Our stay at The White Horse in Dorking, England

In Accommodation, Counties, Our Journeys, Our Reviews, Restaurant, Surrey by JanisLeave a Comment

Including dining at The Dozen 

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

A central location, The White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

The White Horse

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.

Quick Links

Gerald, the Deli-van, The White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

Gerald, the Deli-van

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 welcoming lounge space, The White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

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.

Beautiful detail to enjoy, The White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

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.

Parked up safely, The White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

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. 

Discovering the Antiques Quarter, The White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

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.

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.

Around the fireplace in the lounge, The White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

Around the fireplace in the lounge

The friendliness of the staff and their willingness to help make for a charming welcome.

Traditional timbers that have seen some history, The White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

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?

Halls of history, The White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

Halls of history

Our Bedroom

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. 

Ready to refresh, The White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

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 large, comfortable bed, The White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

A large, comfortable bed

The traditional décor and the period blue walls within the room I found quite soothing and the lighting warming & subdued. 

Room to relax, The White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

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, a place to get some work done, The White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

The desk, a good place to get some work done


The attention to detail, The White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

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.

The ever so useful USB point, The White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

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

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. 

The shaving mirror - beautiful fittings, The White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

The shaving mirror - beautiful fittings

Theaatention to detail, The White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

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 Bar

We sneaked a peek in the “Pickwick Papers” themed bar and couldn’t resist sampling a tipple from a couple of local breweries.

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

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A beautiful local pint

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.

Saddle up at the bar, The White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

Saddle up at the bar

Dickensian charm, The White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

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

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.

The White Horse in The Dozen Restaurant, The White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

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, 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.

Lemon chicken & kale soup, The Dozen Restaurant at the White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

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.

The Lobster macaroni cheese, The White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

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.

Herb roasted chicken, The Dozen Restaurant at the White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

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. 

Liver & bacon, The Dozen Restaurant at the White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

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.

Lemon posset and shortbread, The Dozen Restaurant at the White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

Lemon posset and shortbread

Brekkie at The Dozen

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.

The Dozen for breakfast, The White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

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.

Fresh Juices & smoothies for breakfast, The White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

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).

Smoked Salmon & scrambled egg for Breakfast, The Dozen Restaurant at the White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

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.

The Chili advacado & poached egg Breakfast, The Dozen Restaurant at the White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

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).

All washed down with fresh tea and coffee.

Hot Coffee for Breakfast, The White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

Coffee for breakfast,

Final Thoughts

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.

The Traditional White Horse pub sign, The White Horse, bespoke hotels, Dorking, Surrey, England, UK

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.

How to get there

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

Dorking

Surrey

United Kingdom

RH4 1BE

Inspired to visit The White Horse, Dorking?

Why not check out one of their mini-break offers and book direct online?

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Disclaimer

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

About the Author

Janis

Janis, the co-founder of Our World for You, was born in London and raised in Kent and the Isle of Wight. Along with Gary her partner, they have been travelling part time since 1995. In 2016, they decided that enough was enough with the 9 to 5, so armed with the knowledge and experience that they had gained on their adventures, that they wanted to inspire others to travel the world near and far.

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