Home TravelJust The Two Of Us A Night’s Stay At The White Horse Dorking

A Night’s Stay At The White Horse Dorking

by LaurettaCWright
The White Horse Dorking

On a cold, wet and windy day, VIP and I dropped the kids off (thanks mum & dad) and headed to our neighbouring county of Surrey to enjoy an overnight stay at The White Horse in Dorking.

Why Dorking? Well, I can't recall visiting the town before and VIP (who had been there years before we met) suggested I'd appreciate its quaintness and the plethora of interior and antique shops.

Plus it's always nice to get a change of scenery every now and then isn't it? Despite the persistent rain, I was pleasantly surprised; Dorking is one of those commuter towns that has kept its original charm – and, as VIP hinted, some of its original shops as well.

You won't find a Primark or a NEXT in town; most of the shops are independents, while the chain stores (including M&S and Robert Dyas to name a couple) have done remarkably well in blending in with the rest of the High Street.

And The White Horse Hotel sits very nicely in the heart of the town.

My first impression of the three-star hotel was that it was full of character. I could say that this also extended to the hotel's lounge guests, who greeted us with big ‘hellos' as we entered – and even bigger smiles. Let's just say the drinks were flowing nicely that day!

A nose around

When we were shown our room for the night (room 38 in case you're interested), my first thought was ‘Crikey, how high is the bed?!' At just 5'1″, I have to take my height into consideration when it comes to things like beds, and I joked to the staff member that I'd need a step ladder to climb onto it.

As I later discovered, having a high bed came with its advantages; when I swung my legs out of bed in the morning, I found myself standing up straight, which was very handy indeed!

The White Horse Dorking

Other plus points of the room (aside from its luxury decor that offered an aesthetically pleasing mix of contemporary and traditional furniture and accessories that seemed to blend effortlessly), were complimentary water, a tea and coffee caddy (huge brownie points!) and horse-shaped biscuits!

As a former coaching inn – approximately 700 years old – the horse theme extended throughout the hotel, offering a respectful nod to the building's former use. It was lovely to see – from the art memorabilia on the walls, to horse shoe coat hooks – and my favourite, saddles for seats at the hotel's bar – I appreciated every little detail – and could see that a lot of careful thought and planning had gone into the recent £4million renovation.

The only other thing that I'd say about the room was that, despite its comfortable and luxurious surroundings, it didn't offer the largest of spaces.  Still, VIP and I weren't spending all night in our room – it was time to go and eat!

The White Horse Dorking

To dine for… 

The White Horse's restaurant, The Dozen, offers an informal dining and deli concept and was my sort of place. It was fancy without being pretentious and I felt relaxed wearing jeans, boots and a smart shirt.

Being comfortable has become more of a priority for me as I've entered the naughty forties – and I was being naughty that night by indulging in the restaurant's delicious grub. The only additional improvement I could have made was to wear elasticated trousers, but I think you can only get away with that in your 60s and beyond…

So, VIP had Ham Hock for starters, while I skipped starters in favour of a main and a dessert. My burger, complete with crispy French fries, was delicious, while my second course – white chocolate raspberry mousse was even more divine.

But the highlight of the meal was probably VIP's cheese board. The waitress popped over to our table to talk through each of the locally-produced cheeses; it seemed that each one had an interesting story behind it and it was great to see that the staff were really passionate about supporting local businesses. And of course VIP said the cheese board was ‘spot on' (his words not mine).

I have to also mention the interiors. In case you hadn't noticed from some of my previous blog posts, I have a bit of a soft  spot for interiors.

And I was very appreciative of how The White Horse Dorking was kitted out; from glass-top coffee tables that housed magazines, to the industrial style lamps complete with on-trend LED filaments that offered a romantic glow; whoever designed the interiors knew exactly the look that would suit.

Sweet dreams

If my night’s sleep was anything to go by, The White Horse is worth more than its three stars as the bed was super comfy. Fortunately, I didn't need a step ladder to climb onto it, but I did have to take a running jump to get onto it which added to the fun factor.

VIP and I managed a perfectly timed meal – and we were just in time to watch Friday night's Gogglebox in bed. I remember thinking how comfortable I was – and wishing that every Friday night could be like this. We had escaped the washing up, the tidying up and the kids' fighting…I was in my element.

The White Horse Dorking

And then I remembered that VIP had told me the hotel was haunted – and it was the one time when I didn't mind putting up with his snoring as long as he was next to me. Alas, the only thing that went bump in the night was my elbow meeting his ribs in a bid to shush him up.

Given the hotel's long history, you'd expect there to be plenty of stories – not only of ghosts but of famous people having stayed there – and there were. One of whom was Charles Dickens who apparently penned some of The Pickwick Papers at The White Horse. I wondered if he had stayed in room 38 too. Well, the equivalent of room 38 all those years ago.

I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at The White Horse – and yes, I'd stay there again in a heartbeat. They've done a remarkable job with the renovations, making the decor warm and inviting.

But what impressed me most of all was the staff of The White Horse; we were offered warm smiles and pleasant chat all round, plus they really knew their stuff when it came to the property's history – and the fact that they'd taken a keen interest in the hotel's roots speaks volumes.

When you can talk passionately about your place of work, it shows that the hotel invests just as much in its staff as it does its guests – and who wouldn't want to work for a place like that?

Things you should probably know about The White Horse Dorking…

  • B&B rates start from £119 per night in one of the 77 en-suite bedrooms. 
  • If the hotel car park is full, there's a car park a couple of minutes' walk from the hotel – and you can use the app Ringo to pay for your parking.
  • The hotel has a great offer on for Friday night – you can stay overnight for just £50 if you spend a minimum of £50 spent in the adjoining The Dozen restaurant. 
  • The White Horse in Dorking is part of Bespoke Hotels.

 You might also like…

A Pin For Your Travel BoardI stayed the night at the (supposedly) haunted The White Horse in Dorking. Find out what went bump in the night!


Kim Styles 3rd June 2018 - 3:49 pm

I love the bar saddles what a great idea!! I want some in my kitchen!!

LaurettaCWright 3rd June 2018 - 3:56 pm

It would be great to have space for a bar and have those as seats wouldn’t it?

Alice 25th April 2018 - 8:11 pm

Looks like a lovely place. 🙂

Anna nuttall 17th April 2018 - 8:20 am

Lovely photos as always, I know that hotel/resturant. My sister use to live round that area years ago. Gosh i haven’t been to Dorking for years!

LaurettaCWright 17th April 2018 - 9:17 am

Ah thank you Anna. What a small world – next time you’re down there, have a look-see! 🙂

Anna nuttall 20th April 2018 - 11:11 am

I will do. I use to love shopping in Dorking. xx

Angela Ricardo 17th April 2018 - 12:50 am

I have never been to Dorking but when we do I will definitely make sure to check them out with my family. I love everything.

LaurettaCWright 17th April 2018 - 8:08 am

Enjoy if you do – and let me know what you think Angela! 🙂

Jess 16th April 2018 - 9:14 pm

Oooo I do love a good cheese board, you know! Would probably stop somewhere like this for the cheese alone haha. That bed does look a fair bit high as well! I bet you slept like a baby.

LaurettaCWright 17th April 2018 - 8:11 am

I did sleep really well – too well I think! Yes, you’d be pleasantly surprised about the cheese – loved the fact they support locals too.

Kara 16th April 2018 - 5:23 pm

I prefer staying in B&B’s to impersonal budget hotels. The service, food and decor is always better and this looks gorgeous

LaurettaCWright 16th April 2018 - 8:06 pm

I agree Kara – they have so much more character don’t they? And the flexibility to change and adapt quicker to demand from guests.

Jem 16th April 2018 - 9:58 am

What a lovely looking place. I’ve never even been to Dorking.

LaurettaCWright 16th April 2018 - 8:05 pm

No I hadn’t been before – it’s really nice there though. I like its charm 🙂

Dannii 15th April 2018 - 5:41 pm

Oh I just want to jump straight on to that bed and snuggle up. I would love to stay in a haunted hotel too.

LaurettaCWright 15th April 2018 - 8:20 pm

I would definitely stay in a haunted hotel again – although nothing was untoward this time, you never know what you’ll see or hear!

Sally Collingwood 15th April 2018 - 9:33 am

Looks like a great place to stay!

The London Mum 15th April 2018 - 8:56 am

The saddle seats are amazing!!! Literally I love them! And the room looks so beautiful. What a great place to stay

LaurettaCWright 15th April 2018 - 8:18 pm

It’s so unique isn’t it? And they’ve been really innovative with the design.

Anosa 15th April 2018 - 8:20 am

I love staycations like these and those not been to Dorking before it sounds like my kind of place. The white horse room and entire hotel decor looks amazing

LaurettaCWright 15th April 2018 - 8:54 pm

I’m sure you’d love it there Anosa – I felt right at home there.

Dawn & Bella at Dear Mummy Blog 14th April 2018 - 6:25 pm

I love that the staff are passionate about the local produce they serve and the building is in magnificent shape for being nearly 700 years old! X

LaurettaCWright 15th April 2018 - 7:44 am

Yes it is – it would be interesting to hear about all the things they’ve had to do on the upkeep of the place, but I bet it has cost a fortune!

Rhian Westbury 14th April 2018 - 5:27 pm

What a lovely looking hotel this is, I love it when they convert things to hotels as you get such a good vibe around them x

LaurettaCWright 15th April 2018 - 7:43 am

Certainly do! I love its history – and the fact that the current owners have respected and integrated that into its current design.

Nichola - Globalmouse 14th April 2018 - 2:12 pm

What a lovely break. I adore those saddle seats, what a brilliant idea!

LaurettaCWright 15th April 2018 - 7:43 am

Isn’t it just? If I were a horse fan I’d definitely nick that idea for a garden bar or something like that.

katy (what katy said) 14th April 2018 - 6:26 am

Look at the size of that bed! Love it! What a lovely little getaway!

LaurettaCWright 14th April 2018 - 10:50 am

Thanks Katy – the bed was definitely the highlight of the room! So comfy too!

Katy 14th April 2018 - 6:25 am

Look at the size of that bed! Love it! What a lovely little getaway!

LaurettaCWright 17th April 2018 - 8:16 am

Thanks Katy – it’s lovely to get a change of scenery every now and then – blow the cobwebs away and all that.

L dove 13th April 2018 - 3:35 pm

What a lovely homely place to stay! I love quirky places that offer something a little different.

LaurettaCWright 13th April 2018 - 3:38 pm

It looks like they spent the renovation money wisely!

kerry 13th April 2018 - 9:18 am

Ohh this looks nice, and what a great deal that is for a Friday night! I like the look of it, it looks like its relaxed and informal, but still good quality. The bed looks amazing! i will have to remember this one!

LaurettaCWright 13th April 2018 - 12:16 pm

If you come south of the river – it’s a great place to rest your head for the night 🙂

Elizabeth 13th April 2018 - 6:14 am

That looks like a lovely place for a little break away. The food sounds amazing and I love the cosy atmosphere! That bed looks AMAZING!

LaurettaCWright 13th April 2018 - 8:18 am

Thanks Elizabeth – it definitely ticked all those boxes. Worth a try if you’re near the area.

Alison Rost 13th April 2018 - 2:05 am

This is the kind of place you want to stay at during the weekend. I just love how relaxing and beautiful it is! The room is definitely perfect! Sounds like the food is good too!

LaurettaCWright 13th April 2018 - 8:17 am

The food was pretty amazing I have to say – if I were a local I’d definitely be popping in for special occasion meals.

Sarah Bailey 12th April 2018 - 9:50 pm

Oh my goodness what a lovely looking place to stay. I am all about places which offer something a little unique and of course homely and this seems to have it all!
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LaurettaCWright 13th April 2018 - 8:16 am

Homely is a very good description of The White Horse – it felt classy yet informal which was great – thanks Sarah!

Hayley Warren 12th April 2018 - 7:56 pm

This sounds like a really nice place to stay, I’ve never been to Dorking.

LaurettaCWright 12th April 2018 - 8:00 pm

It’s a lovely town and worth a visit if you’re nearby.

Micaela Levachyov 12th April 2018 - 1:11 pm

I really love the special interior touches like the shabby chic signs and wallpaper, it looks like a place I would like to visit.

LaurettaCWright 12th April 2018 - 2:17 pm

The devil’s in the detail as they say – and detail is one thing The white Horse excelled at – if you happen to be in Dorking you should try a drink at their bar – complete with saddle seats!


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