Most Famous Boarding Schools In The UK (Updated 2024)

The United Kingdom is renowned for having some of the best boarding schools in the world, and today, we will examine some of the most famous boarding schools in the UK. What makes boarding school famous can be a number of factors ranging from its academic excellence to its teaching methodology and student lifestyle. Today, we will have a look at the 10 most famous boarding schools in the UK.

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List Of Famous Boarding Schools In The UK


1) Eton College

Selection is based on all-round qualities as opposed to solely academic strengths. Almost all boys now take the College’s pre-assessment at age 11 (the registration deadline is 10 years and 6 months), which involves a reasoning test, an interview and a school report. Conditional places are offered for entry at 13, subject to qualification through Common Entrance or Eton’s King’s Scholarship examination. Boys entering from the state sector in Year 9 take an exam based on the National Curriculum.

2) Harrow School

As well as having highly qualified academics on its books to teach students, there is also a super-curriculum in place which focuses on aspects of study that are not formally assessed. These include habitual reading, independent research, reflection and debate. The foundation of the curriculum is the electives system, which allows boys to select an intellectually challenging course that is off-syllabus and taught in small groups. At the centre of these courses are independent learning and problem-solving.

3) Charterhouse School

Charterhouse is a co-educational school founded in 1611. It has a long history, but is also dedicated to pioneering educational progress this century. Charterhouse accepts boys at 13+ and girls at 16+. The majority of the School’s 800 pupils are boarders. Charterhouse values intellectual development, and offers an impressive array of extracurricular activities, as well as excellent pastoral care to pupils. Most boys enter from prep schools at the age of 13 after succeeding in the Foundation Scholarship or Common Entrance exams. Applications are also invited from boys attending other schools and from overseas, who take tests set by the School. Around 35 boys and 70 girls enter the sixth form each year after passing a test at Charterhouse in November.

4) Tonbridge School

Originally founded in 1553, the School moved to its present privileged site in the mid-19th century. At Tonbridge, they take special pride in their renewed chapel and its beauty and calm. Boarding is situated in solid Victorian houses abutting the playing field. Younger boys are accommodated in functional four-bed rooms, whereas older boys have two-bed rooms. The School’s 150 acres, situated next to the town’s main street, are private, secluded, but at the hub of things at the same time.

5) Cheltenham Ladies’ College

Academic life is truly flourishing at Cheltenham Ladies’ College. With educators that have a profound enthusiasm for their subjects and a commitment to providing high-quality teaching, self-motivated, intellectually curious, and enthusiastic young women are made, and they love learning. The College is very large and expanding all the time which means that girls can choose between many subject areas, discussing choices and alternatives with their tutors, and developing a personalised timetable which fits their needs and ambitions. Class sizes are small, and girls are encouraged to be active members in every lesson, by debating, challenging and developing their personal attitudes and opinions.

6) Bedford School

Bedford School is an independent boarding and day school for boys aged 7 to 18 years. Set in a stunningly lush estate in the heart of the market town of Bedford, the School is located only 50 miles away from London. Convenient access to Oxford and Cambridge, as well as Luton, Stansted and Heathrow Airports, ensures that the School is a top choice for British and international students alike.

7) Badminton School

Badminton is a thriving day and boarding school which has remained at the forefront of girls’ education in the UK for well over 150 years. Whilst the School retains a nationally outstanding academic record, its focus continues to be on nurturing the girls’ natural curiosity and fuelling their passion for learning. Therefore, we select girls on their personal strengths and all-round ability, as well as their academic potential. It is a characteristic of Badminton girls that they are thoughtful individuals, able to evaluate information and decide for themselves. This approach extends beyond their studies and into the day-to-day life of the School, where girls are given a wide range of opportunities to grow, develop and express themselves in an enormous range of activities.

8) Haberdasher’s Monmouth School for Girls

Haberdasher’s Monmouth School for Girls is an independent school situated in Wales, whose history for turning out female leaders and people of notable impact has partly been responsible for its increasing reputation as one of the best schools for girls in the country. Without a doubt Haberdasher’s is one of the finest performing schools, with a solid track record of high passing rates and student scores.

9) Wycombe Abbey School

Wycombe Abbey is one of the UK’s leading boarding schools and the top girls’ boarding school based on academic results. The founding Headmistress, Dame Frances Dove, dedication to the pursuit of excellence and the development of each pupil’s character and individual talents forms the foundation of Wycombe Abbey’s long, distinguished history. This serves as a guide for the School even to this day. Nestled among more than 160 beautiful acres, Wycombe Abbey offers its pupils a relaxing country life, but is located not far from the town of High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire with its shops, cinemas and other points of interest.

10) Winchester College

Located in Winchester, Hampshire, College is an independent school for boys and has a tradition spanning over 600 years. It is one of the oldest schools in the UK and one of the only four remaining independent schools where all pupils are boarders. The College is situated on extensive grounds spanning 250 acres, and it also oversees much of the surrounding land.


We hope this lists gives you a quick overview on some of the popular boarding schools in the UK. Beside academic results, there are also other factors to consider when choosing a school such as curriculum, courses offered, costs, location, accommodation, facilities and more. Speak to us if you would like free assistance on looking for the best boarding schools for you needs!

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