Home of Charles Darwin - Down House

Schools

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.

Please note: all school booking slots are now filled and we’re reopening in Spring 2021. In the meantime, if you’d like to discuss how you can engage with the site, please contact our education booking team using the details below.

Information about your visit

A visit to one of our sites will inspire your students and bring your teaching to life. We'd like to reassure you that we're following Government guidance to make your trip as safe and enjoyable as possible. 

Important information to consider before you book:

  • To keep everyone safe we’ve introduced limits on visitor numbers and school groups, so please bear this in mind when booking your trip.
  • Find out more about what to expect on your school visit, which also includes our Covid 19 Risk Assessment.
  • To make the planning process as easy as possible, make sure you check our Plan Your School Trip section at the bottom of this page, for updated information on the facilities at the site as well as our free resources.
  • As usual, you’ll need to book your visit at least 14 days in advance. Please check our Terms and Conditions for full details.

We’re continually updating our education offer in line with government guidance.  At some sites you might not be able to use our handling collections or costumes as part of a free self-led visit, but where we can provide hands-on items in a safe way we will. We’ve adapted our Discovery Visit workshops to follow government guidelines, but for certain sessions this hasn’t been possible – please check our schools webpages for further information.

There may be areas of our sites which are closed, so please check what’s available for your school group on our property webpages and with our booking team.  They can put you in touch with our Education Visits Officers who can offer help and guidance, so you can make the most of your school trip.

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!

Enquire now

Expert-led Discovery Visits

We aren’t running Discovery Visits at this site at the moment – we’re unable to adapt the session in a way that would still provide a quality, immersive education experience. We hope to start running them again in 2021, so please check this page for updates.

Plan Your Trip

We have a wide range of materials to support your visit and make school trip planning easy. 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 for group leaders once you have made a booking. Our Education Booking Team is on hand to advise and help you create the best possible school trip to suit your needs and area of study.

  • Facilities
    • DOWN HOUSE AND GARDENS: There is a one way route inside the House and limited capacity inside. Face masks will be required as below when inside the House. Our beautiful gardens will be open with a one-way system for you to enjoy while keeping to social distancing rules.
    • GLASS HOUSES: Due to their enclosed spaces the glass house and laboratory will remain closed. Instead we will be opening the great house meadow to visitors for the first time.
    • PARKING: There is a space for one coach, which must be pre-booked: please specify when booking your visit if you require this space. Disabled bays are available in the car park. Please note that we cannot always accept coaches at the weekend or on a Bank Holiday. If you need to travel by coach on a Saturday or Sunday, you will need to be dropped off and the coach will need to park elsewhere. Please do not park in the local village.
    • EDUCATION ROOM: Unfortunately the education space is currently closed.
    • TOILETS: Two toilets are available. Additional hand sanitising stations will be available on site.
    • LUNCH: Grassed picnic area with picnic benches. A temporary catering facility in the gardens will be offering takeaway service of light refreshments. 
    • SHOP: The shop will be open to small groups at a time, with a one-way system in place.
    • ACCESS: The newly-opened meadow and some pathways including the sandwalk can be difficult for wheelchair users.
    • FACE MASKS: Face coverings must be worn in Down House's indoor spaces. We won’t be able to give you a face covering, so please come prepared so you don’t miss out.
  • Enquire now

  • School visits from September 2020

    Education bookings are now open and can make provisional bookings for visits from September 2020 to March 2021. Due to the current situation we can’t answer calls as quickly as we’d like to. If you’d like more information about a site, email us and we’ll put you in touch with an Education Visits Officer, or if you’d like to book a visit you can use our online booking form. 

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