English is spoken fluently by all, although this may change through the course of Friday and Saturday nights.
There are good transport links into Alston. Although the railway is no longer running, main roads extend to Alston from Carlisle, Hexham, Penrith, and Barnard Castle. Each of these is 20–30 miles distant.
Alston and Garrigill are on the Pennine Way.
Wrights' buses run a daily service in the summer months to Penrith, Newcastle (via Hexham), and the villages of Garrigill and Nenthead.
Alston is set in a designated area of outstanding natural beauty. There are many walks to be had on the moor, and the Nenthead and Garrigill walks are good, 8-mile (13-km) round trip walks which can be taken along the rivers Nent and Tyne respectively.
- 1 The Hub Museum, CA9 3HN. A local museum dedicated to transport and history of Alston. Although small, it has some impressive exhibits and knowledgeable staff.
- The Hub Museum (Next to South Tynedale Railway.). Showing Alston's industrial heritage, small but well stocked museum.
- 2 Ashgill Force, CA9 3HB, ☏ .
- 1 Garrigill Walk (Starting from Alston, there is a gentle walk to be had following the Pennine Way to Garrigill along the Tyne river). From its mighty endings in Newcastle, Garrigill is very close to Tynehead where the river originates from springs. The small square in the centre of the village makes a tranquil place to sit outside. Roundtrip: 8 miles.
- 2 South Tynedale Railways. The railway used to run from Alston to nearby Haltwhistle, but was closed in 1974. Since then narrow gauge track has been laid and steam trains run throughout the summer months to Gilderdale, some 4 miles from Alston.
- 3 Open Mike night at the Turks Head, Market Place, CA9 3HS, ☏ . Wednesday nights. This popular event draws musicians from all around Cumbria, Northumberland and Durham and is popular with the locals. Anyone is welcome to join in.
- Friday 'early doors', The Cumberland. Many of Alston's residents start the weekend early with a few beers at the Cumberland on a Friday night. The Cumberland is serious about its real ale and is a good place to stop if you wish to sample something local to drink.
- Events at the Town Hall. Music night are held roughly every two months in the town hall over the winter months, and show good variety from rock to reggae. Also features the infamous 'Alston Raffle' which beggars description.
Like much of Cumbria, after the Foot and Mouth crisis in the early 2000s, many businesses combined and diversified, leaving Cumbria with a gastronomical edge.
- The Moody Baker Co-op. A bakery specialising in home-cooked vegetarian fare, although quality meat pasties and pies are now available. Their steak and ale pie; the Wolf Pie is made with beer from the local Allendale Brewery.
- Alston Wholefoods. Well stocked with wholefoods, but also stocking local produce from the surrounding catchment. Helpful staff will also talk you though one of the most impressive cheese counters around.
- 1 Alston House Hotel, Townfoot, Alston Moor, CA9 3RN, ☏ . Upmarket menu and surprising meal selections.
- Country Kitchen. Does the best BLT in Alston!
Alston used to have many pubs considering its small size. There are fewer than 2000 people living on the whole moor and the village used to 10 pubs. Each pub had its own individual character and many of were free houses, serving local beers from the microbreweries of Cumbria. In 2014 just four pubs remained open (Cumberland, Angel, Turks Head, and Victoria), and one hotel/restaurant (Alston House), although the Cumberland and Victoria also provide accommodation.
In Alston Moor
Here is a guide to the pubs of Alston Moor.
- 1 The Victoria Inn, Front St, CA9 3SE, ☏ . Good bed and breakfast accommodation. Good bar food including several items from the Moody Baker Co-op and an Indian restaurant (the Victoria Spice).
- The Turks Head. Very old pub, low ceilings, open fires in the winter, reasonable selection of beers including local ales. Home of the Open Mike night on Wednesdays.
- 2 The Angel Inn, Front St, CA9 3HU, ☏ . Growing reputation for good food, beer garden out the back.
- The Cumberland Inn. Favourite of Alstonites for an after work, or even just afternoon pint. Stunning vista with beer garden over the playing fields and across the river Tyne. Great place to try a local well-kept ale and watch the sun set. Also offers food and accommodation. just won Camera's pub of the year award.
- Alston House. It offers fresh surprising menu, and good choice of wines and spirits, with few beers. Comfiest sofas in Alston.
Out of Town
- 3 The George & Dragon Inn, Valley View, Garrigill, CA9 3DS, ☏ .
- Alston Art Apartments, Pigeons, The Butts, Alston, CA9 3JQ, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Group of three artfully-converted cottages, each sleeping 4-5 people. £400-600/week.
- Alston House Hotel, Townfoot, Alston, CA9 3RN, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 7 en-suite rooms with the expected mod-cons (flat-screen TV, wifi et al) in typically Cumbrian historic hotel building. On-site are a restaurant, a café, a bar and a pizza takeaway. Dogs welcome. From £50/night.
- Cumberland Hotel, Townfoot, Alston, CA9 3HX, ☏ . En-suite B&B accommodation with restaurant and bar. Email via contact form on website. Pets welcome. £40/night, special offers and reductions available.
- 1 Lowbyer Manor, Hexham Road, Alston, CA9 3JX, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 4-star guest house in a grade II-listed Georgian manor house. 9 en-suite rooms, with breakfast and dinner served in the manor's restaurant. Limited wifi. Most rooms £78/night, breakfast included.
- 2 Alston Youth Hostel, Firs Edge, The Firs, Alston, CA9 3RW (next to the Pennine Way, South Tyne Trail and the Coast-to-Coast (C2C) cycle route), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Youth hostel on the edge of town with red squirrels in the gardens. Breakfast and evening meals (not included) are served every day, and packed lunches are available on request the night before. Sharing adults: £20.50-25/day; sharing under-18s: £16-17.50/night; private rooms: £36-120/night.
|Routes through Alston|
|Edale ← Dufton ←||S N||→ Hadrian's Wall → Kirk Yetholm|