Home of Charles Darwin - Down House

School Visits

Bring the curriculum to life and inspire your students at the former home of Charles Darwin and the site where the internationally renowned 'On the Origin of Species' was written. From Victorian interiors and original furniture inside the house, to gardens of Special Scientific Interest, there is plenty for school groups to see at Down House.

Curriculum links

Support your teaching at Down House with many links to the curriculum from history to science and local history

  • KS1 History: Significant historical events, people and places in their own locality; lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements
  • KS1-2 Science: Working scientifically, animals and plants, living things and their habitats
  • KS1-3 History: A local history study
  • KS2 History: Study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066
  • KS2 Science: Evolution and inheritance
  • KS3 History: Ideas, political power, industry and empire: Britain 1745-190
  • KS3 Science: Working scientifically, biology: genetics and evolution

Free self-led visits

Explore and discover the authentic Victorian interiors, reflecting the home in which Darwin and his wife Emma raised their children. An immersive on-site exhibition guides you through Darwin's voyage aboard the Beagle from 1831-36, his scientific discoveries and the impact of his revolutionary theories on Victorian society. Continue your voyage outside to the extensive gardens and explore key parts of the site where Darwin undertook some of his experiments!

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Expert-led Discovery Visits

Let our experts bring history to life during an immersive Discovery Visit. Students will investigate Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection. They'll develop scientific skills, understand the context of Darwin’s work and explore key parts of the house and garden. 

Our Discovery Visit has been adapted to follow health and safety guidelines and will still offer your students a quality and fun learning experience.

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Plan Your Trip

We have a wide range of materials to support your visit and make school trip planning easy. You can find all our site-specific information and tools below, and further information on our what to expect page.

Download our free resources to help you make the most out of your visit and create unique learning experiences before, during and after your trip. We also offer free planning visits once you have made a booking, plus a 20% discount on the official English Heritage guidebook for your place of choice.

Once you book your visit you’ll be sent a visit permit, which you’ll need to bring with you on the day.

Visit our bookings page to start planning your trip!

  • Facilities
    • PARKING: The car park is free of charge and is just 50 metres from the front entrance. It has 42 spaces, including two disabled bays. There is one coach space. It is essential to book the coach space in advance; please contact our Education Bookings Team for further information. If parking is unavailable, coaches will have to drop-off and return later for collection. Due to narrow lanes and the small size of the car park and coach bay, the maximum recommended coach size Down House can accommodate is a 38-seater coach. Larger coaches will only be accepted at the site’s discretion.
    • EDUCATION ROOM: This room can be made available for school groups if it's not in use for Discovery Visits.
    • TOILETS: Male, female and accessible toilets are available on site.
    • LUNCH: Grassed picnic area with picnic benches. The tearoom serves a selection of sandwiches, cold platters, soups, ice-creams and hot food in the winter. Groups may use the Education Room if available in wet weather
    • SHOP: The shop sells a selection of English Heritage gifts and souvenirs. Please bring your class in small groups at a time. 
    • ACCESSIBILITY: The newly-opened meadow and some pathways including the sandwalk can be difficult for wheelchair users. You can use the lift to gain access to the 1st floor.
    • WET WEATHER: Visits to the inside of the house will not be disrupted by wet weather. The garden will be slippery in wet weather so extra care should be taken.
  • Hazard Information

    A useful tool to help with your risk assessments.


    You must meet the following ratios for leaders to students on the day of your visit when booking, and if your group is forming smaller groups while at the site:

    • Ages 4-5 (UK Reception) 1 leader for every 4 students (1:4)
    • Ages 5-7 (UK Key Stage 1) 1 leader for every 6 students (1:6)
    • Ages 7-11 (UK Key Stage 2) 1 leader for every 10 students (1:10) and
    • Ages 11-18 (UK Key Stages 3, 4, and 5) 1 leader for every 15 students (1:15)
    • For an adult learning group, consisting of individuals all over the age of 18, there are no ratios but there must be an appointed group leader
    • All ratios outlined above apply to home education groups
    • If your group consists of children aged 3 and/or 4, you must also refer to the Early Years and Foundation Stage Statutory Framework which sets out specific legal requirements for minimum ratios for this age group, to include requirements about the qualifications of the leaders
    • SEND groups must meet the minimum ratios above but may bring any additional leaders as required to adequately support their group
  • Education Site Opening Times

    We offer free self-led education visits during school term time*. From November until February we open exclusively for education groups at selected sites when booking an expert-led Discovery Visit. See our education opening times below for individual site information.

    *Free education visits are not offered on UK public holidays or during the operation of additional fee paying public events at English Heritage sites.

    • April-5 November: Monday-Friday 10-5pm. Discovery Visits available Monday-Friday
    • 6 November-11 February: Monday-Friday 10-4pm. Discovery Visits available Monday-Friday 
    • 19 February-31 March: Wednesday-Friday 10am-4pm. Discovery Visits available Monday-Friday

Learning Resources

  • Darwin Activity Trail (KS2-KS3)

    Explore Charles Darwin's home at Down House with our Activity Trail.

  • Darwin Activity Trail Floorplan

    Use this floorplan to help you discover the key areas of Darwin's home. 

  • Teaching the Victorians

    Use historical information, learning activities and tips from our historians, curators and educational experts to support your teaching of the Victorians.

  • Curators' Collections: Down House

    Explore objects from our collections at Down House to learn more about Charles Darwin's life and work.

  • Who Was Charles Darwin?

    Learn more about Charles Darwin and his groundbreaking scientific discoveries with this short animation.

  • Postcard from Down House

    Take to the skies above Charles Darwin's home at Down House to discover the site and its surroundings.