Things to See and Do

Things to see and do

Two boys and a woman dress up in period clothing at Down House

Charles and Emma's Bedroom

More than 100 years after it was dismantled and dispersed, English Heritage has recreated Charles and Emma Darwin's bedroom. This was the bedroom in which the revolutionary scientist died in 1882 and where, for 20 years, he enjoyed reading and resting, where he recovered from various illnesses and where he kept a watchful eye on his experiments in the garden from the room's large bay window.

Working from family letters, a detailed inventory, contemporary descriptions, paint analysis, and in-depth research into mid-Victorian interior design, English Heritage curators have sought to closely match the bedroom's original late 1850s appearance.

The room features novels Darwin would have read, a soundscape to conjure the experience of Emma reading to her husband, and a dressing closet allowing both children and adults to dress up as Charles and Emma. There's also a brand new free family trail taking visitors across the house and gardens as they explore what family life was like here at Down House.

Three children running through Down House gardens

Darwin's Gardens

The gardens were Darwin's 'outdoor laboratory' and he spent many hours here. Take a stroll along his 'thinking path' – what ideas will you come up with? Discover some of the garden highlights.

Explore the hothouse with its carnivorous plants and orchids, find the wormstone and enjoy the beautiful planting whatever the season.

Slice of cheesecake with strawberries

Food Glorious Food

Enjoy a tasty lunch or quick afternoon treat in our café. The café is in the old kitchen where all Darwin's meals were prepared. Some of the dishes use site-grown produce from the Kitchen Garden and local produce.

If the sun is shining, why not sit out on the patio where the renowned scientist used to receive his famous 'water cures' from his butler Parslow? If the weather is bad, there is seating inside and overflow seating in the Butler's Pantry.

Two girls looking at extracts from Charles Darwin's books

Exhibition and Interactive Guide

Dig deeper into Darwin's work through our exhibition and interactive guide. The award-winning exhibition on the first floor of the house covers Darwin's life, his scientific work, and the controversy which it provoked.

You will see many previously unseen objects 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.

Take a free tour round Darwin's family rooms with hand-held multimedia guide, narrated by Sir David Attenborough and Andrew Marr.

Plan your visit to Home of Charles Darwin (Down House) today.

Not just a Darwin: The Art of Gwen Raverat

From May 4th to 11th September 2019, Down House will be hosting an exhibition, Not just a Darwin: The Art of Gwen Raverat. Curated by the Raverat Archive, the exhibition will showcase the work of Darwin’s talented granddaughter, Gwendolen Raverat (1885 – 1957) who was one of England’s greatest wood engravers and a leading figure in the revival of the art form in the early 20th century. All of the wood-engraving prints, drawings and giclée prints on display will be available to purchase through the Down House shop.

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