The daily life of Charles Darwin was one of routine, followed by more routine. Every day unfolding much the same as the previous one, and this went on year after year during most of his life at Down House. One of the reasons for this life-style is that any unforeseen events that took place in his life seemed to induce symptoms of ill health. What follows is a typical day in Darwin's life, as remembered by his son, Francis Darwin.


Charles Darwin got up early before sunrise to take a short walk outside. (a tradition he started in March 1849 at Malvern Spa)

7:45 - 8:00
Had a small breakfast by himself.

8:00 - 9:30
He did his best research during this time.

9:30 - 10:30
Read letters in the drawing room. Family letters were read aloud by his wife, Emma, while he relaxed on the sofa. Sometimes she would read a novel to him at this time.

10:30 - 12:00
He did more research.


12:00 - 1:00
No matter what the weather might be like he went for a stroll at the Sandwalk with his dog Polly, a white terrier. Along the way he would often stop by the greenhouse to check up on how his plant experiments were doing.

1:00 - 1:30
Had his Lunch

1:30 - 2:00
Read the newspaper on the sofa in the drawing room. He was very much interested in the political goings on.

2:00 - 3:00
Sat down in his big chair in the study by the fireplace and wrote letters.

3:00 - 4:00
Rested in his bedroom on the sofa while listening to a novel read to him by Emma.

4:00 - 4:30
Came downstairs for his late afternoon stroll.

4:30 - 5:30
More research on whatever project he was working on at the time.

5:30 - 6:00
Relaxed in the drawing room and did miscellaneous stuff, or just being idle.


6:00 - 7:30
Another rest upstairs with a novel read to him by his wife.

7:30 - 8:00
Had a light dinner with Emma and the children.

8:00 - 8:30
Played two games of backgammon with Emma every night. He kept score of every game for many years.

8:30 - 9:00
Read a scientific text in the drawing room or study.

9:00 - 9:30
Listened to Emma playing her Broadwood Grand pianoforte.

9:30 - 10:00
Emma read more from a novel while Darwin relaxed in the drawing room.

10:00 - 10:30
Went upstairs to get ready for bed.

Went to bed.