The car park is free of charge and is just 50 metres from the front entrance. It has 42 spaces, including two disabled bays. Access to the house is via a level path away from the road. We use the overflow carpark at busy times but this is restricted in poor weather. Please try and use public transport wherever possible.
There is one coach bay available which needs to be booked in advance.
Please note: There are no additional car parks within walking distance of the site.
Food and Drink
The tea room which serves a selection of sandwiches, cold platters, soups, ice creams and hot food in the winter.
There is an outdoor seating area for customers and children's portions are available. The tea room uses site-grown and local produce. Vegetarian, dairy and gluten free options are available on the menu.
See our Food and Drink page for more details of what we offer at Down House.
Unfortunately picnics are not allowed within the grounds as Down House is a 'Site of Importance for Nature Conservation', meaning that it contains many important protected species such as fungi.
The gift shop sells a wide range of English Heritage and Charles Darwin related gifts including books, souvenirs, jewellery, food and drink.
The gift shop is located by the entrance to Down House.
There are separate male and female toilets near the tea room. There are also disabled toilets, which include baby changing facilities.
Dogs are not allowed because Down House is a 'Site of Importance for Nature Conservation', meaning that it contains many important protected species such as fungi. Assistance dogs are welcome however.
An award-winning exhibition on the first floor of the house covers Darwin’s life, his scientific work, and the controversy which it provoked. It features many previously unseen objects, with highlights including manuscript pages from the 'Origin of Species'; Darwin’s hat, microscope and notebooks; and a copy of 'Das Kapital' inscribed to him by Karl Marx. This exhibition can be accessed by the central stairs or by lift.
Down House features a beautiful garden full of loose drifts of flowers, lush meadowland and mature trees. There is also a kitchen garden, including Darwin’s ‘Experiment Bed’, a hot-house, and beyond this, a wooded Sandwalk, where Darwin paced daily while working out his theories.
No ball games are allowed on the site. However there is plenty of space for children to run around and play hide and seek.
- Audio Tour Availability
- Video guides are free. Visitors are guided round Darwin’s family rooms by a hand-held multimedia tour, narrated by Sir David Attenborough and Andrew Marr.
The audio tour also includes the extensive gardens – Darwin’s ‘outdoor laboratory’ and the place where he made many of his discoveries.
A written transcript of the audio tour is available. Basic written guides are available in a range of languages including French, Russian, German, Japanese and Spanish.
- Basic Language Audio Tours
- Baby Changing Facilities
- There are separate male and female toilets near the Tearoom. There are also disabled toilets, which include baby changing facilities.
- Child Sized Portions
- There are two highchairs available in the tearoom.
- Pushchairs Allowed
- We warmly welcome children and families at Down House. Pushchairs or prams are generally not allowed in the ground floor rooms. At busy times we may suggest that you leave them in the hall area.
- Toy/Dressing Up Box
- A dressing up area and toy box can be found in the education room (located on the first floor).
Please be aware
Please note that no photography is allowed inside the house.
From September through to March, the fields are grazed by sheep.
- Foreign Language Subtitles
- Basic written guides are available in a range of languages including French, Russian, German, Japanese and Spanish.
Commercial Photography and Filming
English Heritage welcomes all photographers to our sites and we hope you will share your pictures with us on Flickr and Facebook.
We do have some restrictions at certain locations, so if photography is your main reason for visiting, please call the site ahead of your visit to check if any parts of the site are restricted.
We are keen to promote the use of our sites to location managers. If you are interested please go to (Filming Locations) for more information and contacts.