It is the site of the fictional "Battle of Dorking" written by Lt. Col. Sir George Tomkyns Chesney in 1871.
Just north of the town the River Mole cuts a steep-sided valley through the North Downs. On the left bank is Denbies Vineyard, the largest vineyard in the UK. On the right bank is Box Hill, owned by the National Trust and Britain's first Country Park. The hill has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, because on the large number of rare orchids which grow there in the summer. Further north is Norbury Park which contains the Druids Grove - a forest of ancient yew trees, some of which are more than 1000 years old. The Burford Bridge Hotel on the banks of the river is reputed to be the place where Lord Nelson spent his last night before boarding ship for the Battle of Trafalgar.
To the south of the town, is Leith Hill, also owned by the National Trust, the highest point in the south of England. A new species of fish-eating dinosaur - Baryonx walkeri was discovered in clay pits just south of Dorking. The creature had a long curved claw in each hand and remains of its last meal were discovered fossilised in its ribcage. The skeleton can be seen at the Natural History Museum in London.