The Dozen bar also offers a wide selection of wines, and some of the sparkling wines are grown at the local vineyard Denbies Estate, just a couple of miles away.  While sitting in the lounge you may even catch a glimpse of the vineyards on the hillside.

Dinner at The Dozen, Dorking

Great food in a modern dining experience
After a freshen-up in our room, we then head down to The Dozen, The White Horse’s in-house restaurant. The Dozen not only caters for its hotel guests, but it also serves local cuisine to Dorking’s residents.
Two white horses on a mural inside the Dozen Restaurant of the White Horse hotel in Dorking
The White Horse in The Dozen Restaurant
The Dozen is a light modern, relaxed restaurant and bustling with diners, from couples to larger family groups.  The menu is quite varied from traditional British to modern European dishes and ranging from lite-bites to hearty winter warmers. The ingredients are fresh, seasonal and sourced from local producers, in particular, the Dorking Butchers just along the High Street.
The Dorking Butcher, The White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England,1, UK
The Dorking Butcher - Suppliers to The Dozen Restaurant
After a bit of pondering over the menu, which has quite a wide variety including, fish, steaks, and vegetarian options, I decided on the lemon chicken & kale soup to start. It had a lovely zingy taste, plenty of shredded chicken and really refreshing flavours.
A bowl of lemon chicken & kale soup, served with crusty bread, in the Dozen Restaurant at the White Horse Hotel in Dorking
Lemon Chicken & Kale soup - The Dozen Restaurant
Gary chose the small portion of Lobster macaroni cheese, a refined dish, of subtle flavours that just made him smile.  It is a firm favourite in the winter months in our household, although without the extravagance of the lobster.
An indulgent starter of Lobster macaroni cheese in the Dozen Restaurant at the White Horse Hotel in Dorking
The Lobster macaroni cheese
For the main course, I actually went for chicken again (it’s a bit of a favourite of mine), and chose herb roast chicken, French-style peas and thyme gravy. The dish was served in a large bowl which made it easier to enjoy the tender chicken and the pea, lardon and cabbage medley. You can also opt for additional sides, which I chose a creamy mash.
A golden herb-roasted chicken in the Dozen Restaurant at the White Horse hotel in Dorking
Herb roast chicken, French style peas and thyme gravy
Now Gary was a little disappointed, but it's his own fault really because he'd sneaked a peek at the menu in mid-January and the local sausage and mash had grabbed him.  However, the menu had changed, but his disappointment disappeared when he spied the pan fried calves liver with smoked streaky bacon.  A classic, seasonal, British dish, elevated with a rich colcannon mash, served with a sage gravy. 
A traditional dish of liver and bacon, on a bed of mashed potato, in the Dozen Restaurant at the White Horse Hotel in Dorking
Liver & Bacon - A favourite of Gary's
The generous portions had left us both feeling a little full after our meal, so opted to share a dessert.  We agreed upon the Lemon posset and shortbread. Which was a good move as it was lovely, very creamy and tangy and a delightful way to end the meal.
A raspberry on top of a lemon posset dessert, served alongside a shortbread in the Dozen Restaurant at the White Horse hotel in Dorking
Lemon posset and shortbread

Breakfast at The Dozen, Dorking

The perfect start to the day
The next morning after a good nights sleep, we headed back down to The Dozen restaurant for breakfast. This time we were at the front of the hotel and enjoyed the sunlight peeping through the clouds across the Surrey Hills.
Comfortable leather chairs and tables set for breakfast in the dining area of the bespoke White Horse Hotel in Dorking
The Dozen for breakfast
Gary and I were both amazed at the number of breakfast choices. You could, of course, select the continental buffet option, including juices, cereals and toast. However, we couldn’t resist one of the cooked to order creations from “The Kitchen” menu.
Juices laid out in the breakfast bar of the dining area of the White Horse Hotel in Dorking
Fresh Juices & smoothies for breakfast
I went for the Scottish smoked salmon, scrambled egg on multigrain sourdough, which I struggled to eat all the Salmon, as there was so much (so Gary helped me).
A generous portion of smoked salmon and scrambled egg with wholegrain toast
Smoked Salmon & scrambled egg for breakfast
Gary decided on the crushed chilli & lime avocado, poached hen eggs, tomato salsa and watercress, on multigrain sourdough. Which looked and tasted amazing.
Two split poached eggs on chilli avocado on wholegrain toast sprinkled with bright green parsley.
The chilli avocado & poached egg
To give you other examples, they offered a full English breakfast with all the trimmings, smoked haddock kedgeree, buttermilk pancakes and a few twists on eggs benedict (to name just a few).
A highly polished cafetière on our table in the restaurant of the bespoke White Horse Hotel in Dorking
Coffee for breakfast,
All washed down with fresh tea and coffee.

How to get to The White Horse Dorking

Our chosen transport option was to drive, and we used the postcode to navigate. It's really easy to find in the High Street.

Other alternatives are to take a train to Dorking Station, and The White Horse Hotel is just under a mile away.

The White Horse Hotel
High Street
United Kingdom

Final thoughts on The White Horse, Dorking

- It's a thumbs up from us
The White Horse, Dorking is in an incredibly central location. We feel that when the beautifully restored Coaching Inn was refurbished, that care, and detail was critical when the restoration was carried out on this historic building.
A traditional hanging sign above the White Horse hotel featuring a white horse in a field in front of the former coaching inn.
The Traditional White Horse pub sign

Our overall experience was one of enjoyment from the peaceful surroundings to the locally produced restaurant cuisine.

Our only noticeable comment was that our room was not available to check-in from the specified time. However, this wasn’t a great inconvenience to us, and we were offered a complimentary hot drink, while we waited.


We were given a complimentary night at The White Horse, Dorking in exchange for an honest review and an account of our personal experiences.

* This post may contain links to affiliated sites where we earn a small commission at no additional charge to you.

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