Heritage Breaks in Alston: Discover the Timeless Beauty of the North Pennines

by | Alston, Alston Moor, Attractions, Discover Alston, History, History of Alston, History of Alston Moor, Things to do in Alston

Nestled in the heart of the picturesque North Pennines National Landscape, Alston offers the quintessential experience for those seeking heritage breaks in Alston. This charming town, steeped in history and natural beauty, is the perfect backdrop for a getaway that combines relaxation with a touch of the past.

Exploring the Historic Town of Alston

Historic old photo of Alston Marketplace showcasing its rich heritage.

A glimpse into the past: Alston Marketplace in a historic photograph, highlighting the town’s enduring charm and history – perfect for heritage breaks in Alston.

One of the highlights of heritage breaks in Alston is the opportunity to explore the town’s rich history. Alston is often described as one of the highest market towns in England, and its cobbled streets and stone buildings tell the story of a community that has thrived for centuries. Visitors can wander through the town, discovering quaint shops, traditional pubs, and historic landmarks that each have their own tale to tell.

Journey on the South Tynedale Railway

Alston Station platform sign on the South Tynedale Railway for heritage breaks in Alston.

The iconic Alston Station platform sign on the South Tynedale Railway, a must-see for those enjoying heritage breaks in Alston.

A short stroll from the town centre brings you to the South Tynedale Railway, a heritage railway that offers a unique way to explore the stunning countryside. This narrow-gauge railway, lovingly maintained by volunteers, runs through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the North Pennines. It’s a must-do activity for anyone enjoying heritage breaks in Alston.

Nenthead Mines: A Glimpse into the Industrial Past

Preserved Nenthead Mines, a key site for heritage breaks in Alston.

Explore the preserved Nenthead Mines to uncover Alston’s industrial past, a fascinating stop for heritage breaks in Alston.

For those interested in industrial history, the Nenthead Mines provide a fascinating glimpse into the past. Once a major centre for lead and zinc mining, Nenthead is now a preserved site where visitors can learn about the mining techniques and the lives of the miners. Guided tours are available, making it an educational and intriguing stop on your heritage break in Alston.

Discovering Epiacum Roman Fort

Epiacum Roman Fort, an attraction for heritage breaks in Alston.

Discover Epiacum Roman Fort, an ancient site offering insights into Roman Britain, ideal for history enthusiasts on heritage breaks in Alston.

Another significant historic site near Alston is Epiacum, an ancient Roman fort that offers a window into Roman Britain. The fort, which is still being excavated, provides a unique opportunity to see archaeology in action. Informative displays and walking trails around the site make it a perfect spot for history enthusiasts enjoying heritage breaks in Alston.

Top 10 Historic Attractions in Alston

Alston Marketplace with its historic charm for heritage breaks in Alston.

Experience the historic charm of Alston Marketplace, a central landmark in the town’s rich heritage.

Alston and its surroundings are brimming with historic attractions that are perfect for heritage breaks in Alston. Here are ten must-visit sites:

  1. Market Cross: The historic Market Cross in Alston, built in 1765, is a central landmark protected by stone bollards, making it one of the key historic attractions in Alston.
  2. Alston Town Hall: Constructed in 1857, Alston Town Hall showcases 19th-century public architecture and serves as a community hub.
  3. St. Augustine’s Church: Featuring Gothic Revival architecture and housing the 17th-century Derwentwater Clock, St. Augustine’s Church is a notable historic attraction in Alston.
  4. The Butts: Characterized by steeply cobbled streets and historic buildings, The Butts offers a glimpse into Alston’s medieval past.
  5. Brewery Bridge: An iconic stone bridge reflecting Alston’s industrial past, Brewery Bridge is a picturesque spot for leisurely walks.
  6. Quaker Meeting House: Reflecting the area’s strong Quaker heritage since the 17th century, the Quaker Meeting House is a significant historic attraction in Alston.
  7. Nent Force Level: An ambitious underground canal project designed by John Smeaton, the Nent Force Level is an intriguing historic site.
  8. The Gossipgate: Named for the weir in the Nent Burn where the noise resembles people talking, The Gossipgate is a unique historic attraction.
  9. High Mill: Built around 1767 with an intact waterwheel, High Mill represents an important part of Alston’s industrial heritage.
  10. Alston Station: Part of the South Tynedale Railway, Alston Station offers insights into 19th-century railway operations.

For more detailed information on these attractions, see our guide to the top 10 historic attractions in Alston.

The Churches of Alston Moor

Historic old photo of Alston Church for heritage breaks in Alston.

A historic 1950s photo of Alston Church and town, showcasing the town’s deep-rooted religious history.

Alston Moor is home to several historic churches that are well worth a visit during your heritage break in Alston. These churches not only serve as places of worship but also as landmarks of architectural and historical significance.

  • St. Augustine’s Church, Alston: Dating back to the 12th century, this church features stunning Norman architecture and beautiful stained-glass windows.
  • St. John’s Church, Garrigill: Built in 1790, St. John’s Church is known for its simple yet elegant design and plays a crucial role in the village’s social and spiritual life.
  • St. John the Evangelist, Nenthead: Reflecting Nenthead’s rich mining history, this church is open daily and hosts regular services and events.

For more detailed information on these churches, se our guide to the churches of Alston Moor.

Stay at Salvin House

Wood stove in Salvin House for heritage breaks in Alston.

The cosy wood stove at Salvin House provides a warm welcome for guests, offering a perfect retreat during heritage breaks in Alston.

For those looking to immerse themselves fully in the heritage experience, Salvin House is the ideal place to stay. This stunning example of Georgian architecture has been meticulously restored to offer guests a comfortable yet historically immersive experience. Each room in Salvin House is furnished with period-appropriate décor, ensuring that your stay is both authentic and luxurious. Its serene gardens and comfortable lounges provide a peaceful environment where you can relax and unwind after a day of exploring Alston.

Heritage Breaks in Alston

Heritage breaks in Alston promise a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you are a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, Alston and its surroundings have something to offer. Plan your heritage break in Alston today and discover the timeless beauty and charm of this hidden gem in the North Pennines.

Heritage breaks in Alston offer an unparalleled experience that combines the rich history of the area with the stunning natural landscapes. Don’t miss the chance to explore this captivating town and create memories that will last a lifetime. ​



Rob Lawson is a property investor and communications consultant who grew up in the South Tyne Valley. With a deep passion for historical preservation, he fell in love with Salvin House and committed to restoring it to its former glory. With a vision that blends respect for its heritage and modern comforts, Rob has revived this historic gem for future generations to appreciate.


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