A Trip to Down House, former home of Charles Darwin

Down House is Grade II on the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England for its long association with the life and work of Darwin.

Charles Darwin used the 7.2ha estate, including the Great House Meadow and greenhouses, surrounding Down House as an inspiration for his work and a test 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. 

DIRECTIONS

Address
Luxted Road, Downe, Kent - BR6 7JT

Hi all,

It is great so many of you are coming to  Down House on Saturday.

From the responses I have received is seems the best place for the bulk of the group travelling there is to meet at  London Bridge Station.

I suggest we meet around  10.15 near the information desk under the large board announcing departures, which is also the entrance to platforms 1 to 6. ( the old part of the station, not the shiny new bit)

I suggest we catch the  10.23 to Orpington

Orpington is in zone 6 so you can use an Oyster Card, or buy a travel card to get there. (Thanks to Steve for pointing this out)

AS IT CAN GET VERY BUSY AT THE STATION ON SATURDAYS IF YOU DO NEED TO BUY A TICKET MAKE SURE YOU ARRIVE IN SUFFICIENT TIME, THERE ARE TICKET MACHINES OUTSIDE THE STAION AND THE QUEUES TEND TO BE SMALLER THERE.

There is also a lot of engineering work around the station at present, too.

Orpington is 4.5 miles from Down House.

Some people have kindly offered to give lifts to people, and will be waiting for us at  Orpington Station at 10.40

If you do have space in a car and have not yet contacted me please do, or kindly meet us at Orpington Station on Saturday.

The fairest thing seems to be to offer the lifts available to the first people who respond to this email to confirm they will be coming.

The rest of us will then share taxis from Orpington to Down House.

There are also local buses from Orpington but they are infrequent, and the shared taxis seem a far more convenient option.

If anyone has any other suggestions to assist people or make the day more fun do let me know and if you get lost or delayed on the day please call me on  Tel:[masked]

IF YOU CAN SADLY NO LONGER MAKE THE TRIP PLEASE ALSO LET ME KNOW OR CHANGE YOUR MEETUP STATUS SO I CAN INFORM DOWN HOUSE REGARDING NUMBERS. MANY THANKS.

Here's to a great CLHG day out!

Helen

Helen Palmer

CLHG Events Organiser


Sat Nav
Bus Access

146 from Bromley South railway station (hourly)

R8 from Orpington railway station (not on Sundays).

Road Access
Luxted Rd, Downe; off A21or A233.
Train Access
Travel by train is easy: only 15 minutes from London Victoria to Bromley South, followed by bus 146.
Also trains to Orpington from Charing Cross or Victoria followed by bus R8 (not on Sundays).
COST
Entry is £9.90 per person, but we will get a 15% group discount if 11 people, or more attend, which I am sure they will. Anyone who is a member of English Heritage will get free entry.
ACCESS

Access to house: Disabled access via shop.

All ground floor rooms are level with seats in every room.

First-floor reached by lift and ramp to mount two steps.

Access to grounds:

Most areas can be reached via gravel paths, including Darwin's 'thinking path' and greenhouses. The gravel can be slippery when wet. The rest of the area is lawn.


FOOD & DRINK

Tea room on ground floor. Sorry no picnics allowed in house or grounds.

 

Once we have an idea of who is going, and from where, we can arrange to meet in groups at Victoria or Bromley South railway stations.

 

 

 

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  • Heather

    I enjoyed this tremendously - thanks to everyone who contributed cars, conversation, congeniality!

    April 23, 2012

  • Derek S.

    " I have to say this is one of my best meet up's I have been on so far. and as for our team of humanists. I can say you could not have had a better or more friendly group of
    people to be with. I would gladly do it all again..Avery big thanks to Helen for organising this whole trip ..Thank you Helen!..

    Del

    April 22, 2012

  • Rita Sousa N.

    I had such a wonderful day in my first 'social' with you guys! Beautiful

    1 · April 22, 2012

  • Alan P.

    A great day out for fans of Charles Darwin - and special thanks to Helen for organising it.

    April 22, 2012

  • Jim

    Interesting outing in very congenial company. The house and garden were first-class and the pub afterwards was superb. Thank you to the organiser.

    April 22, 2012

  • Helen

    A really fun day out, with a great group of people, perhaps we should make this an annual 'pilgrimage'.

    April 22, 2012

  • Mary G.

    Excellent Day! I'll be posting photos soon ...

    April 22, 2012

  • Baptiste B.

    It was a fantastic day!

    April 22, 2012

  • John N.

    Interesting and friendly.

    April 22, 2012

  • Rob M.

    A nice day, if a little bracing. I've been to Down House before, but it was fun going around with other humanists and having intelligent conversation.

    April 21, 2012

  • Steve C.

    We are meeting at London Bridge around 10.15 to catch the 10.23 to Orpington. Sanch just told me that he can't make it.

    April 21, 2012

  • Baptiste B.

    With an oyster card it will cost 2.90£ each way, so this is quite cheap. Usually the travel card is automatically charged when you reach the amount that it cost.

    April 16, 2012

  • Steve C.

    Helen, thanks for all you have done to organise. Orpington Station is in zone 6, so if you have an Oyster card it will cover it. If you are travelling to London Bridge Station by train/ underground, I suggest you get a zone 1-6 travelcard at your starting station. This will be simpler and will save you having to get a separate ticket from London Bridge

    April 16, 2012

  • Heather

    Hi Helen, thanks for doing a thorough job on the travel arrangements. I'd like a space in a shared car, but failing that, then a shared taxi from Orpington.

    April 16, 2012

  • Sanch

    Message for Helen -- Would like to claim a spot in one of the cars :)

    April 16, 2012

  • Steve C.

    Helen is going to post a suggested meeting time once she has heard back from everyone as to how they are getting there

    April 12, 2012

  • Sanch

    Done

    April 12, 2012

  • Steve C.

    Sanch, can you post on Facebook

    April 12, 2012

  • Steve C.

    Sorry formatting urgh

    Meet at 9.40 London Bridge Station, near to the platform where the
    9.53 train to Orpington leaves from.

    April 12, 2012

  • Steve C.

    This looks like the best way, suggest we meet by 9.40

    9.53 London Bridge to
    10.08 Orpington Station
    ----------------------------------
    10.11 Bus R8 towards Biggin Hill
    10.40 Hail and ride will drop off near to Down House

    April 12, 2012

  • Sanch

    I reccomend we meet outside London Bridge so phones are working! Perhaps outside the main entrance. My phone number is[masked] if anyone needs to reach me.

    Also.. I was a maybe.. but I'll definately attend.

    April 12, 2012

  • Rita Sousa N.

    I'll join you in London Bridge also! Where exactly?

    April 12, 2012

  • Baptiste B.

    Kris and I will be in London Bridge too. Can't wait!

    April 12, 2012

  • Sanch

    If I go, I'll also go to London Bridge. It was good when we went a few years ago, some nice pubs in the area too.

    April 12, 2012

  • Steve C.

    I plan on going from London Bridge Station. I can be there from 10 ready to go. See you all on Saturday

    April 12, 2012

  • Steve C.

    Thanks for posting that Josh, I went last time, and am looking forward to seeing how well the refurbishment has been done

    April 6, 2012

  • Josh K.

    I don't think I am going to be able to make this one, unfortunately.
    I have been before, quite a long time ago back in 2007 with the Hampstead Humanists. (BTW The visit was organised by one of our current members Ada) Anyway I wrote up some personal impressions which you might find of interest. See http://thelunchtimeobservers.blogspot.com/2007/05/visit-to-darwins-house-some-impressions.html

    February 9, 2012

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