Down House, home of Charles Darwin: ‘An unstuffy educational day out’ – review

Darwin’s Kent home and garden immerses visitors in his work and life, and proves a day trip where learning is also fun

Charles Darwin, his wife, Emma, and their children lived at Down House for 40 years from 1838. Several rooms appear as if the family still live here: with croquet sets thrown into an under-stairs cupboard, a half-played game of backgammon on a side table and Emma’s knitting left on a chair in the drawing room. Upstairs, an exhibition showcases Darwin’s voyage aboard HMS Beagle, including a reconstruction of his cabin. Outside, visitors can explore the sheltered gardens which Darwin used as an open-air laboratory, and the greenhouse in which he cultivated rare plants and devised botanical experiments.

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