A boy smelling the flowers in the gardens at Down House.

Home of Charles Darwin - Down House Family Guide

With observation beehives, plants that eat insects and a multimedia tour narrated by Sir David Attenborough, there is plenty for adults and children alike at Down House.

Explore the gardens where Darwin conducted many of his experiments, the study where he wrote 'On the Origin of Species' and experience Victorian family life in the home where Darwin lived for 40 years.

A family with the discovery trail packs for children in the garden at Down House.

Family Essentials

  • Food and drink: The cafe offers a seasonal menu of soup, sandwiches and a daily special, along with a selection of cakes and hot and cold drinks.
  • Toilets: There are accessible toilets and baby changing facilities on site.
  • Dogs: Dogs are not allowed because Down House is a 'Site of Importance for Nature Conservation', containing important protected species. Assistance dogs are welcome.
  • Parking: Free parking is available on site.

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Children and a man in historical costume taking part in an activity at Down House

Events at Down House

From bug hunts to experiments in evolution, find out what events are coming up at Down House.

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Two boys trying on clothes in Charles Darwin’s bedroom.

Travelling in Time

Our special family discovery trail sheets for children will guide them around the house and gardens with activities to complete along the way. Pick them up for free at the main desk or ask a member of staff - don't worry, we've got pencils too.

You can also experience Victorian life for yourself in the main bedroom. There is a dressing up closet with Victorian style clothes which the whole family can try on to see  how you would have looked in the 1850s.

 

A girl at the observation bee hive.

Historic Hunt

  • Explore the greenhouse where Darwin grew his exotic specimens - keep an eye out for the insectivorous plants with sticky tentacles that curl up to catch their insect prey.
  • Watch the bees hard at work in the special observation hive. If you're lucky you might catch a glimpse of the queen bee - and you can take some of the honey from the Down House beehives in the gift shop.
  • Darwin's study is filled with his original furniture and possessions. Look out to see his armchair with castors added to the bottom so he could easily move it around while he pored over his books and specimens.

Three boys playing in the gardens at Down House.

Places to Play

There is plenty of space to play on the lawn outside the house, as well as the dressing up closet.

If you've got extra energy take a walk along Darwin's tree-lined 'thinking path', a quarter-mile circular path through meadows where Darwin would ponder his new theories and ideas.

Plan Your Visit

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