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Opposite the church at the heart of pretty Mickleham and set below beautiful Box Hill, the 16th-century Running Horses is popular with local foodies, walkers and cyclists exploring the glorious North Downs landscape.

Formerly known as the Chequers, it gained its equine name in 1828 after a famous incident at the Epsom Derby, when two horses past the winning post at exactly the same time, a race that became known as the Dead Heat Derby. Refurbished by Brakspear, the pub retains much of its period character and oozes traditional charm and atmosphere.

Expect dark beams, old prints and paintings, old pew benches and a big inglenook with blazing log fire in the timeless bar. Dining rooms feature tartan carpets and rugs on parquet flooring, alongside intimate booth seating with lanterns and leather bench seating. Rustic benches on the front terrace enjoy peaceful views of Mickleham church opposite. The whole feel is relaxed, eclectic and informal. It's a big walking area so dogs are made very welcome in the bar and a few of the rooms.

Rooms from

Doubles: £89

Good to know

  • All major credit cards accepted
  • Disabled access
  • Alfresco & private dining
  • Parking available
  • Dog stay: £15
  • Secure bike storage

Outdoor adventures
With a vast network of footpaths and bridleways on the doorstep, the Surrey countryside is fabulous to explore by foot, bike or horse.

No car needed
With easy access to London and Dorking and Leatherhead stations a short taxi ride away, the Running Horses is a great option for those wishing to leave the car at home.


The inn's traditional style extends upstairs to the five bedrooms - all are named after racecourses and boast up-to-date features, modern comforts and thoughtful touches.

Expect to find warmly painted panelled walls, check patterned carpet, antique furniture, period features, old travelling trunks, soft lamplight, and big Feather & Black beds topped with Hypnos mattresses and quality linen and throws.

Book Ascot and Epsom if you want a long, hot soak as they have roll top tubs as well walk-in rain showers; Cheltenham, Windsor and Sandown have showers only. To escape the hubbub of the pub, the Gatehouse offers peace and seclusion, replete with lounge, bedroom and bathroom and a private parking space.

Restaurant & bar

In keeping with the traditional setting, the menu champions rustic British food. Classic pub dishes are cooked using local and seasonal ingredients with the daily-changing chalkboard in winter featuring hearty dishes.

Across the menu, dishes continue the traditional comfort theme. The roasts, such as rump of beef, Yorkshire puddings and all the trimmings, are sensational and well worth sticking around for.

There's a truly traditional feel to the interior of the bar and the classic wooden counter dispenses Brakspear Bitter and Oxford Gold, alongside Fuller's London Pride, Ringwood Best Bitter, and a beer brewed for the pub by Bank's - Dead Heat Derby. Among the collection of gins, you'll find Hawthorn's, Half Hitch and Sipsmith, and the carefully selected global wine list offers a sparkling rose from Bolney Estate in Sussex, a handful of decent Chateaux wines from Bordeaux, and 20 wines by the glass.

Things to do

England's largest single estate vineyard - Denbies Wine Estate - is only a five-minute drive from the Running Horses. There are tours around the 265-acre site, and the opportunity to enjoy al fresco dining in the popular conservatory restaurant.

This part of the country is fabulous to explore by foot, with a vast network of footpaths and bridleways on the doorstep, taking you deep into the Surrey countryside. The Surrey Hills and the North Downs offer some of the best walks in the county. Try Newlands Corner, east of Guildford, which is a walker's paradise and a useful starting point for many scenic walks. Agatha Christie famously disappeared here in 1926, her car found abandoned in a remote spot on the downs. Box Hill is a very unique and special place, right next to the inn - the perfect place to go for beautiful views, plenty of fresh air, guided walks and family activities.

Situated near Guildford, Hatchlands Park is an intimate Georgian country house with parkland comprising ancient woodland and picturesque wildflower meadows. The house itself includes Europe's largest collection of keyboard instruments, several of which inspired the likes of Bach, Elgar and Chopin.

The Royal Horticultural Society's Garden at Wisley is a tranquil world of unusual plants and beautiful flowers. The garden's mission is to share with its many visitors the best in gardening. Wisley may be a peaceful oasis but there's always plenty going on - from world-class flower shows to groundbreaking, green-roof research.

Getting here


Nearest train station: Dorking or Leatherhead
Taxi from station: 6min
Drive: Guildford 28min; Mitcham 28min


Mickleham, Dorking, Surrey RH5 6DU

Prices & availability