Down House: The Home of Charles Darwin

I had a lovely day out yesterday after dropping Mum and Corrie at the rugby in Twickenham.

I got back on the motorway and went to visit the home of Charles Darwin – Down House, near the village of Downe which is just within the modern day boundaries of Greater London (as part of the London Borough of Bromley) – but back then would have been part of Kent.

I was very impressed with both the house and the gardens, managed by English Heritage (meaning I, as an EH member, got free entry) – With social distancing measures still in place I essentially had most of the rooms to myself. There aren’t many opportunities to stand alone in the study where Darwin wrote On the Origin of Species.

The ground floor is layed out and decorated just as it would in Darwin’s day. The upstairs is an exhibition on his life and work.

I do enjoy visiting old houses like this, the history stands out. I always wonder what it would actually have been like to live there at that time. It looks very homely and very comfortable – not everyone in the 1850s was so lucky of course.

The gardens are very large with well kept lawns and flower beds, the kitchen garden and greenhouse, and of course the sandwalk where Darwin would walk every single day.

There is a tea room at the house serving a range of drinks snacks, so after my visit before getting back on the motorway to go and pick Mum and Corrie up from the rugby, I grabbed a bite to eat.

I met Mum and Corrie in Richmond and we went to Orpheus Taverna to enjoy a 2-course Greek meze, a selection of starters to share followed by a selection of mains. The stifado was my favourite, but I also enjoyed the kleftiko, there was a small portion of chips, pita bread and dips. For pudding small bite-sized pieces of galaktoboureko (a sort of custard pie) and baklava, which I have acquired a taste for in the last couple of years.

After dinner I needed to walk dinner off before we drove back to Cirencester so we walked up the road and had a short walk along the Thames at Richmond. We walked as far as Richmond Lock then crossed over and walked back the other way.

It was a long day with lots of driving but I enjoy the driving, it’s so nice to be able to get out and about and do things again!

Back to work tomorrow but I enjoyed making use of my English Heritage membership – should do that more often.


Fred Hart

Stock Controller and Radio Presenter/Producer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *