Arts and Culture
Dorking and the Surrey Hills are rooted in an arts and cultural tradition that goes back several generations. The district has a vibrant arts scene and many cultural and musical activities take place throughout the year.
The 17th century is associated with the literary figures of John Evelyn of Wotton and Daniel Defoe. The 18th century is dominated by Richard Sheridan of Polesden Lacey and Fanny Burney of Mickleham. But it was in the 19th century that local artistic traditions met their zenith. The great novelists, Charles Dicken and Jane Austen, visited the Surrey Hills and it influenced their writings. Queen Victoria’s favourite poet, George Meredith, lived under the shadow of Box Hill.
E. M. Forster wrote affectionately of the Surrey Hills in his novel ‘A Room With A View’:
“in the Surrey hills. About 5 miles from Dorking looking over the Weald. Miss Lavish seemed interested and slackened her trot. ‘What a delightful part; I know it so well. It is full of the very nicest people.’