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Down House (home of Charles Darwin)

Last updated: 28 April, 2024

This house museum and research centre celebrates the life and work of Charles Darwin, the renowned naturalist and evolutionary biologist. It was in this house and garden that Darwin worked on his theories of evolution by natural selection; he and his family moved there in the mid-19th century.

A range of exhibits explore Darwin’s ground-breaking theories of evolution and natural selection, and his life and legacy. Highlights include rare books, specimens, and personal items that belonged to Darwin and his family. Rooms have been preserved as he would have lived in them, including the beautifully displayed study where he wrote ‘On the origin of the species’ and the bedroom where he died in 1882.

The lovely gardens, which have also been preserved, including Darwin’s tree-lined ‘thinking path’, a quarter-mile circular path through meadows where he would ponder his new theories and ideas.

The museum also features a range of interactive exhibits, including a chance to see live animals and learn about the role of conservation in modern biology. A fitting legacy to one of the world’s greatest and most influential scientists.

Especially for under 12s

In the main bedroom, there’s a dressing-up closet where kids (and adults) can dress up in Victorian-style clothes to see how they would have looked in the 1850s.

There’s also a great free discovery trail sheet for kids that will guide them around the house and gardens with activities to complete along the way. Pick one up at the main desk on entry.

Logistics

Price from: £20
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 8+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The house is in the countryside, so you really need to drive to get there. There’s free parking on site. The nearest bus stop is half a mile away; the nearest station 3/4 mile away.

The site is operated y English Heritage (so members get free entry). Book online before you go for a discount; you can buy tickets at the door.

When to do it

The museum is open all year round, seven days a week. The quietest times are before 11am and after 2pm.