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Home of Charles Darwin

In a modest countrified suburbs of Kent is the quite hamlet called "Down", there's not much to see but it is undoubtedly attractive to walk through. But what makes this place so very special is it was the home of one of the greatest minds that ever lived. Everyone knows Charles Darwin for his book "On the origin of species" where he outlined the theory of evolution and at a stroke changed the face of science. But here you learn the rest about the great man and see that there was more to him than just one theory.
As you go up up his drive way, now a English heritage run car park you get the sense straight away of the eminence of the man as even today this is an impressive house in the bracket of a mansion. Charles came from wealth and had it in abundance before he became the intellectual power house that we know him as. But given this its still has the feeling of a snug and cosy sort of palace.
So what's there? well the English heritage seem to realise that the value of this property is limited when merely showing off what his bathroom looked like so they spilt the experience into two floors showing very different things. As you walk in on the first floor you go through a succession of rooms set out as Charles and his family lived in them; his billiards room, dinning room, even his piano room with which he carried out his experiments to play music to earth worms to see if they would respond. This is partly mocked up but the house is set-out clearly to give you the impression of how the man lived. The second floor is more or a museum and here they pay homage to his life's works, for instance his 5 year trip sailing around the world collecting his many specimens, and here you learn more about not just his life and how he actually hated sea travel, but more about his family, his career and the effects his work has had on the world. The truly arresting things about Darwin is that he was famous for his evolution works but yet never stopped studying numerous other facets of the natural world, at the time of his death he really was simply studying the humble earth worm... and this was at a time when he was as world renown as Mozart.
Its the sort of place you really need to linger at as there is plenty to take in. When you are done here his gardens are a agreeable place to wonder round and a cafe is available (or though rather ambitiously priced... £3 for a cup of Hot chocolate is ridiculous for an average tasting beverage!!) but there is a patio with lounging chairs with roof to hang out under and take in the garden view as Charles and Emma would have seen it.
This experience is less than a 25 minute drive away and we rate it as highly recommended
Postcode: BR6 7JT
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