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Surrey Oaks, Dorking

Parkgate Road
Postal town: Dorking

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 9 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about Surrey Oaks

This multiple room rural pub on the fringes of the village of Newdigate has an excellent reputation for its real ale and attracts a good crowd despite its tricky to reach location. The bar area is a fairly cramped space with the sort of exposed floorboards and nice ceiling beams you’d expect from a proper country pub. A short section of servery with a very handy beer board next to it results in a bit of a pinch point at peak times, but seating here has been kept to a minimum which means there’s enough space in which to patiently await your turn to be served. Over to the left, a wide but shallow room has plenty of tables and chairs which appeared to be set up predominantly for diners and was a little lacking in atmosphere comparted to the rest of the pub. To the right of the bar, there is a nice open space acting as a Public Bar of sorts with its own access to the servery and a roaring fire giving it a comforting warmth and homeliness, despite the relative lack of seating options. The low ceiling here was liberally covered with old pump clips attesting to the pub’s commitment to real ale over the years. Over in the front right part of the building, there are two further rooms, both set up as seating areas but both popular with those wanting to eat. Both rooms are carpeted and have plenty of tables and chairs, a nice balance of traditional and modern artworks on show, display cases full of glass and ceramic works, tonnes of CAMRA awards and certificates and more dark beams crossing the ceilings. There’s a large garden out the back, packed full of picnic tables and a good-sized car park which is most welcome given the difficulties getting here by public transport.
The bar was well stocked with cask ale as well as a surprisingly relevant craft keg selection and a few interesting bottles in the fridges. Cask options on this occasion were Surrey Hills Ranmore and Shere Drop, Pig & Porter Blonde, Northern Monk Striding Edge, Dark Star Revelation and Titanic Plum Porter. My pint of the Blonde was in fine shape and served to me by a very friendly barman. Plenty of people were eating throughout the pub, from a menu that had many tempting dishes, yet the pub in no way felt like it was food-led.
This is a top-quality pub which is well deserving of its excellent reputation. We found the pub had an excellent atmosphere, a well-kept selection of real ales, very good service and plenty of comfortable spots in which you could easily lose several hours. I’m glad I finally made it out to this place and would suggest it’s well worth the effort trying to get out here.

On 19th September 2019 - rating: 9
[User has posted 2813 recommendations about 2813 pubs]

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Moby Duck left this review about Surrey Oaks

A wonderful country pub out in the sticks that lives up to its good reputation. It looks a little ramshackle from the outside but once inside you discover an authentically old multi roomed country pub, but one that knows good beer when it see's it. Six handpumps in all with three from local Surrey Hills brewery, Shere Drop, Ranmore and Hammer Mild plus Salopian Gravity Wave, Fyne Ales Avalanche and Twickenham Summer Down Under. In addition to the ales are 8 craft beer taps on the back wall and a choice of 9 Ciders and a Perry. Top pub.

On 2nd February 2018 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1582 recommendations about 1563 pubs]

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Graham Coombs left this review about Surrey Oaks

Excellent country pub with a jumble of beams around the bar side and a larger eating room the other, but all in good traditional pub style. Some excellent beers with an emphasis on local breweries; sampled the Surrey Hills Albury Ruby which was excellent. Food also looked good but being a Sunday lunchtime all the tables were booked out.

On 6th December 2017 - rating: 9
[User has posted 2660 recommendations about 2603 pubs]

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Quinno _ left this review about Surrey Oaks

Well-described by others below, this is a classic semi-isolated country pub. Traditional ambience - low beamed ceiling with a warren of rooms and drinking areas. Inglenook fireplace (stove) and dried hops strung above the bar. Perhaps a little oddly there is a pool room (would have thought bar billiards would be a better bet myself). An extra bonus is the impressive grassed beer garden with pentanque piste and a large BBQ. Seven ales including Surrey Hills Ranmore, Hastings Best, Dark Star APA (very good), Firebird Heritage XX (good), Dark Star Art of Darkness. Also a diverse selection of ciders and perries. For drivers, there are a good selection of Wobblegate softies. I also spotted a curious brew keg from Vineyard in Tenterdon which dispensed a quite enjoyable English lager. As noted elsewhere, there is an Indian restaurant across the road. As is to be expected from such a well-renowned pub, there are CAMRA awards aplenty dotted round. Elsewhere I see that there has been a recent change of ownership after a long period of stewardship so I can’t comment on what/if anything has changed but I was certainly happy with my visit and would love to go again.

On 20th July 2014 - rating: 9
[User has posted 4423 recommendations about 4408 pubs]

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Malden man left this review about Surrey Oaks

This is a pub I have wished to visit for quite some time, today I finally made it. A rather isolated tile hung old building that started out life as a cottage before becoming a bakery cum beer shop and then a public house. The original tile hung building in the centre is flanked by two later additions. Inside are four interconnected rooms in series, the largest room to the left is the restaurant with set tables but certainly not too formal and stuffy and retaining pub character. There are then two middle rooms, one larger and L-shaped containing a large inglenook with a wood burner. Finally a small room to the right houses unusually for the pub, a pool table, this room is away from the bar which runs through the other three.
We favoured the L-shaped space with the fire, there are stacks of framed awards on display here as well as various pictures of the pub, an interesting old advert from original brewery Mellarsh and Neale of Reigate, tankards hang from the low beamed ceiling, a glass fronted corner unit contains scores of old beer bottles and has toby jugs, old glasses and mugs on top. A small table had a row of beer, pub and whisky related books including a fascinating 1960s book of Surrey pubs. The smaller middle room has an ordinary sized fireplace, the walls have a collection of prints of domestic animals including several of the local Dorking Red chicken.
The pub is generally carpeted but the inglenook area has a stone flagged floor of clear age. Seating at benches, chairs and settles.
Beer is very important here, the pub website handily lists the current and coming soon brews, today had Surrey Hills Ranmore Ale plus Greensand IPA, Blue Monkey BG Sips, Adur Ropetackle, Dark Star Art of Darkness with house regular Harveys Sussex Best being reverse clipped. I also spotted a cider from Black Cat. I tried the Ranmore and the BG Sips, both in tip-top shape.
The food is good and reasonably priced too, especially for Surrey, there is a bar menu plus a good list of specials on a chalkboard. Rib-eye steak with pepper sauce, chips and a huge fresh salad was £13.50, and good too, staples like scampi around £8 or so.
Outside is a small seating area plus two petanque (boules) pitches and a kids' play area.
This really is a pub worth making an effort to get to, even if public transport is scarce and distant, the service, beer, food, welcome and ambience were all good, made better by a friendly long haired cat wandering around and a no mobiles policy which resulted in a rather irritating woman with a typically boorish well-to-do-and-we-know-it family group getting a reprimand when her's rang, much to our amusement and satisfaction. A solid 9.

On 29th March 2013 - rating: 9
[User has posted 1695 recommendations about 1669 pubs]

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John Bonser left this review about Surrey Oaks

Visited in May 2010

Splendidly traditional and welcoming 16th Century rural roadhouse pub which features stone flagged floors, oak beams, low ceilings and a large inglenook.

There's a restaurant area on the left and several interconnecting drinking areas on the right, which includes one room with what is possibly the largest collection of framed CAMRA certificates that I can recollect seeing for some time. There's also a fine collection of pump clips indicating the large number of ales that have been sold over the years. Unusually, and looking slightly out of place, is a separate billiards room.

There's a largish garden at the side which includes 2 petanque pitches and some rather rusty and weathered childrens play equipment.

Note also the different pictures on either side of the pub sign and a Friary Meux horseshoe lamp outside, indicative of the pub's former ownership. Unusually, for such a rural location, there's an unconnected curry house directly opposite.

The pub is a keen supporter of local microbreweries and, on my recent lunchtime visit, was serving Weltons Lionheart and Ossett Dazzler, amongst others. I didn't think either of these two beers tasted particularly distinctive, but a subsequent pint of Harveys was superb. All beers were priced at £ 3. A Surrey Hills beer had just run out.

The pub is a CAMRA Good Beer Guide regular - note the large collection of stickers on the door as you go in. A large banner outside, tied up between two trees, advertised a forthcoming beer festival over the late May Day Bank Holiday weekend ( 28-31 May )

Being a rural pub, it's not particularly easy to get to without the car and it doesn't seem to be on a bus route. My recent lunchtime visit was via Holmwood Station ( on the Dorking - Horsham line ) and then a pleasant 40 minute walk across fields and through bluebell woods. Do note that the pub is in Parkgate, and not Newdigate, as the address would indicate.

Local residents are fortunate in having two such splendid pubs as The Surrey Oaks and The Royal Oak within a few miles of each other. Do make the effort of seeking them out - I don't think you'll be disappointed.

On 14th July 2011 - rating: 9
[User has posted 560 recommendations about 560 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

. Wittenden left this review about Surrey Oaks

We pass this pub fairly often, and I was aware of its legendary reputation. A Wealden, tile hung house, with low beams,logburning stoves and a newer extension to one side, with windows looking out to a traditional red phone box and pillar box. It makes me think of autumn for some reason. We came for Sunday lunch, and to meet friends. Entering the pub in the newer area, we were impressed by the relaxed atmosphere-families, couples reading the Sunday papers and the occasional biker.
This is a temple to ale, with a constantly changing list of guests complementing the regulars-Harveys Sussex Best Bitter and Surrey Hills’ Ranmore Ale. On the day in question, the guests were Salopian Beatnick, a me-to Golden ale, the excellent Penny Pond Porter from Loddon, and a wheat beer from Otley. Enterprisingly, the long standing landlord posts beer lists and tasting notes on the web,together with Twitters (a technology with which I’m not totally au fait.)
The food was good, and not too pricey for Surrey-I had a decent lambshank, and the family had curry. All real ales were £3.50. Ciders and perries were listed on the blackboards.

On 14th March 2011 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 264 recommendations about 263 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Nick Davies left this review about Surrey Oaks

The Surrey Oaks is a fine mainly 16th century building a fair stretch from the village itself on the Leigh road. There are, depending how you count them, five distinct areas inside, one given over to games, another with a roaring fire in winter, another set up for eating. Outside there's a very pleasant garden. That all if this is traditionally set out with no hint of gastrification makes it worth seeking out anyway but then there's the beer and cider. Not for nothing has the Soaks won Camra awards for nearly all of the last 15 years, with a tendency to local craft brewers but examples from all over pop up too.

This is a pretty good area for pubs, and even with competition of national calibre just a few miles away the Surrey Oaks is up there with the best of them. It well worth planning an expedition to get here, the more so if they've got a beer festival on. Those who live within walking distance are lucky buggers indeed.

On 10th October 2010 - rating: 10
[User has posted 556 recommendations about 548 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

paulof horsham left this review about Surrey Oaks

Multi (CAMRA) award-winning free house, offering an ever changing selection of mainly micro-brewed ales. There's a large garden with children's play area.

The food's pretty good but, if you don't fancy it, there is (somewhat implausibly given the rural location!) an Indian restaurant right across the road.

On 25th September 2009 - rating: 8
[User has posted 331 recommendations about 314 pubs]