Top 12 Best Boarding Schools in UK

boarding schools in UK

Boarding schools in the UK are known for their academic excellence, rigorous extracurricular programs, and rich history and traditions. For centuries, they have been educating some of the brightest minds from around the world, preparing them for success in university and beyond.

If you are considering sending your child to one of the boarding schools in UK, you may be wondering which schools are the best. With a lot of options available, picking the right boarding school for your kid might be a tough decision. 

To help you make an informed decision, we have compiled a list of the top 12 best boarding schools in the UK, based on a variety of factors, including academic reputation, extracurricular offerings, and student outcomes.

These schools offer a world-class education that will challenge and inspire your child. They also provide a supportive and nurturing environment where students can thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.

In this article, we will take a closer look at each of the top 12 best boarding schools in UK, highlighting their unique strengths and offerings. We will also answer some frequently asked questions about boarding schools in the UK, such as how to apply and how much they cost.

Whether you are looking for a traditional boarding school with a long and storied history or a more modern school with innovative teaching methods, you are sure to find the perfect fit for your child on our list. But before we begin, what are the benefits of boarding schools? Find out below:

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The Benefits of Boarding Schools

Boarding schools in the UK offer a number of benefits to students, including:

Academic Excellence. 

Boarding schools are known for their rigorous academics and high standards of achievement. Students at boarding schools typically have smaller class sizes and more access to teachers than students at day schools. This allows them to receive more personalized attention and support.

Extracurricular Opportunities. 

Boarding schools offer a wide range of extracurricular activities, including sports, arts, and clubs. This gives students the opportunity to explore their interests and develop their talents.

Independence and Responsibility

Boarding school students learn to live independently and take responsibility for their own lives. This includes managing their time, budget, and studies.

Diversity and Community

Boarding schools attract students from all over the world, creating a diverse and vibrant community. Students at boarding schools learn to live and work with people from different backgrounds and cultures.

Preparation for College and Life Beyond

Boarding schools help students develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in college and beyond. This includes critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork skills.

In addition to these general benefits, boarding schools can also offer specific advantages to students with particular needs or interests. For example, some boarding schools specialize in STEM education, while others offer unique programs for students with dyslexia or other learning disabilities.

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Best Boarding Schools in UK

In no particular order, here are the top 12 best boarding schools in UK;

1. Eton College

Eton College

Address

  • Windsor, SL4 6DW, United Kingdom

Gender:

  • Boys

Ages

  • 13–18

Eton College is a world-renowned boarding school for boys aged 13 to 18. Founded in 1440 by King Henry VI, Eton is one of the most prestigious schools in the UK, and its alumni include many notable figures, such as Prince William, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and writer George Orwell.

Eton offers a rigorous academic program with a focus on the classics, mathematics, and sciences. Students at Eton are also encouraged to participate in a wide range of extracurricular activities, including sports, arts, and clubs.

The school is known for its strong sense of community and its commitment to excellence. The school’s motto is “Floreat Etona” (May Eton Flourish), and its students are expected to live up to this high standard.

Eton is a unique and challenging place to learn, and it is a school that produces well-rounded and successful young men.

2. Harrow School

Address

  • 5 High St, Harrow, HA1 3HP, United Kingdom

Gender: 

  • Boys

Ages

  • 12 to 19 

Harrow School is a world-renowned boarding school for boys aged 12 to 19. It was founded in 1572 under a Royal Charter granted by Elizabeth I. Harrow is known for its rigorous academic program, its strong sense of tradition, and its beautiful campus.

Harrow offers a full-boarding experience, which means that students live on campus year-round. This allows the school to use the whole day productively, with lessons, games, and extracurricular activities scheduled throughout the day.

The school also benefits from a diverse student body, with boys from all over the world coming to Harrow to receive an education.

Harrow has a long and distinguished history, and its alumni include many notable figures, such as Prime Minister Winston Churchill, actor Benedict Cumberbatch, and poet Lord Byron. Harrow is proud of its traditions, and its students are expected to live up to the school’s high standards.

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3. Winchester College

Address

  • College St, Winchester, SO23 9NA, United Kingdom

Gender

  • Boarding: boys only
  • Day: boys and girls

Ages

  • Boarding: 13–18 (boys only)
  • Day: 16–18 (boys and girls)

Winchester College is a world-renowned boarding school for boys aged 13 to 18 and for boys and girls aged 16 to 18 on a day-to-day basis. It was founded in 1382 by William of Wykeham, who was also the founder of New College, Oxford.

Winchester is known for its academic excellence, its strong sense of community, and its commitment to preparing students for leadership in a global society.

The school offers a rigorous academic program with a focus on the classics, mathematics, and sciences. Winchester also offers a wide range of extracurricular activities, including sports, arts, and clubs.

Winchester is proud of its diverse student body, which comes from all over the world. The school is also committed to providing an education that is both affordable and accessible. Winchester offers a variety of scholarships and bursaries to help students from all backgrounds attend the school.

4. Rugby School

Rugby School

Address:

  • Lawrence Sheriff St, Rugby CV22 5EH, United Kingdom

Gender

  • Co-education

Ages:

  • 13–18

Rugby School is a public school (English fee-charging boarding school for pupils aged 13–18) in Rugby, Warwickshire, England. It is one of the oldest independent schools in Britain, founded in 1567 as a free grammar school for local boys.

The school is known for its academic excellence, its strong sense of tradition, and its commitment to developing students as well-rounded individuals. It offers a rigorous academic program with a focus on the humanities, mathematics, and sciences.

Rugby is proud of its diverse student body, which comes from all over the world. The school is also committed to providing an education that is both affordable and accessible. With that in mind, Rugby offers a variety of scholarships and bursaries to help students from all backgrounds attend the school.

Rugby School is also famous for being the birthplace of rugby football. The sport was invented in 1823 by William Webb Ellis, a student at Rugby School. Rugby football is now one of the most popular sports in the world, and it is played by people of all ages and skill levels.

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5. Shrewsbury School

Address:

  • Ashton Rd., Shrewsbury, SY3 7BA, United Kingdom

Gender:

  • Co-education

Ages:

  • 13 – 18 

Shrewsbury School is a public school (English fee-charging boarding school for pupils aged 13–18) in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England. Shrewsbury is a unique and special boarding school where students can thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.

Founded in 1552, Shrewsbury School is the largest independent school in Shropshire and one of the oldest in the country. The school is known for its academic excellence, its strong sense of community, and its commitment to developing students as well-rounded individuals.

Shrewsbury is also known for its beautiful campus, which includes a number of historic buildings and gardens. The school’s chapel is one of the finest examples of perpendicular Gothic architecture in England.

Shrewsbury School has produced many notable alumni, including Charles Darwin, Arthur C. Clarke, and Michael Palin. The school is also famous for being the setting of the novel Tom Brown’s School Days by Thomas Hughes.

6. Charterhouse School

Address:

  • Charterhouse School, Hurtmore Road, Godalming, GU7 2DX, United Kingdom

Gender:

  • Co-education

Age:

  • 13 to 18

Charterhouse School is one of the oldest and most prestigious independent boarding schools in UK. Founded in 1611, Charterhouse is known for its academic excellence, its strong sense of community, and its commitment to developing students as well-rounded individuals.

The school offers a rigorous academic program with a focus on the humanities, mathematics, and sciences. It also offers a wide range of extracurricular activities, including sports, arts, and clubs. Charterhouse is proud of its diverse student body, which comes from all over the world. 

The school is also committed to providing an education that is both affordable and accessible. To achieve this, Charterhouse offers a variety of scholarships and bursaries to help students from all backgrounds attend the school.

7. Westminster School

Westminster School

Address:

  • 17A Dean’s Yard, London SW1P 3PB, United Kingdom

Gender:

  • Boys
  • Coeducational (Sixth Form)

Age:

  • 13 (boys), 16 (girls), to 18

Westminster School is a world-renowned boarding school in the UK. Founded in the 11th century, Westminster is known for its academic excellence, its strong sense of community, and its commitment to developing students as well-rounded individuals. 

The school offers a rigorous academic program with a focus on the classics, mathematics, and sciences. Westminster also offers a wide range of extracurricular activities, including sports, arts, and clubs. 

Westminster has produced many notable alumni, including seven UK prime ministers, three Nobel laureates, and numerous other successful people from all walks of life. 

The school’s motto, “Dat Deus Incrementum,” is a Latin phrase that means “God gives the increase.” This motto reflects Westminster’s belief that education is a gift from God and that it is the responsibility of the school to help students grow and develop to their full potential.

8. St. Paul’s School

Address:

  • Lonsdale Rd., London SW13 9JT, United Kingdom

Gender:

  • Boys

Age:

  • 13 to 19

St. Paul’s School is a world-renowned independent school for boys aged 13 to 18, located in the City of London, England. Founded in 1509 by John Colet, Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, St Paul’s is one of the original nine English public schools reported upon by the Clarendon Commission in 1864 leading to its regulation by the Public Schools Act 1868.

St Paul’s is known for its academic excellence, its strong sense of community, and its commitment to developing students as well-rounded individuals. The school offers a rigorous academic program, and a wide range of extracurricular activities, including sports, arts, and clubs.

The school is proud of its diverse student body, which comes from all over the world. The school is also committed to providing an education that is both affordable and accessible.

9. Merchant Taylors’ School

Address:

  • Sandy Lodge, Moor Park, Northwood HA6 2HT, United Kingdom

Gender:

  • Boys

Age:

  • 10 – 18

Merchant Taylors’ School is one of the renowned boarding schools in the UK for boys. The school is known for its outstanding education, which combines academic success with a focus on personal growth.

The school supports and encourages its students, inspiring them to reach the highest standards. Merchant Taylors’ nurtures creativity, confidence, warmth, and a host of other skills to create well-rounded young men. The school does not demand that students conform to a pre-determined mold, but rather helps each individual boy to discover and hone his special talents.

Merchant Taylors serves exceptionally able young men who excel in all areas of school life, from the classroom to the laboratory, the orchestra to the stage, and the playing field. The school sends its students on to the best universities and degrees, equipped to find success in life wherever they choose to look for it.

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10. Haileybury School

Address:

  • Hertford SG13, 7NU, UK

Gender:

  • Co-educational

Age:

  • 11 to 18

Haileybury School is a renowned co-educational independent boarding and day school for 11- to 18-year-olds in Hertfordshire, England. It is known for its academic excellence, its holistic approach to education, and its strong pastoral care.

Haileybury offers a rigorous academic program that challenges students to achieve their full potential. They believe that education is about more than just academic achievement. The school also places a strong emphasis on personal growth, character development, and leadership.

The school offers a wide range of co-curricular activities, including sports, arts, and clubs. Participation in these activities helps students to develop their talents, build their confidence, and learn the importance of teamwork.

The bedrock of a Haileybury education is outstanding pastoral care. The school provides a nurturing environment and spiritual encouragement to help students thrive. Haileybury’s goal is for its students to leave the school fully equipped with the life skills and the academic credentials necessary to succeed in the globalized world.

11. Sevenoaks School

Address:

  • High St, Sevenoaks TN13 1HU, United Kingdom

Gender:

  • Mixed

Age:

  • 11 to 18

Sevenoaks School is a renowned co-educational independent boarding and day school for pupils aged 11-18 in Sevenoaks, Kent, England. It is one of the oldest schools in the UK, with a tradition of innovation and excellence.

Sevenoaks is known for its academic excellence, its holistic approach to education, and its strong pastoral care. The school offers a rigorous academic program, with a focus on the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB DP).

The IB DP is a challenging and demanding program, but it is also incredibly rewarding. It prepares students for success at the top universities in the world, and it gives them the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the globalized world.

In addition to its academic excellence, Sevenoaks is also known for its vibrant co-curricular program. The school offers a wide range of sports, arts, and clubs so that students can explore their interests and develop their talents. 

12. Cheltenham College

Cheltenham College

Address:

  • Bath Rd, Cheltenham GL53 7LD, United Kingdom

Gender:

  • Co-educational

Age:

  • 13 to 18

Cheltenham College is a co-educational Day and Boarding school at the heart of the Cotswolds, England. Founded in 1841, Cheltenham College is one of the UK’s leading independent schools, known for its academic excellence, its holistic approach to education, and its strong pastoral care.

The school offers a broad and challenging curriculum, with a focus on the humanities, mathematics, and sciences. Cheltenham College also offers a wide range of co-curricular activities, including sports, arts, and clubs. The school is committed to developing well-rounded and successful young men and women who are prepared to make a difference in the world.

Cheltenham College is a special place where students can thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. It is a school that produces well-rounded and successful young men and women who are ready to make a difference in the world.

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FAQs

How much does it cost to attend a boarding school in the UK?

Boarding schools in UK are quite more expensive than the regular schools in the UK. Most boarding schools will charge between 20,000 to 30,000 British pounds per year. However, this figure will depend on your status as either a local or international student.

What kind of extracurricular activities are offered at boarding schools in the UK?

In a typical UK boarding school, there are over 30 different activities from which to choose. You can play tennis, badminton, squash, and golf, or take part in athletics, gymnastics, and swimming. Some schools also arrange horse riding, fencing, and sailing. 

What age do you start boarding school UK?

Pupils can start boarding as young as 7 or 8. Most pupils start boarding at the age or 11 or 13, however.

What is the most famous UK school?

Eton College. At the time of writing this article, the most famous UK school is the Eton College. The school offers a rigorous academic program, with a focus on the classics, mathematics, and sciences.

Conclusion

The UK is home to some of the best boarding schools in the world, offering students a world-class education and a unique opportunity to learn and grow in a supportive and nurturing environment.

The 12 schools featured in this article are all highly regarded for their academic excellence, their holistic approach to education, and their commitment to developing well-rounded and successful young men and women.

If you are considering sending your child to a boarding school in the UK, I encourage you to do your research and find the school that is the best fit for your child’s individual needs and goals.

Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a boarding school in the UK:

  • Academic excellence: Look for a school with a strong academic reputation and a rigorous curriculum.
  • Holistic approach to education: Choose a school that values character development, leadership, and co-curricular activities in addition to academic achievement.
  • Strong pastoral care: Make sure the school has a strong pastoral care system in place to support students academically, socially, and emotionally.
  • Diverse student body: Look for a school with a diverse student body, so that your child can learn from and be inspired by students from all over the world.
  • Beautiful campus: Consider the location and campus of the school. Do you want your child to be in a rural or urban setting? Do you want them to have access to a variety of extracurricular activities?

Once you have considered these factors, you can begin to narrow down your choices and visit schools to see which one is the best fit for your child. Good luck!

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