History Hunters: Discovering Charles Darwin at Down House

I was a bit worried about this one for little kids, as I thought it might be a bit boring, but we were passing it on our way home from a weekend on the Kent coast so decided to pop in…and were very glad we did!IMG_7772

Okay, so the theory of evolution and origin of species may have gone over their heads, but the kids really enjoyed playing in the gardens, dressing up in period clothes, and drawing and fiddling with skulls in the Discovery Room.

I usually avoid going into the houses, and prefer to keep curious little hands in the gardens, but Down House was surprisingly child friendly. There is a great, holographic exhibit of a young Darwin aboard the HMS Beagle, the rooms in the house are full of trinkets and artefacts, there is a classroom with dress-up clothes and Victorian toys and the Discovery Room has activities for kids – it also doubles as a great pit stop, a quiet room in which to sit and contain the kids for ten minutes!

The older kids followed the interactive audio guide and the younger ones did a trail around the house and gardens, ticking things off as they found them- they enjoyed this and felt involved. My 4-year-old took quite a lot away from this experience and now calls every old man he sees with a bushy beard Charles Darwin!

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Enjoy, Amy x

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