Eton College opened its private gardens to the public as part of this year’s National Gardens Open Day on 1 June 2022. All entry fees were donated to the National Garden Scheme’s beneficiary charities, with over £4,700 raised at Eton College for these charities on the day.

This is the 60th occasion Eton College have opened their private gardens to the public for the National Garden Scheme, with the school raising over £52,500 for some of the UK’s best-loved nursing and health charities since the first time they opened their gates to the public.

This year, nearly 800 adults along with plenty of children visited Eton College’s private gardens on the day, which was close to the best turnout for this event. Many of these visitors were hugely grateful for the opportunity to chat to the members of the Eton College Gardens team as they walked around. Children were admitted to the gardens for free, with tickets for adults costing £6. This entry fee went towards Macmillan Cancer SupportMarie CurieHospice UK, Parkinson’s UK, The Queen’s Nursing Institute and Carers Trust, with tea and cakes in the Fellows’ Garden in aid of Thames Hospice.

Peter McKee, Vice-Provost at Eton College, said, “We were all really delighted with the success of the day – the 60th time that the Eton Gardens have been opened for the National Garden Scheme. The Gardens team had done a wonderful job to present the gardens looking wonderful, ably supported by those members of the College community whose private gardens were also on show. The Eton College Collections team were very pleased to welcome so many visitors, especially those who took in both the Joseph Banks exhibition and the Banks Garden. The Thames Hospice team did an extraordinary job at providing tea and cake to everyone and will, I hope, have raised significant funds for the hospice.”

Along with The Headmaster’s Garden, The Provost’s Garden, the Fellows’ Garden and Luxmoore’s Garden – all usually private – these beautiful spaces were opened to the public for a rare chance to visit and to explore their history. Close to the banks of the River Thames and within sight of Windsor Castle, it was the perfect venue to visit to kick off the Queen’s Jubilee Bank Holiday celebrations.

For the adventurous there was a trip to Luxmoore’s garden via bridges to a small island that until 1850 was a wasteland in the Thames. Eton College’s Natural History Museum, which contains extensive natural history collections and the Museum of Eton Life, was also opened for the public.

National Garden Scheme Chief Executive, George Plumptre, added, “We’re delighted that over 800 visitors enjoyed the gardens and hospitality of Eton College on Wednesday 1 June. The day marked 60 years of opening and over £52,500 raised for the nursing and health charities that we support and is testament to the deep-rooted generosity displayed by so many of the wonderful private gardens that open for the National Garden Scheme. Thank you to everyone involved with this wonderfully successful day.”

The National Garden Scheme gives visitors unique access to over 3,500 exceptional private gardens in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands, and raises impressive amounts of money for some of the UK’s best-loved nursing and health charities through admissions, teas and cake.

Thanks to the generosity of garden owners, volunteers and visitors, the National Garden Scheme has donated more than £63 million to their beneficiary charities, and in 2021 made donations of over £3 million. Founded in 1927 to support district nurses, they are now the most significant charitable funder of nursing in the UK and their beneficiaries include Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Hospice UK and The Queen’s Nursing Institute.

Eton College is one of 107 gardens that have opened for the National Garden Scheme for over 60 years in 2022. They share the accolade with – amongst others – St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall (61 years), King’s College Cambridge Fellows’ Garden (63 years), Blenheim Palace (76 years) and Sandringham (96 years).