Far from playing second fiddle to Windsor, its larger neighbour, the beautiful riverside town of Eton is a fantastic place to visit in its own right.
Many tourists choose holiday accommodation in Eton as it is quintessentially English and home to, arguably, the most famous school in the UK. Eton College has educated 19 British Prime Ministers, not to mention other highly successful Brits such as Princes Harry and William, the author George Orwell, Hollywood actors Eddie Redmayne and Tom Hiddleston and James Bond creator Ian Fleming.
The school cuts an imposing figure on Eton’s skyline and a vast number of the town’s historic buildings form part of the famous school. Unless you are the visiting family of a boy at Eton, you won’t get the chance to snoop around yourself unless you book onto a Friday afternoon tour available throughout the tourist season. However, every Sunday afternoon the School’s fabulous Natural History Museum opens its doors to the public and we highly recommend spending the afternoon browsing the collection and soaking up the history.
The High Street
For a small town, Eton has a vast number of quirky independent shops. There’s a couple of fascinating little antiques shops, the wonderful Eton Fudge Shop selling what visitors claim is the ‘best fudge in England’, the highly popular Tastes Delicatessen and the unmissable Eton Antique Bookshop to name a few.
The High Street meanders all the way from Windsor Bridge, which crosses the Thames, to Eton College itself, offering up the perfect route through the town to anyone visiting Eton for the first time.
Eating and Drinking
Eton has some of the best restaurants, bars and cafes in the greater Windsor and Eton area, with locals from Windsor often making the short journey across the river for a bite to eat or a drink with friends.
Among the most highly rated pubs in the area is The George Inn, which is among the first pubs you’ll see as you enter Eton from the riverside. It prides itself on offering the excellent beer from the local Windsor and Eton Brewery, brewed less than a mile away on Windsor’s Duke Street. Dining at The George Inn is also a local affair with meat from the Royal Estate. Don’t miss their famous Steak and Guardsman Ale Pie.
Gilbey’s is a characterful restaurant in a great location offering modern British food with a French twist.
The aptly named cocktail bar and restaurant The Eton Mess is the perfect place for sharing drinks and food with friends and has a lively atmosphere at the weekend.
If, however, you’re looking for a typical English pub experience, the Watermans Arms is just that, with dependable pub food and a cosy, welcoming atmosphere.
As well as the obvious attractions drawing visitors to Eton, the town has a few less obvious sites and activities that are absolutely worth checking out when you are staying in Eton.
This pretty green area right on the river is tucked away just off the High Street and offers some lovely views over to Windsor. It’s an excellent place to stop for a picnic or an ice cream. Watch the boats and rowers or let the dog have a little run around while enjoying the picturesque setting.
French Brothers boat trips
French Brothers is a family run business offering short boat trips along the Thames, just a short walk from Eton. Hop on one of their attractive boats for views of Eton College and The Brocas from the river.
For two weeks during mid-summer a popular fun fair pops up next to the river in Eton offering family-friendly rides, snacks and games.