You shop around or qualify for schools, they aren't assigned based on where you live?
My elementary school was poor but alright. Middle school was in a rich neighborhood and was an above average school. High school was a mix of poor, middle and rich students and was mildly famous as a good school for smart kids which made it to the finals of several national academic competitions... but I wasn't in many of those smart kid classes so I didn't gain much from it. My university was run of the mill and I just went there because it was local.
Well Persephone already kind of explained this above. Basically, most UK kids go to their local comprehensive, some go to one well out of area. Some areas still have academically selective state schools with entrance controlled by an exam, but only in England/Northern Ireland (not in Wales or Scotland any more). In NI, incidentally, most schools are still (notoriously) segregrated for Protestants or Catholics. There are many private schools throughout the country which charge pretty high fees unless you get a scholarship, but only 6-7% of British kids go to one. That's controversial (like academic selection in general), with the left, because private schools are often seen as a major reason for inequality/snobbishness in society. Not all private schools are academically selective, though many are. A private school, at least famous ones like Eton, is often traditionally called a public school in the UK, for weird historical reasons. Think I am glad I was able to go to boarding school, because my dad was becoming an alcoholic by then and he caused many problems at home. But it was also because boarding was the done thing for a certain social class in my mum's generation (working class/middle class etc are more culturally distinct from each other, and mean different things than in America).
My school was an unusual kind of place really, on a big loch (lake), not so nice because that part of the shore suffered from mud/the school's sewage output. There was a nice natural rock pool up the stream with a rope swing, though. The place was too closely surrounded by forest for me, so claustrophobic. It had some really nasty shabby/poorly constructed buildings, especially most of the pupils' living quarters. I once got an electric shock in the biology lab (before they moved biology to a refurbished lab), because a disused electric socket was still live (near a water tap I think!). The swimming pool was bizarre, built in a former log pit of a sawmill and heated by turbines from the stream, so much colder when it hadn't rained enough. It's unsurprising the school went bankrupt really, most of it is derelict now.
I got to do a French exchange to a day school near Paris where I stayed with a family, that was really socially tough and I think the girl who was my exchange partner didn't like me much. The German one was easier, because we all stayed as a class at a boarding school in southern Germany. Lots of kids here do similar exchanges, it's not really a privileged thing.
I also studied for year at a uni, again in southern Germany because of my degree subject. That was in quite a nice small city on a large river, in an attractive region, but it was dreadfully bombed (by the British) in the war, so mostly rather boring modern buildings with a few historic landmarks like the cathedral. The German university system is nothing like anything in the English-speaking world, very intellectual. I foolishly tried theology classes there (because used to be a churchgoer), but was totally out of my depth and embarassed. There was a great discotheque there, in a boat on the river. And the city had really nice open-air swimming pools. But it was a boring, provincial kind of place really, I wasn't the only one who thought that.