Most Expensive Boarding Schools in the UK

  1. Cheltenham Ladies College £40,110 per annum. Founded: 1853. Cheltenham Ladies’ College is an independent boarding and day school for girls aged 11 to 18 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. 55.6% of 2017 A-Levels & 90.6% of GCSE/IGCSE results were awarded in the A* or A category. Notable former pupils: Kristin Scott Thomas; Amber Rudd. Cheltenham Ladies College
  2. Tonbridge School £38,964 per annum. Founded: 1553. Tonbridge School is an independent day and boarding school for boys in Tonbridge, Kent. There are currently around 800 boys in the school, aged between 13 and 18. The school occupies a site of 150 acres (607,000 m²) on the edge of Tonbridge, and is largely self-contained, though the boarding and day houses are spread through the town. Since its foundation the school has been rebuilt twice on the original site. There are seven boarding houses and five day houses at Tonbridge each containing around sixty boys. In order of foundation (Boarding houses) School House (1553); Judde House (1825); Park House (1867); Hill Side (1875); Parkside (1880); Ferox Hall (1892); Manor House (1894); (Day houses) Welldon House (1932); Smythe House (1932); Whitworth (1975); Cowdrey House (1994) & Oakeshott House (2000). Each house is run by a housemaster with help from a deputy housemaster, two matrons and three or four tutors. 67.6% of 2017 A-Levels & 86.8% of GCSE results were awarded in the A* or A category. Notable former pupils: Frederick Forsyth; Sir Tim Waterstone.Tonbridge School
  3. Harrow School £38,550 per annum. Founded: 1572. Harrow School is an independent boarding school for boys in Harrow, London, England. The School was founded in 1572 by John Lyon under a Royal Charter of Elizabeth I, and is one of the original seven public schools that were regulated by the Public Schools Act 186870% of 2017 A-Levels & 86.8% of GCSE results were awarded in the A* or A category. Notable former pupils: Billy Vunipola; Charles Rothschild; James Bond (the American expert on the birds of the Caribbean whose name was appropriated by Ian Fleming for his fictional British spy of the same name); Benedict Cumberbatch; Sir Winston Churchill; Nicky Oppenheimer.Harrow School
  4. Winchester College £38,100 per annum. Founded: 1382. Winchester College is an independent boarding school for boys in the British public school tradition, situated in Winchester, Hampshire. It has existed in its present location for over 600 years and claims the longest unbroken history of any school in England. It is the oldest of the original seven English public schools defined by the Clarendon Commission and regulated by the Public Schools Act 1868. Notable former pupils: Douglas Jardine; Oswald Mosley.Winchester College
  5. Charterhouse School £38,061 per annum. Established 1611. Charterhouse is an independent day and boarding school in Godalming, Surrey. Founded by Thomas Sutton in 1611 on the site of the old Carthusian monastery in Charterhouse Square, Smithfield, London, it educates over 800 pupils, aged 13 to 18 years, and is one of the original seven English public schools as defined by the Public Schools Act 1868 (which derived from the Clarendon Commission of 1864). Notable former pupils: Jeremy Hunt; Jonathan Dimbleby; David Dimbleby; Oliver Popplewell; Peter Gabriel. In November 2005, the school was one of fifty of the country’s leading independent schools which were found guilty of running an illegal price-fixing cartel. In August 2010, Gary Lineker publicly accused Charterhouse of failing to get his son, George, into university. Lineker claimed that the school had used him as a ‘guinea pig’ by ditching A-Levels for the new Cambridge Pre-U. The school has been rocked by multiple sex scandals in recent years including ones which have led to prison sentences.Charterhouse
  6. Roedean School £37,440 per annum. Established 1885. Roedean School is an independent day and boarding school governed by Royal Charter in Roedean Village on the outskirts of Brighton, East Sussex, England for girls aged 11 to 18. The campus is situated near the Sussex Downs on a cliff overlooking Brighton Marina. The school incorporates dance studios, music classrooms, a 320-seat theatre, a heated indoor swimming pool, a golf course, a private tunnel to the beach, a farm and a chapel, as well as a range of workshops, studios, laboratories and sports pitches. Roedean School is a member of the Girls’ Schools Association and the Headmasters Conference (HMC).Roedean School
  7. Eton College £37,062 per annum. Founded: 1440. Eton College is an English independent boarding school for boys in Eton, Berkshire, near Windsor. It educates more than 1,300 pupils, aged 13 to 18 years. Eton College was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as “The King’s College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor”, making it the 18th oldest Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) school. Easily the most famous school in Britain & in all probability the world.Eton College
  8. Wycombe Abbey £36,750 per annum. Founded: 1896. Wycombe Abbey is an independent girls’ boarding school in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England. Consistently ranked as one of the top schools regionally and nationally in academic results, the school was founded in 1896 by Frances Dove, who was previously headmistress of St Leonards School in Scotland. Its present capacity is approximately 615 girls, aged 11 to 18. The school is situated on a 170 acres (69 ha) campus in central High Wycombe. The land includes woods, gardens and a lake, and rises up to 500 feet (150 m) above sea level in the Chiltern Hills.Wycombe Abbey
  9. Benenden School £36,750 per annum. Benenden School is an independent boarding school for girls in Kent, England. It is located in Benenden in the Kentish countryside, between Cranbrook and Tenterden. It is the only remaining full boarding girls’ school in the United Kingdom, meaning all pupils board at the school full-time.benenden school
  10. Malvern St James £35,475 per annum. Founded: 1893. Malvern St James is an independent school for girls in Great Malvern, Worcestershire, England. Founded in 1893 as Malvern Girls’ College, it was renamed Malvern St James following a merger in 2006 with St James’ School in West Malvern. It continues to occupy the same campus as the former college, which includes as its main building the former Imperial Hotel, taken over for use as a school by Malvern Girls’ College in 1919.Malvern St James

Whilst these are obviously pricey options they are positively affordable compared to the world’s most expensive boarding school – Le Rosey in Switzerland which costs a staggering £87,279.31 per annum. The school has an equestrian center with 30 horses, a nautical center, and a spa. Notable alumni include King Albert II of Belgium, the Shah of Iran, Prince Rainier of Monaco, and King Farouk of Egypt.

Interestingly brand name equity or recognition as measured by average monthly Google searches globally places the Top 30 as follows (original Public Schools in red):

  1. Eton College 74,000
  2. Westminster School 33,100
  3. St Lawrence College 33,100
  4. Harrow School 27,100
  5. Wellington College 27,100
  6. Rugby School 27,100
  7. Millfield School 22,200
  8. Brentwood School 22,200
  9. St Francis College 22,200
  10. Marlborough College 18,100
  11. Brighton College 18,100
  12. Dulwich College 18,100
  13. Stowe School 14,800
  14. Sevenoaks School 14,800
  15. Winchester College 12,100
  16. Epsom College 12,100
  17. Wellington School 12,100
  18. Whitgift School 12,100
  19. Bradfield College 12,100
  20. Cheltenham Ladies College 9,900
  21. Charterhouse School 9,900
  22. Tonbridge School 9,900
  23. Uppingham School 9,900
  24. Bedford School 9,900
  25. Clifton College 9,900
  26. Hampton School 9,900
  27. Highgate School 9,900
  28. Malvern College 9,900
  29. Norwich School 9,900
  30. Repton School 9,900


Not inside the Top 30: Shrewsbury School 8,100

Now that we’ve covered what you will have to spend – what are they spending on your child’s education? By ‘on your child’s education’ we are including all stated expenses – including expenses which, though, not directly impacting your child’s education do have an indirect impact such as investment in their status as an ongoing concern which would mean continued long term brand name equity benefits for your child.

Total Expenditure, Number of Pupils & Expenditure per Pupil

Eton CollegeEton College £58,651,000, 1,300 & £45,116.15

Wellington CollegeWellington College £48,100,000, 1,100 & £43,727.27

Winchester CollegeWinchester College £28,200,000, 673 & £41,901.93

Tonbridge SchoolTonbridge School £30,400,000, 800 & £38,000.00

Harrow SchoolHarrow School (includes The John Lyon School) £52,200,000, 1,400 & £37,285.71

CharterhouseCharterhouse School £28,300,000, 800 & £35,375

Radley CollegeRadley College £23,467,000, 670, £35,025.37

Cheltenham Ladies' CollegeCheltenham Ladies’ College £28,500,000, 850, £33,529.41

Marlborough CollegeMarlborough College £28,500,000, 872 & £32,683.49

Sedbergh SchoolSedbergh School £17,200,000, 530, £32,452.83

Shrewsbury SchoolShrewsbury School £22,700,000, 800 & £28,375.00 vs. a cost of £35,040.00 to board. There are, though, 130 of 800 pupils who are day pupils. These 130 day pupils each (excluding bursaries and scholarships) pay £26,235.00 for a total of £3,410,550.00 in income. Thus the remaining 670 boarding pupils bring in (excluding bursaries and scholarships) £37,620.00*670=£25,205,400 for a grand total of £28,615,950.00 in full fee income. Interestingly enough Shrewsbury School are the only one of the original Seven Public Schools who have never produced a British Prime Minister.

Roedean School £13,800,000, 600 & £23,000.00

International Pull

This article has been read over 45,000 times since original publication – the location of the readership outside of the United Kingdom is instructive. Here is the Top 20:

  1. United States
  2. Hong Kong
  3. Australia
  4. Germany
  5. Spain
  6. Italy
  7. Thailand
  8. South Africa
  9. Ireland
  10. Nigeria
  11. France
  12. India
  13. Canada
  14. Singapore
  15. Philippines
  16. New Zealand
  17. Kenya
  18. United Arab Emirates
  19. Malaysia
  20. Indonesia