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 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).