Eton College

Windsor & Eton

Eton College is England’s most famous public – as in, private and fee-paying – boys' school, and arguably the most enduring symbol of the British class system. High-profile alumni include 19 British prime ministers, countless princes, kings and maharajas, Princes William and Harry, George Orwell, John Maynard Keynes, Bear Grylls and Eddie Redmayne. It can only be visited on guided tours, on summer Fridays, which take in the school yard, chapel and the Museum of Eton Life. Book online.

Eton was founded by Henry VI in 1440 with a view towards educating 70 highly qualified boys awarded a scholarship from a fund endowed by the king. Every year since then, 70 King's Scholars have been chosen, based on the results of a highly competitive exam; these pupils are housed in separate quarters from the 1300 or so other students. All pupils are boarders and are obliged to wear formal tailcoats, waistcoats and white collars to lessons (top hats went out in 1948).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Windsor & Eton attractions

1. Windsor Castle

0.57 MILES

The world’s largest and oldest continuously occupied fortress, Windsor Castle is a majestic vision of battlements and towers. Used for state occasions, it…

2. Windsor Great Park

0.83 MILES

Windsor Great Park stretches south from Windsor Castle almost all the way to Ascot, 7 miles southwest. It covers just under 8 sq miles and holds a lake,…

3. Runnymede

3.49 MILES

Over 800 years ago, in June 1215, King John met his barons in this unassuming field, 3 miles southeast of Windsor. Together they hammered out an agreement…

4. Savill Garden

4.56 MILES

Created in the 1930s by Sir Eric Savill in the southern reaches of Windsor Great Park, this pretty 14-hectare garden includes ornamental beds, woodlands…

5. World Rugby Museum

11.88 MILES

This museum at Twickenham Stadium boasts 41,000 items of rugby memorabilia, the most extensive collection in the world. Interactive exhibitions and events…

6. Strawberry Hill

12.43 MILES

With its snow-white walls and Gothic turrets, this fantastical and totally restored 18th-century creation in Twickenham is the work of art historian,…

7. River & Rowing Museum

12.69 MILES

To understand why Henley’s so crazy for rowing, visit this excellent modern museum, 500yd south of the train station. The airy 1st-floor galleries tell…

8. Richmond Lock

12.76 MILES

Dating from 1894, 250ft long Richmond Lock and footbridge is open during the day to pedestrians.