For those of you who would like a different experience let this writer recommend visiting Down House the former home of Charles Darwin. It is between 15 and 17 miles away from Safestay by car. If you want to take public transport the route that will take the least amount of time would be as follows. Walk to Elephant and Castle. This is Stop ID EPH. To the St. Albans to Sevenoaks train. This will take 21 minutes with 3 stops. At Bromley South Stop ID: BMS you will to make a transfer to Bromley South (Stop Y). Take the 146 Bus towards Downe. There will be 20 stops and it will take about 18 minutes. Disembark at Downe Church. It is a short walk to Downe House from there. Total travel time including waiting for transfers is about 1 hour and 13 minutes.
The site is open 7 days a week from 10:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M. ( 17:00) for the summer months. During the winter months November 04 through February 16 the facility is open on weekends only from 10:00 A.M. - 4:00 P.M. (16:00). Last admission is sold 30 minutes before closing. A regular admission ticket is 10 British pounds. Special prices are available for children, students, seniors and families.
If you have an interest in history, science and evolution this is an attraction that might interest you. The visitor can see the actual study where Charles Darwin wrote “On the Origin of Species”. The room is much like it would have been during the tenure famous scientist. A walk through the rest of the house gives one a glimpse of life in the 19th century for the Darwin family. As part of your admission a multimedia tour narrated by David Attenborough is provided. It gives the visitor a detailed look at how Darwin developed his ideas and theories.
As part of your visit take a stroll through the extensive gardens that surround the property. It reportedly provided great inspiration to this internationally well known scientist. A cafe is located on the property in case you wish to spend additional time at this attraction. While there make sure you visit the carnivorous plants and the many orchids that can be found in the hot-house and the replica of Darwin's cabin on HMS Beagle. Periodic special events are held on the property so if you are planning a visit you might want check what is being offered at that time. The phone number is 0870 333 1181.
The original house dates from the 1600's. In the late 1700's the house was rebuilt and enlarged. It is known that in 1781 the owner at the time George Butler paid the highest window tax in Downe. It was at this time it was called the Great House. The Darwin family would purchase the property in 1842. Following the acquisition of the property Charles would make extensive alterations to the house and grounds. Charles would die on the site in 1882 and his wife in 1896.
From 1907 to 1922 the property would the site of the Downe School for Girls. The Darwin heirs would sell the property in 1927. From 1927 to 1996 it was known as the Darwin Museum. In 1996 the property was acquired by English Heritage and has since been nominated to be a World Heritage Site.
Find out more information here: English Heritage Site