Have a look around Eton Town while you’re in the area – it’s a wonderfully historic place, full of old buildings and rustic little cafes.
Britain’s most well-known school was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI, and has educated the sons of the rich and famous ever since. Innumerable big names have passed through its classrooms, including Princes William and Harry, Hugh Laurie, Eddie Redmayne, Ranulph Fiennes, and no fewer than 19 Prime Ministers, including David Cameron. Even fiction authors can’t resist putting their characters through the old public school – Bertie Wooster, Captain Hook and James Bond were all enrolled here (although the latter was expelled for “trouble” with a maid).
The Old and the New
Visiting the school, you will experience a surreal blend of the ancient and the modern, with centuries-old buildings sharing the grounds with modern steel-and-glass constructions. The grounds are quintessentially English, with babbling streams running beside lush green playing fields, and little woods just starting to encroach on old red brick cottages. It often feels more like an idyllic country village than a school.
The Lowest-Scoring Game in the World
The pupils themselves provide a rare insight into the student lifestyle of a bygone era. Eton is well known for its stubborn preservation of tradition. Boys wander chatting between classrooms in full tailcoats, waistcoats and bow ties, before changing for the playing fields, where you might be lucky enough to catch the Eton Wall Game in action. This bizarre and incomparable sport, much beloved by Etonians, is played on a very long and narrow pitch, though scoring is famously difficult – the last proper goal was scored in 1909!
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