Darwin’s Down House & Churchill’s Chartwell
On a single day, John England Tours will take you inside the homes of two of the greatest Englishmen ever to have lived: Charles Darwin and Sir Winston Churchill. In the company of John, your expert local guide, you will get the full story of these adventurous men and their remarkable achievements. You will get to enjoy exquisite English architecture and take in the tranquil landscape of Kent, a county often referred to as “The Garden of England.” John always ensures that his tailor-made, one-day tours allow you plenty of time to appreciate your surroundings without having to rush — all is taken care of.
Please note, if you would prefer to focus an entire visit on just one of these sites, they are available as standalone tours in our Private Day Tours range.
Charles Darwin’s Down House
Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of the Species in 1859 changed not only science, but the course of human history. Extremely controversial upon its first publication, especially amongst the religious, On the Origin of the Species single-handedly redefined humankind’s understanding of itself. The findings detailed in that book were the result of a lifetime spent observing the natural work and conducting countless experiments. I
Incredibly, much of that labour was undertaken right here at Down House. The scientific theories of Darwin place him in the echelons of Britain’s most influential historical figures. If you want to learn more about his life and work, then a visit to Down House must be on your list.
Located in a serene part of the English countryside, Darwin’s home of 40 years has been lovingly preserved by English Heritage. Here you can learn about Charles Darwin, his wife Lucy, and their children, as you walk in their very footsteps. An array of authentic items and decorative details from the time allow the visitor to travel through time and get a feel for the everyday lives of this remarkable family. The most extraordinary highlight of the tour must be the gardens. Having returned from his five-year voyage on The Beagle, Darwin wanted a peaceful country home where he could give complete focus to his writing and ideas. Here at Down House, he found the perfect setting. He developed a sheltered garden to cultivate plants and conduct many experiments. Today, as you walk in the orchards and through the greenhouses, your hair will stand on end as you consider that it was at this exact spot that our understanding of life on this planet was being re-imagined.
The multimedia presentation on-site is narrated by another legendary British naturalist, Sir David Attenborough, and it makes the visit all the more special. As you visit Darwin’s study where he penned On the Origin of the Species, you are sure to build a more detailed picture of the man in your mind. Down House offers an educational experience for guests of all ages and it’s all to be enjoyed in a wonderfully peaceful environment — this is no run-of-the-mill museum, but something truly unique.
Chartwell: The Treasured Country Home of Sir Winston Churchill
The National Trust, Britain’s primary organisation for the preservation of heritage, regard Chartwell as one of the greatest houses under their care. This is fitting, as Chartwell is the former home of one of Britain’s towering political and historical figures, Sir Winston Churchill. It is no exaggeration to say that Churchill ranks alongside the likes of William Shakespeare, Queen Victoria, and Henry VIII as one of the most iconic characters in English history.
Famous across the world primarily for his leadership during WWII, Churchill was an endlessly complex person. An aristocrat, historian, linguist, painter, politician, First Lord of the Admiralty, and drinker of legendary quantities of champagne and scotch, the high adventure of Sir Winston’s life is almost too grand to be believed. Yet, the facts here are truly more extraordinary than fiction. And had it not been for this larger-than-life leader, the fate of the free world would have, undoubtedly, been very different.
The beauty of a visit to Chartwell lies in the insight it gives to Churchill at his most creative. Here, guests encounter Churchill as a family man, writer, and a gifted pastoral painter.
Since the National Trust took responsibility for maintaining the property in the late 1940s, they have lovingly worked to preserve the things that make this property such a treat for anyone interested in the life of Sir Winston Churchill, or British history in general.
Inside the home, you can get a feel for how the Churchill family lived, you can see the very desk where Sir Winston composed many of his iconic speeches, and explore collections of art and antiques. While outside you can enjoy the peaceful natural surroundings that inspired Churchill as an artist.
Travellers particularly interested in the life of Churchill may wish to consider our Private Tour to Churchill’s Chartwell, a shorter tour focused entirely on Chartwell.
With John England Tours this tailor-made visit to two of England’s most significant properties, with their respective museums, will make your day not only memorable but unique too!
If you have any questions or comments regarding this tailor-made tour, please don’t hesitate to contact us.