Nestled in a narrow valley between the North Downs and Greensand Hills, Dorking is at the very heart of the Surrey Hills which is considered an area of outstanding natural beauty. With its origins in Roman times, Dorking contains a vibrant mix of both historic significance and modern arts and culture. Its town center is reached via West Street, a lovely thoroughfare with an international reputation as a center for antique dealers.
Lying beneath the town's historic streets and houses are the Dorking caves, a labyrinth of tunnels excavated in the 17th century and used by smugglers. The caves are now open to visitors with guided tours. The London 2012 Olympic Cycle Road Race will come through Dorking July 18-19, 2012.
E. M. Forster wrote affectionately of the area 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'."
Unum UK's headquarters are housed at Milton Court — a splendid Tudor building that can trace its history back to the times of James I. It was originally a gabled house, built between 1608 and 1611. The Milton estate is mentioned in the Domesday Book, completed in 1086.
Insurance company National Employers' Life (NEL) purchased the estate in 1965. Unum acquired NEL in 1990 and undertook the restoration of Milton Court in 1993. The grand reopening of the mansion was in 1994.