Alston is located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and as
a result we are blessed with a wide range of outdoor activities on
Alston is a ‘Walkers Are Welcome’ town and participates in the annual North Pennines Walking Festival in October each year. The town is located on the Pennine Way and the following trails pass through or are nearby: Hadrian’s High Way, Isaac’s Tea Trail, C18th Packhorse Trail, the South Tyne Trail and Wainwright’s Pennine Journey route – most of these routes pass very close to our properties.
Nearby long distance routes include: Walkers’ coast to coast, Hadrian’s Wall Path and there are many Open Access moorland and Fell walks on the Explore North Pennines website. There are endless short walks in the vicinity to suit all levels and a selection of leaflets are available in the apartment/barns and from Alston TIC located in the Town Hall.
Below the gallery there’s a list of outdoor activities, leisure facilities and local places to eat.
- Archaeology – Epiacum Roman Fort – www.epiacumheritage.org
- Astronomy – really dark skies and amazing starscapes. The North Pennines is one of the best places in the country to see the night sky with annual stargazing events and festivals
- Birdwatching – pheasants, curlew, lapwing, owls and black grouse are commonly seen plus most species of smaller birds in our gardens. Visit Geltsdale RSPB reserve and enjoy North Pennine Birdwalks www.northpennines.org.uk/?s=bird+walks
- Botany – the special landscape here creates a backdrop for wildflowers, hay meadows and open heather moors
- Bowls – Alston Moor Bowling Green is situated at the Town Head with regular club activity during the Spring and Summer
- Canoeing and Kayaking – Four major northern rivers, the Eden, Tyne, Wear and Tees all have headwaters in the North Pennines and Alston is a popular base
- Classic cars – Alston is a regular stopping off point for classic car clubs with its scenic access routes from 5 directions
- Climbing – there are several limestone escarpments in the North Pennines and Eden Valley and a climbing wall in Penrith
- Cycling and Mountain biking – located near the C2C cycleway and SusTrans Pennine Cycleway
- Driving – the famous A686 from Penrith to Newcastle via Hartside Top was voted by the AA as one of the top 10 scenic drives in the world
- Electric bikes and cars – ask at the Town Hall for current bike hire points. Electric car hire charge point coming soon…
- Fishing – There are many coarse fishing day ticket waters in the area with catch and release salmon fishing on stretches of the South Tyne. Check local Post Office for license
- Geology and Geotrails – Alston Moor is within the first area of Britain to be given UNESCO-endorsed status of European Geopark
- Golf – 18 hole Alston golf course is the highest course in England and is located just outside Garrigill
- History – Alston is brimming with rural, industrial and architectural history, for the stories visit the Town Hall where there is usually a heritage exhibition and ask about Alston Moor Historical Society
- Historic houses – whichever direction you choose there are stately homes, castles, cathedrals or abbeys in each town including Penrith, Hexham, Barnard Castle, Kendal and the cities of Carlisle, Durham and Newcastle upon Tyne
- Horse riding – local packhorse routes plus two horse riding stables nearby
- Heritage – Killhope Lead Mining Centre and Nenthead Mines. Hadrian’s Wall UNESCO World Heritage site is a short drive away at Greenhead, Northumberland with many museums and there’s a standing stone circle ‘Long Meg & her Daughters’ near Penrith
- Literature – WH Auden famously loved the North Pennines and Alston Moor. A scenic drive to Grasmere and Hawkshead makes a great day out to visit to the houses of William Wordsworth, John Ruskin or Beatrix Potter
- Motorcycling – the famous A686 from to Newcastle via Hartside Top was voted by the AA as one of the top 10 scenic drives in the world. Hartside Topp is a popular meeting point for motorcyclists and cyclists
- Play – Children’s play area at the top of Town and huge riverside green at Tyne Willows (Town Foot)
- Shooting – several nearby estates offer grouse and pheasant shooting days plus regular clay pigeon shooting events
- Ski-ing and snowboarding at nearby Yad Moss ski lift http://www.yadmoss.co.uk/
- Swimming – at St. John’s Pool (private) in Garrigill or Haltwhistle, Hexham or Penrith municipal swimming pools
- Walking – endless choice of walks of different kinds in and around Alston Moor see www.walkalstonmoor.com In addition Haltwhistle walking festival takes place in Spring and Autumn with walks from Alston
- Wildlife – an amazing variety of birds and wildlife to look out for, we suggest you bring binoculars
Village shopping in Alston includes two supermarkets, craft shops, galleries and gift shops, a healthfood co-operative with delicatessen (open 7 days), a boutique bookshop, two hairdressers, a beauty salon, a Post Office with cakes and sweets, an outdoor shop plus an arts and crafts shop within the local library/TIC in the Town Hall.
Childrens’ play area and park at the top of Alston Town.
Regular events – theatre, music, pantomimes and films at Alston Town Hall plus a seasonal craft market also music, film and activities at nearby Garrigill village hall. South Tyne Steam Railway in Alston runs events throughout the year as does Killhope Lead Mining Museum.
Seasonal events at Tyne Willows green near the South Tyne river include Alston Agricultural Show, Alston Gala and Sheep Dog trials. Alston Craftworkers hold a pre-Christmas event and arts & crafts exhibitions take place in the church, Town Hall or local galleries.
Annual events include North Pennines Walking Festival, Farming events, bonfire night and Alston Live summer music festival.
Visit Alston Town Hall Local Links for information on current events.
Food & Drink
Local cafés and restaurants
Alston House café and restaurant
High Plaice (fish & chips)
Saddlers Bakery and Bistro
The Nook café and farm shop at Epiacum Roman Fort
The Hive (café and arts centre located in Nenthead)
Local pubs and hotels
The Angel Inn
The Cumberland Inn (real ale CAMRA pub)
The Turks Head
Further afield there are several good pubs on the A686 to Hexham and Penrith. Hexham and Penrith both have many cafés and Chinese, English, French, Indian and Italian restaurants.