* Read Country Life’s Autumn 2013 School Life supplement in full

We know all about Eton, Ludgrove and Downe House, but what about those schools that offer an equally excellent education on less eye-watering fees? Catherine Austen lists the schools you should know about but probably don’t.

Monmouth School, Monmouthshire
01600 713143 

Rowing is a particular strength of this boys’senior school on the banks of the Wye. Has provided education, at a price that doesn’t make you gasp, for 400 years. Strong links with the girls’ equivalent, Haberdashers’ Monmouth, and they share a prep school, Agincourt School. A new dining hall, play area and classrooms are being developed.

St David’s College, Llandudno
01492 875974

Famous for its excellent work with pupils with SEN-it’s been at the forefront of the field for several decades-St David’s is a healthy, happy school with an emphasis on outdoor pursuits, such as the John Muir award and conservation activities in the Snowdonia National Park, and teamwork. Small (no more than 200 pupils) and suits the sort of child who needs individual attention and a small community.

St John’s College
, Cardiff

02920 778936

The whole package – ages 3-18-for boys and girls. The choir school for Wales’s national Catholic cathedral, Cardiff Metropolitan Cathedral, so music is a big part of the school’s life. Academically hot and going from strength to strength, it had the top A-level results in Wales for the 13th successive year.

* See the best schools in the North of England

* See the best schools in the East of England

* See the best schools in Scotland