Down House

Location: Kent

Website: Down House website

Down House was the home of Charles Darwin, and he used the 7.2ha estate, including the Great House Meadow and greenhouses, surrounding Down House as an inspiration for his work and a test1 bed for his ideas. Though somewhat run down when acquired by English Heritage, the estate has survived in structure and extent almost unscathed since Darwin’s death in 1882. English Heritage completed a five year restoration of the garden in the spring of 2003, which aimed to re-create the appearance and atmosphere of the garden as it was towards the end of Darwin’s life.

While living at Down, Darwin spent a great deal of time in the garden, experimenting and thinking. Over the course of forty years he made many changes and additions including the building of high flint walls, and the planting of many apple trees with the removed earth being used to make banks and mounds around the garden. The ornamental aspect of the garden was for most part typically Victorian with herbaceous borders, rose gardens and flower beds.

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