AlstonEarth : Europe : Britain and Ireland : United Kingdom : England : North West England : Cumbria : Alston
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.
Wrights busses 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 both Nenthead and Garrigill are good 8 mile ( round trip) walks which can be taken along the rivers Nent and Tyne respectively.
PUBS: Alston is a place of many pubs considering its small size. There are less than 2000 people living on the whole moor and there are a total of 10 pubs. Each has its own individual character and many of them are free houses, serving local beers from the many microbreweries springing up in Cumbria. The Hub Museum: A local museum dedicated to transport and history of Alston. Although small, it has some impressive exhibits and knowledgeable staff.
South Tynedale Railway: 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 four miles from Alston.
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 George and Dragon pub in Garrigill is a popular place to eat for tourists and locals alike. The small square in the centre of the village makes a tranquil place to sit outside and have a beer before the walk back to Alston. Roundtrip: 8 Miles
Wednesday nights: Open Mike night at the Turks Head pub. 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 Alstons 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.
South Tynedale Railway - Used to be a branch line through to Haltwhistle but now runs narrow gauge steam engines up into the hills for about 3 miles.
The Hub Museum - Showing Alstons industrial heritage, small but well stocked museum. Next to South Tynedale Railway.
Like much of Cumbria, after the Foot and Mouth incident a few years ago, many businesses combined and diversified, leaving Cumbria with a gastronomical edge.
The Moody Baker Co-op: Award winning bakery, specialising in home cooked vegetarian fayre, 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.
Alston House: Upmarket menu and surprising meal selections.
Country Kitchen: Does the best BLT in Alston!
Here is a guide to the pubs of Alston Moor.
- George and Dragon, Garrigill: closed but due to reopen??.
- The Swan, Alston ( or 'The top pub' if you live in Alston, because of its location) Very much a locals pub, good pool table though.
- The Crown, Alston: Recently (2006) refurbished. Bar serves mostly largers but also cocktails and other oddities not usually found in towns of this size. Often has a late license and holds regular events.
- The Victoria Inn, Alston: Good bed and breakfast accommodation. Good bar food including several items from the Moody Baker Co-op and a indian (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.
- The Angel Inn, Alston: Growing reputation for good food, beer garden out the back.
- The Blue Bell, Alston: now closed.
- The Cumberland Inn, Alston: 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 wont cameras pub of the year award.
- Alston House, Alston: Recently renovated, offers fresh surprising menu, and good choice of wines and spirits, with few beers. Comfiest sofas in Alston.