Eton College

sights / Architecture

Eton College information

Eton is the largest and most famous public (meaning very private) school in England, and arguably the most enduring and illustrious symbol of England's class system. At the time of writing, it wasn't possible to visit the school due to building work, but check the visitors tab on their website to see whether tours have resumed.

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 (aged 12 to 14) have been chosen based on the results of a highly competitive exam; these pupils are housed in separate quarters from the rest of the 1300 or so other students. All the boys are boarders and must wear formal tailcoats, waistcoats and white collars to lessons (though the top hats went out in 1948).

Those who have studied here include 19 prime ministers, countless princes, kings and maharajahs, famous explorers, authors and economists – among them Princes William and Harry, George Orwell, Ian Fleming, Aldous Huxley, John Maynard Keynes and Bear Grylls.