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40. The Town of Alston in Cumbria (highest town in England)

Scenes in North Pennines - East Cumbria

Yorkshire Dales & North Pennines Index

See also 49. Circular Walk from Alston via Whitley Castle, Kirkhaugh & South Tynedale Railway

The Quaker Friends Meeting House, Alston Town, Cumbria, North Pennines, Northern England

Alston is the 1st or 2nd highest market town in England, (I am informed that the highest may be Buxton) but they are both ~1000 feet above sea level (website research gives different opinions, so why not let Buxton and Alston share the title!). Alston sits high up amongst moorland in the glorious wild heather covered countryside of the North Pennines of the North of England. Alston is in the Eden District of East Cumbria in the South Tyne Valley. As you come into Alston from the beautiful drive up Teesdale on the B6277 Middleton-in-Teesdale and Langdon Beck road or the A689 from Stanhope, you pass on your left the Quaker's Friends Meeting House. Historically, the hills surrounding Alston have been mined for silver, lead, coal and anthracite since Roman Times but this gradually died out in the 19th century but sheep farming has been a constant source of income.

The wonderful scenery you pass through on approaching Alston from the B6277 Middleton-in-Teesdale road

 

It has many 17th century stone built buildings. The Market Square and Market Cross are centre stage and the spire of St Augustine's Church towering over the houses around the town centre. Alston Town, Cumbria, North Pennines, Northern England

Alston, an unspoilt town, is well worth a visit with lots of small independent shops (no chain stores here!) and lots of cafes and pubs to eat and drink in. It has many 17th century stone built buildings. The Market Square and Market Cross are centre stage and the spire of St Augustine's Church towering over the houses around the town centre.

 

There are several good cafes in the fine old buildings in the town centre.
 Alston Town, Cumbria, North Pennines, Northern England

There are several good cafes in the fine old buildings in the town centre of Alston.

Blueberry's Tea Shop Cafe

 

There are also some good pubs in similar fine old buildings like the Turks Head which is reputed to be the oldest tavern in Alston. Alston Town, Cumbria, North Pennines, Northern England

There are also some good pubs in similar fine old buildings like the Turks Head which is reputed to be the oldest tavern in Alston.

 

The distinctive Market Cross with its all weather roof covering! Alston Town, Cumbria, North Pennines, Northern England

The distinctive Market Cross of Alston with its all weather roof covering!

 

The structure of Alston's steep main street retains its cobbled surface.Alston Town, Cumbria, North Pennines, Northern England

The structure of Alston's steep main street retains its cobbled surface.

 

The old 'inn/pub/tavern?' of the Turk's Head stands by the Market Cross (on the right of Market Square and Market Cross). Alston Town, Cumbria, North Pennines, Northern England

The old 'inn/pub/tavern?' of the Turk's Head stands by the Market Cross of Alston (on the right of Market Square and Market Cross).

 

Looking up the cobbled main street to the Market Cross and Market Square.
 Alston Town, Cumbria, North Pennines, Northern England

Looking up the cobbled main street to the Market Cross and Market Square of Alston.

 

The Parish Church of St. Augustine, Alston.  Alston Town, Cumbria, North Pennines, Northern England

The Parish Church of St. Augustine, Alston. There may have been a Saxon Church before the Norman Conquest but the current churches origins lie in the later 12th century. The medieval-Norman church was pulled down and rebuilt between 1763-1770, but this in turn was demolished and a new church built in 1870, so nothing remains of the prior ancient buildings.

 

The stone carvings over the doorway of St Augustine's Church, Alston

 

The nave and chancel beyond of  St Augustine's Church, Alston

 

Some of the stained glass window panels in  St Augustine's Church, Alston

 

 

There are more 'old' buildings, including a pub, The Angel Inn, just down on the right from the Parish Church. Alston Town, Cumbria, North Pennines, Northern England

There are more 'old' buildings, including a pub, The Angel Inn, just down on the right from the Parish Church of Alston.

 

The building on the right is dated 1681, the Angel Inn 1611 and the white building on the left 1687. Alston Town, Cumbria, North Pennines, Northern England

The building on the right is dated 1681, the Angel Inn 1611 and the white building on the left 1687.

 

 

The splendid building of the former Town Hall of Alston is now a very good tourist and information centre.

 

The Market Cross shop in Alston sells all sorts of things!

 

The River South Tyne near Alston station

See also

49. A Circular Walk from Alston via Whitley Castle, Kirkhaugh and the South Tynedale Railway

 

HOMEPAGE Yorkshire Dales, North Pennines and parts of Cumbria ScenesHOMEPAGE for all of Phil and Molly's PicsSome places for 'refreshment' in Alston.

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Alston, Cumbria, North of England, is the highest market town in England and over 1000ft (~330m) above sea level in the North Pennines of Cumbria. It is a lovely unspoilt town and well worth a stop and a potter around. The Moody Baker, up the cobbled street from the market cross serves delicious freshly cooked snacks

Alston is a small but attractive town with many 17th century stone buildings and lots of friendly welcoming inhabitants. Blueberry's Tea Shop is just below the market cross in market square and serves a good pot of tea or coffee with decent quality snacks. There are several nice walks from Alston Town itself.

Garrigill to Ashgill Force circular walk

The Turks Head Inn is one of several 'old' pubs in Alston and is just above the square pillared market cross with its angled roof. It is reputed to be the first 'pub' in Alston and a real 'olde world' building both inside and outside.

Garrigill to Ashgill Force circular walk

The Angel Inn, by the Parish Church, dates from 1611 and the building on its right is dated 1681 and the white building on the left dates from 1687. Across the road is a good tourist information centre in the town hall (bottom right) and is the tallest building in town bar the Church Tower and Steeple. The staff were very friendly and helpful.

Garrigill to Ashgill Force circular walk

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