Many consider Higham Hall to be the UK’s best independent residential college providing a range of open learning experiences for adults.

Extract from Mannix & Whellan, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Cumberland, 1847  from our local parish website:

“Higham, the residence of the Rev. Canon G.R. Hoskins, M.A., is a handsome mansion rebuilt by the late T.A. Hoskins, Esq., in 1828. It commands a pretty peep of the foot of Bassenthwaite Lake, and a magnificent view of the extensive range of hills from Sale Fell, in Wythop, to Torpenhow, embracing the Dod, Ullock, Skiddaw proper, Orthwaite Fell, and Binsa. On the estate is an object of antiquarian interest – a circle of large stones, supposed to indicate a Druids’ temple, or more probably the burial place of some noteworthy personage among the Pagan Britons.”

Once people discover Higham they tend to return again and again, often for many years, to share the joy of simply spending intelligent time with like-minded people in such charismatic surroundings.


Higham is now an independent Educational Trust attracting around 3,000 adults each year on over 250 courses of lengths from half a day to up to a week.


Our natural catchment is the North of England and Scotland but many people come from further afield (we are residential). No qualifications needed, just a desire to enjoy learning, the warmest hospitality and a truly unique place.

Higham Hall was originally built in 1828 by railway pioneer Thomas Hoskins, who could have sight of the railway which used to run along the route now followed by the A66. It saw service as a Youth Hostel and a Girl’s Boarding School, before becoming an Education Centre in 1975 for Cumbria. In 2008 Higham Hall was sold to the Trust to be run independently as a centre of learning for adults of all ages.


Being a Trust means Higham is run on ethical principles always true to its mission. We are entirely self-supporting with nearly all income coming from the courses we offer. Our success depends very much on people who understand what we are, who believe in what we do, and who support us by spreading the word. Students of all ages (up to and beyond 90!) tend to return over many years for regular doses of inspiration and their ‘fix’ of our unique environment.