Visiting Eton and the College
An Interesting Addition To Your Visit To Windsor
|Eton College Visitors Sign|
Eton College is one of England's most eminent public schools and is famous world-wide. Those who have attended Eton reads like a who's who list of the UK with royalty, prime ministers and many other leaders.
In recent years these have included people as diverse as princes Harry and William, Hugh Laurie and Winston Churchill.
Eton College is at the top end of Eton High Street, on the other side of the river from Windsor. Just a 15 minute stroll from Windsor Castle and a great way to complement your visit to Windsor.
Today Eton College is a secondary school (a high school in the American sense) for approximately 1,290 boys between the ages of 13 and 18, all of whom are boarders. Eton College was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI.
All boys have a uniform of black tailcoat (or morning coat) and waistcoat, false-collar and pinstriped trousers. All students wear a white tie. This uniform is not for special occasions, it is worn at all times and if you visit during term time, you will see the boys walking around.
|Eton College Boys House|
When a boy comes to Eton he will join a house of just over 50 boys. His house will be the hub of his life at Eton for the next five years. Each house is under the care of a house master, who will look after him, support him and, if necessary, make sure he toes-the-line. He will be the main point of contact with the school for a boy's parents.
Full details of the tour and in-depth coverage of Eton College are covered on the Eton College Official Web Site, (see link at top of page).
You walk across to Eton over Eton Bridge, a pedestrian bridge that used to be the main way into Windsor in the days when horse was the main overland transport.
As you walk across Eton Bridge, the area immediately by the riverfront is not that promising. A lot of upmarket, expensive restaurants have riverside settings and in between are signs of tourist tat. If money is not a problem you can have a fine meal overlooking the Thames with views across Eton Bridge to Windsor Castle.
|Cockpit inn Eton|
The first part of the High Street is a mix of cheaper tea rooms, pubs and lots of antique, painting and book shops. The shops here seem to come and go quite quickly. You can also see Eton rowing club fronting the river.
You soon come to the Cockpit Inn on your right. It was once where cock fighting was performed. Nowadays its an Indian Restaurant in an olde worlde setting - mind that low beam!.The building dates from 1420
On your left is the Christopher Hotel, an historic hotel originally dating from 1511. You can still see the wide entrance where the original horse carriages entered.
A little further on your left set back in grounds is a church, St. John the Evangelist, dating from 1852 and is of Victorian Gothic design. The foundation stone was laid by Prince Albert. The building was recently renovated to become the local surgery and Eton College sanatorium. A chapel remains on the upper level.
|Eton High Street|
The next section of the High Street is like a small village, with post office, small school, Barclays Bank etc.
As you cross Baldwins bridge the High Street changes again in character. Retail outlets here are targeted at the school. There are several 'gentleman's' outfitters with clothing in the windows most people would associate with a bygone stage. In one, you can see the tailors working, still using old hand sewing machines.
There is also a branch of the exclusive Coutts Bank.
You now enter an area of impressive buildings of the Eton College campus. The entrance for the tours is down by the Windsor side of the church on your right, at the back of the church. There are extensive Eton sports fields north of the campus with many public footpaths cutting through them.
|Windsor Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Bus|
Windsor Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Bus
Windsor and Eton is very walkable and you do not really need a sightseeing bus, but it is a fun way to see what Windsor and Eton has to offer. In fact you can walk across to Eton from Windsor in a fraction of the time a vehicle takes.
What you do get is a good orientation of Windsor and Eton perched high up on the double deck bus. Especially if you are visiting independently and for a day or longer the commentary can set the scene nicely for your stay.
There is a single route with full commentary that covers Windsor and Eton. If you never got off, the tour lasts for around 45 minutes. The tour doesn't visit Runnymede or Legoland.
The tour does a circuit of Home Park, the back garden of Windsor Castle. You can peek over the wall into this private area from the top of the bus, get a feel for Windsor Great Park and some of the Queen's farms. There is a stop at the Queen's Royal Farm Shop which most visitors don't get to see. The second part of the tour passes through Datchet by the River Thames and then performs a circuit of Eton.
Tickets can be purchased from the driver and last for 24 hours.
Frequencies are every 20 minutes in Summer and 30-60 minutes at other times.
The main start and finish is immediately in front of Windsor Castle, by a statue of Queen Victoria - you can't miss it.