Sunday, April 5, 2009
-- The city and environs will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin throughout the year. (For an updated list of events, visit http://www.darwin200.org.) "Darwin's Big Idea," the The Museum of Natural History's exhibition devoted to the naturalist, continues through April 19 (011-44-20-7942-5000, http://www.nhm.ac.uk); the nearest Underground station is South Kensington. Museum entry is free, but exhibition tickets (buying online in advance is strongly recommended) are about $13; open daily 10 a.m.-5:50 p.m. To get to Down House, Darwin's home in Kent (011-44-16-8985-9119, do a search at http://www.english-heritage.org.uk), take a suburban train to Orpington station and then transfer to bus R8. The entire trip takes about an hour; train fare, which includes a free bus transfer, starts at about $9.25 round trip (011-44-20-7278-5240, http://www.nationalrail.co.uk). Down House admission about $12.75; the house is open 11 a.m.-5 p.m., the grounds until 6 p.m., through Aug. 31. Open daily in July and August; otherwise, closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
-- Kew Gardens' 250th anniversary also will be celebrated throughout the year (011-44-20-8332-5655, http://www.kew.org). The gardens are accessible via the London Underground's District line (a 30-minute trip from the central city; round-trip fares start at about $5.80 when traveling off-peak, http://www.tfl.gov.uk). Admission about $18.75; open Mondays-Fridays 9:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays until 7:30 p.m.
-- April marks the 500th anniversary of the coronation of Henry VIII, and celebrations are country-wide (for a list of events, visit http://www.visitbritain.us). The palace at Hampton Court, Henry's residence on the Thames River (011-44-20-3166-6000, http://www.hrp.org.uk), is about an hour from London and best accessed via suburban trains to Hampton Court station (011-44-20-7278-5240, http://www.nationalrail.co.uk). Round-trip fares start at about $7. Hampton Court Palace, maze and gardens admission about $20; open daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m. through October; November-March until 4:30 p.m.