Higham is famously renowned for its home cooking food and excellent service from our kitchen and service staff who go above and beyond to cater for all of our guests. To keep up with the high standards we’ve re-decorated the dining room back to it’s former glory

Re-decoration update | Carpet is down!


After over a year spent in the selection process, asking opinions and trying to make the right aesthetic and practical choices, we are thrilled to say our new Wilton has been laid.

Helped, in part, from residual donation from the former Friends of Alston Hall, this carpet, we feel, reflects the setting appropriately.

The pattern chosen is traditional has a deep blue background with golden gothic symbols to break it up (and, on a practical note, hopefully camouflage any inevitable marks that will eventually appear through years of use and abuse by people eating and drinking.

This is a top quality carpet, expertly fitted by our local carpet shop, Leslie Cleelands in Cockermouth. They have helped us every step of the way through measuring, choosing, changing our mind, re-measuring, choosing, choosing, choosing, changing our mind … you get the picture.

The Dining Room even have a brand new vacuum called Hetty with which to suck up any crumbs – not that there will be any!

Re-decoration update | Mirror is up!


It was quite an effort getting the Mirror above the fireplace in the Dining Room. In short, 5 people, scaffold and some traditional wall-plugging techniques (because the wall, essentially, has a foot of plaster on it as it is the former outside wall of the old farmhouse which was incorporated into the new Manor House in 1828.)

A heavy thing, but reproduction of a slightly flamboyant 19th Century French design, the mirror is sited so it reflects the view of the front windows. It also reflects the artwork on the exhibition wall and the modest chandeliers.

Re-decoration update | Ceiling freshly painted


Those of you who have been in the past year will know how we had the end part of the Dining Room (the servery area) painting Red Sand at the bottom and Roman White at the top of the Dado rail. We have now extended this to the full Dining Room, repainting the ceiling (repaired, so hopefully people won’t be getting extra toppings on their pizza*!) and windows and walls. We are pleased with the results, done by our professional decorators – it cost money, but, then, the good stuff does and should!

The decorators used top-grade oil-based paint for this job, as it is not one we wish to have to repeat too soon.

During the re-decoration week, the couple of courses we had in used the Drawing Room as a little temporary Dining Room. They loved it, and, indeed it made a very pleasant dining room. Spare a thought, however, for our catering staff who had to carry the food from the kitchen all the way down the corridor – their heels must have ended up two inches shorter at the end of the week!

We also recently upgraded the LED lighting on the chandeliers – now you can even see the topping on your pizza*

Re-decoration update | End of Dining Room


Those of you who know Higham may be familiar with the end of the Dining Room where tea and coffee and some food is served. It was blue for a long time, clashing with the rest of the Dining Room. So we decided to bring it into line and match it up. We chose a nice red terracotta for warmth (which also harmonises with the curtains) for below the dado rail. A heritage off-white for above the rail warms up the area and contrasts well. The dado itself has been repainted in glossy brown – it really is a nice feature.

As with other projects, we are using high-grade materials, as the building deserves it and we want a long lifespan. People are already commenting positively on the subtle changes we have been making, and it is nice to know these things are appreciated. All work we do is made possible by the income were receive from those who use the college, and we are always trying to make sure that we spend wisely and thoughtfully, befitting both the purpose and the heritage.