Home of Charles Darwin Down House

Home of Charles Darwin Down House, Downe: Hours, Address, Home of Charles Darwin Down House Reviews: 4.5/5

Home of Charles Darwin Down House

Home of Charles Darwin Down House
4.5
10:00 - 17:00
Monday
10:00 - 17:00
Tuesday
10:00 - 17:00
Wednesday
10:00 - 17:00
Thursday
10:00 - 17:00
Friday
10:00 - 17:00
Saturday
10:00 - 17:00
Sunday
10:00 - 17:00
About
With its unique place in the history of science and evolution, Down House, the family home of world-renowned scientist Charles Darwin, is a must-see. Stand in the study where Darwin wrote 'On the Origin of Species', stroll through the gardens that inspired him, and discover his and wife Emma's newly recreated bedroom which overlooks the gardens. Let Sir David Attenborough take you on an interactive multimedia tour around the house, and discover how the great man developed his ground-breaking theories. Whilst soaking in the knowledge why not visit Emmas Kitchen for a cream tea or delicious light lunch, some of which are inspired by Emma Darwins recipe book itself. Then take a stroll around the beautiful country gardens, making sure you enjoy a lap of Darwins 'thinking path', the sandwalk, which Darwin himself would walk 3 time a day. This stunning hidden gem is not one to be missed. Come and explore today.
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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4.5
754 reviews
Excellent
461
Very good
229
Average
45
Poor
10
Terrible
9

RayzorRay
Brighton, UK5 contributions
A Day at Down House
Sep 2021
Having been fascinated by Darwin and his work for many years I relished the chance to actually get to visit his home. It was our first visit to this amazing place. Tickets were easily booked on line and we were warmly welcomed by a young lady who told us all about the Covid protocol. The house is exactly as I expected and we wandered around enjoying the atmosphere and revelling in the fact that the great man himself had walked these halls and had sadly eventually passed here. The guides were friendly and knowledgable and when I mentioned that I had an interest in Alfred Russel Wallace we were made even more welcome and we chatted for ages about both's mens work. I would like to thank Kim personally for taking the time out and showing us behind the scenes. His enthusiasm is infectious and his knowledge amazing. Down House is an extraordinary place and one that many make pilgrimages to as indeed they should. We owe much to Darwin and Wallace and the chance to spend time in his home was wonderful. I cant wait to go back and learn even more. If you have never been then I suggest you go. It is well worth the effort. Great place, great staff and above all a great man.
Written 14 September 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

DPDeep
London, UK36 contributions
Dimly lit and pretty underwhelming
Aug 2021
The house is still following strict COVID rules except for the idea of air circulation. It was a warm day but all the windows were closed and many shutters were closed too (apparently to protect some of the exhibits from direct sunlight.) There must be a better method of protection from direct sunlight without making some of the rooms stuffy and so dimly lit it was difficult so see some of the exhibits; one of the cabinet's lights had broken so you couldn't see the contents of that cabinet at all.

The tour around the house was interesting; the highlight being Darwin's study, but you can only stand at the door and there was a queue as only two people could do that at a time. I enjoyed the installation exploring his later work on human emotions.

The part of the exhibition that explored both Darwin's journeys around the world and the development of his thinking I found very underwhelming and dated. There is a nod towards a multimedia display which uses the "Pepper's Ghost" effect (a 19th century visual effect) but multiple display boards with lots of writing behind exhibition cabinets in dimly lit rooms, I'd suggest, doesn't really meet 21st century expectations.

The gardens were lovely and the idea of Darwin being such a family man was very warming.
Written 31 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

LeanneR102
Sidcup, UK172 contributions
Definitely a hidden gem
Jul 2021 • Friends
We have English heritage passes and are new members. We had vaguely heard of Charles Darwin’s house but didn’t realise how much there was to see. We went on an extremely hot Sunday and it was very quiet. We had a picnic in the picnic garden. Very lovely area with lots of picnic tables with parasols which, with young children, we really appreciated. Then we had a walk around the vegetable and flower gardens. My 4 year old loved spotting all the different butterflies and vegetables.
We then had a look around the house. The man at the entrance to the house explained to us how it would work and that we couldn’t take photos. He also told us where to wait to use the lift (we had a pram.) we had a look around the house and it was lovely to be able to take our time and not feel rushed as they were only letting one family in at a time. Then we went upstairs in the lift. Now, before going up in the lift, the lady downstairs said she had told the lady upstairs we were coming up and she would wait for us at the exit of the lift and then show us which way around to go. When we exited the lift we waited and waited and waited. No lady. So we just walked on ourselves. We then came to a room on the right (which we now know is the last room before finishing the tour) we were in there all of 3 minutes and a older English heritage volunteer lady came up to us and loudly and very rudely told us to hurry up, stop taking so long looking and to leave. I tried explaining we had just come in and we didn’t know which way round we were meant to go as we waited for someone and they didn’t come. All in all we sorted it but this woman was so rude to us my son was a bit taken back and was worried as he thought we were in trouble. Anyway… the house is fantastic and so is the gardens. Definitely worth a look around and we were there a lot longer than we expected to be. I think we would have gone back round the gardens again if it wasn’t for the fact it was 32 degrees and had a newborn in the pram.
We will definitely be back.
Written 7 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dear LeanneR102 Thank you so much for your 5 star review, it was great to read that you had a great day with us. I do however apologise for the behaviour of one of our volunteers and I am sorry that this upset your son. This is not the type of behaviour I would expect of my team and I will ensure that this is followed up accordingly. I really hope that you are able to come back in the near future. Best wishes, Bryony - Site Manager
Written 11 September 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Stewart C
Chatham, UK796 contributions
A most enjoyable day out to Down House.
Jul 2021
We visited Down House for the first time on a showery day in July. We drove here though we did not think there was much road signage on the approach roads to the house, having arrived there was a good amount of (free) parking for visitors. Down House is owned by English Heritage and being a member, entrance to the house and gardens were free.
Arriving around 10:30AM, we reported to the staff at the entrance who checked our tickets (we had pre booked our visit), and allowed us to enter the gardens pending the house opening at 11:00AM. There is a small map available to the visitor to guide them around the ‘one way system’ in place in the garden and this was also explained to us when we arrived. The garden area had visitor toilets and a small café with under cover seating.
Entering the house when it opened, we were briefed on the ‘one way’ system around the house and then allowed to pass through from room to room unsupervised. We were advised that photography within the house is prohibited as none of the exhibits are owned by English Heritage. The trail around the house takes the visitor first upstairs and there are a series of rooms detailing the life and career of Charles Darwin. Not knowing a great amount about the man beyond his ‘Theory of Evolution’ work, we found the amount of information available and the supporting documentation and exhibits to be most interesting.
One of the rooms contains a video presentation of an animated clay head sculpture which explores the work of Darwin in the exploration of the six emotions in human faces. The video is worth taking some time to experience though it may not appeal to everyone.
The downstairs section of the trail allows the visitor to enter the dining room, billiard room and study and these rooms are furnished in such a way that it would be easy for the visitor to imagine the occupants of the house had just left the room prior their arrival.
The trail leaves the house via a good sized shop selling souvenirs of your visit and we were happy to find a porcelain thimble available here to add to our collection.
Being around lunch time, we decided to use the café to the rear of the house. The café is not large but has a reasonable range of hot and cold snacks, cakes and drinks and we were able to get a baked potato and a drink of tea to refresh ourselves. The café has an outdoor eating area with shelter from the elements which was just as well as we had some rain showers whilst here. Another area of the grounds has a very good and sizable picnic area complete with tables chairs and benches and separate coffee and snack outlet if you would prefer and we would use this later in the afternoon.
The walk around the walled garden was most enjoyable with an eclectic mix of flowering plants and shrubs filling the visitor’s senses with colours and scents. There are some explanatory boards around explaining some more of Darwin’s experiments and observations here and it is possible to get some fine pictures of the rear of the house across the lawns.
During our visit, all of the staff that we came across without exception including the welcome team, the shop assistants the guides stationed around the house, the gardeners and the refreshment staff were friendly and helpful.
In summary then, a most enjoyable day out to Down House, the house and grounds are not large but there is a good amount to see and do here and it is worthy of a day out if you have not been. Would consider a return visit with someone who had previously visited.
Written 30 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dear Stewart C Thank you so much for taking the time to review your recent visit to Down House. I am so pleased that you had an enjoyable day with us. Thank you for also mentioning that all of the staff and volunteers you came across on your visit were friendly and helpful this is really great to hear. I hope that we will see you again in the future. Best wishes, Bryony - Site Manager
Written 11 September 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

LoubyLou19
Sevenoaks, UK11 contributions
School Visit
Jun 2021 • Family
Took students from years 7, 8 & 9 for a science trip and they had the most interesting and informative experience. The exhibits and information truly enhanced the school curriculum. The gardens are beautiful and we were all able to enjoy a picnic.
Written 21 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dear LoubyLou19 Thank you so much for your 5 star review! I am so pleased to read that your students all had an interesting and informative experience. I hope you can revisit us in the future. Best wishes, Bryony - Site Manager
Written 11 September 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

G S
2 contributions
Worth a visit
Jul 2021 • Couples
Definitely worth a visit. Beautiful house, beautiful gardens. A great day out. Very well presented to tell the story of Charles Darwin and his family. Guides very knowledgable.
Written 12 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dear gsF9296YY Thank you so much for taking the time to review your visit with us and thank you for giving your visit 5 stars! We hope to welcome you again in the future. Best wishes, Bryony - Site Manager
Written 11 September 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

peebee43
Leigh-on Sea, UK691 contributions
fascinationg House.
Jul 2021
A small house once owned by Charles Darwin. Lots of interesting exhibits thoroughout the house. Due to Covid only a very few visitors are allowed in at any one time and to get stuck behind a visitor who wanted to read every notice, as we did, rather ruined our experience. There were notices requesting to keep moving but they were largely ignored. The gardens were pleasant but at the time of our visit needed a bit more attention. 2 hours should cover it. There is a pleasant courtyard for meal and refreshments.
Written 7 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Janet
Ramsgate, UK1 contribution
Staff very welcoming and friendly, especially Kim. It was enjoyably informative! Great day out, gardens lovely. Thank you
Jul 2021 • Friends
Staff were very friendly and helpful, especially Kim. It was enjoyably informative and the gardens were beautiful! Thank you for a great day, we will definitely come back one day.
Written 4 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

alzbeta
Prague, Czech Republic1 contribution
Definitely worth a visit!
Jun 2021
We visited the Down House on Saturday 19.6.2021 and had a really great time. Both the gardens and the house are beautifully presented and very well done. It's very informative and interesting. It is also great how it depicts Darwin not only as an academic but also as a student/son/father/friend.

We accidentally bought tickets only to see the gardens, but luckily, the staff at the Down house was extremely helpful and nice and allowed us to rebook and pay the difference (even though they were almost closing) so we could see the inside of the house. Overall, the staff was amazing, very kind and helpful.
Written 21 June 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Graham H
Sevenoaks, UK34 contributions
Well worth a visit
Aug 2020
Interesting, well laid out in the house and beautiful gardens. very full of fascinating items and exhibits about Charles DArwin
Written 21 June 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Home of Charles Darwin Down House is open:
  • Sun - Sat 10:00 - 17:00
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