Here you’ll find a list of  ideas for things to see and do locally and further afield. We also would like to point out our list of local businesses, restaurants, and cafes we’re proud to have here on Alston Moor, Roof of England , North Pennines AONB.

Things to see and do

Within five miles

You don’t have to travel far from the door to find things to see and do. There are dozens of circular walks which can begin and end here. The area is full of public footpaths, quiet roads and bridleways.

  • Ashgill force, my favourite place in the North Pennines. This is a waterfall, walking distance (over high stiles) from the  cottage, which you can, if you wish, walk behind. We have had a doorstep walking guide from the cottage to Ashgill, produced for us by Nurture Eden. It is available here. Approx 1.5 miles from the cottage

Between 5 and 10 miles

  • Killhope Lead Mining Museum – Killhope is a multi-award winning 19th century mining museum in the centre of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), where you can experience the life and work of the lead mining families of the North Pennines. Here you can underground, enjoy walks and watch red squirrels from the hide, dress up as a lead miner and enjoy the amazing soup and cakes in the cafe. 6 miles
  • Epiacum – “the most significant archaeological monument in the region” – Prof Stewart Ainsworth from TV’s Time Team. Take the train and walk here from the train. Events planned for the year so check the website. 6 miles
  • Weardale museum – The Weardale Museum is a small independent folk museum. Home of the Weardale tapestry. 10 Miles

Attractions and activities, local and further afield

All within travelling distance for a day out from Isaac’s Byre.

  • Alston Golf Course – If you like coming in under par, then the golf course is for you. Alston Golf Course currently offers a 10-hole course, though expansion is underway to a full 18 holes.
  • Bowlees visitor centre and walk from Low Force to High Force. There is also a walk to Gibson’s cave from the car park. The visitor centre now has new proprietors in the cafe and produce a high level of meals and snacks. Definitely recommend a trip out here for the walks and the centre.
  • Carlisle – Carlisle is ideally located between Scotland and the Lake District, and both are easily reached by car or train. A medieval market town to contemporary city, Carlisle offers a huge choice of attractions to enjoy. A vibrant, cultured city with ever-changing choice of events and entertainment options for all ages
  • Durham Cathedral – Durham Cathedral is the greatest Norman building in England, perhaps even in Europe. It is cherished not only for its architecture but also for its incomparable setting. For this reason it was inscribed together with the Castle as one of Britain’s first World Heritage Sites.
  • Epiacum – “the most significant archaeological monument in the region” – Prof Stewart Ainsworth from TV’s Time Team
  • Gretna Green – The gateway to Scotland, Gretna Geren may be famous for weddings, but it is also a great place for families and couples to come and enjoy time together experiencing a variety of indoor and outdoor activities, including excellent shopping and great places to eat.
  • Hadrian’s Wall – Staggering in the planning; masterful in its execution; awe-inspiring in its scale. Hadrian’s Wall was built in AD122 as a border to the Roman Empire.
  • Killhope Mines – A mining centre, over the border in County Durham which details the history of the lead mining.
  • Long Meg and Her Daughters – A Bronze Age stone circle near Penrith, Cumbria. It consists of around 60 stones. Lacey’s Caves are close to here. Visitors often visit both together. 15 miles from the cottage. CA10 1AW.
  • Lake District National Park Authority – Lots of information for visitors planning a trip to the Lake District, one of the most beautiful parts of the country.
  • The Lake District Pass – A pass scheme providing great-value access to a large number of attractions within the Lake District.
  • Nenthead Mines – Another mining centre which used to detail the Moor’s Heritage and history in Lead Mining. Currently closed, the site offers stunning walks in the local landscape. 3 miles
  • Settle Carlisle railway –  19 miles
  • South Tynedale Railway – A local narrow gauge railway, with a station in Alston. 4.5 miles
  • Sustrans – Sustrans provide information for cycle routes such as the Coast to Coast.
  • The Sill
  • Tourist Information Centre – The local Tourist Information Centre, with even more information on things to see and do during your stay.
  • Weardale museum – The Weardale Museum is a small independent folk museum. Home of the Weardale tapestry.

Pubs, restaurants and other places to eat

  • The George and Dragon, Garrigill
    The local pub in Garrigill.  A great authentic local pub. Recently re-opened and run by the lovely landlords David and Jackie. Good local real ales, along with good home-cooked food at reasonable prices. Home cooked meals available but phone to check availability.  Phone: 01434 382691 – ¼ mile on foot or 1 mile by car -dogs welcome
  • Miners Arms, Nenthead
    Extensive menu and daily specials 12-2pm and 6.30-8pm. If you have special dietary needs Alison will make meals to your requirements with plenty of notice. You can eat in the bar or light and airy conservatory dining room.
    Has a silver award from the Green Tourism Business Award scheme. Phone: 01434 381427 – 3 miles -dogs welcome (but not in conservatory)
  • Overwater Lodge, Nenthead – A small restaurant with a wide menu.  3 miles
  • The Cumberland Hotel, Alston
    Based in Alston, the Cumberland Hotel has recently won the award of the CAMRA Solway pub of the Year for the Second Year running. Owned by Guy and Helen Harme, you’re always guaranteed a warm welcome. A wide range of foods to suit all tastes. Daily specials board. First Tuesday of the month community lunches £4 for two courses. Meals served 12-2pm and 6-9pm – Phone: 01434 381875 – 4 miles – dogs welcome
  • Alston House, Alston
    ‘Fresh, exciting and local are all words that have been used to describe our food; which is served in a relaxed, friendly and informal style.’ Eat in the restaurant or the café during the day. If you have special dietary needs let the owners know in advance and they will ensure that they will cook meals to your requirements. Specials board. Food served daily from 12-5, 6-9pm. Phone: 01434382200 –4 miles
  • Angel Inn, Alston
    Extensive menu of home cooked meals and locally caught trout, specials board. Open 12-2pm, 6-9pm. Phone: 01434 381363 – 4 miles – dogs welcome
  • Nenthall Country House Hotel,  Nentsbury 
    The Coach House Inn is open to non-residents  ‘We offer an extensive seasonal pub menu of home cooked food with homemade desserts to complete your meal.’ Food served 12-2 and 6-9pm – Phone: 01434381584 – 6-7 miles – dogs welcome in Coach House
  • Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel Nentsbury 
    Our restaurant provides elegant surroundings in which to enjoy the award winning cuisine prepared by our master chef, Mr. Barrie Garton. Barrie’s menus are imaginative and varied using mostly local produce. He describes them as being “British with continental excursions”. Phone: 01434381203 – 6-7 miles

Cafes

  • Blueberry’s- Alston Lovely cosy cafe has a full menu of breakfasts, meals and snacks with lots of lovely home made cakes. Blueberry’s tea shop is open 7 days a week 363 days year. It is one of the oldest family run businesses in Alston and has been open since 1988.-4 miles
  • Cumbrian Pantry-Alston. The Cumbrian Pantry is a friendly, family run café with traditional home-baking and free Wi-Fi in the centre of Alston. They can also provide food to take-away or to have ready in the cottage fridge when you arrive.  Home made snacks and cakes, fresh coffee. Phone 01434381406- CA9 3SE 4 miles
  • Buffer Stop cafe– This cafe is located at South Tyndedale Railway station right on the platform, providing good quality homemade food. Local produce is the norm and Kelly’s cakes are a  favourite..The menu varies throughout the season to reflect the weather and of course can eaten in the café, in our picnic areas or on the train. CA9 3JB – 4.5 miles 01434382828
  • The Top Cafe –  Alston The Top Cafe has seating for 22 inside, and in good weather we have a patio area at the rear, with stunning views over the town’s roof tops to the fells beyond.  We serve Pumphrey’s coffee, roasted locally at Blaydon, and a good selection of other hot and cold beverages.  Our cakes and scones are home made, and we have a range of light breakfast and lunch menu options, including gluten free. Phone 01434 382 192 or 07905 240515 4 miles
  • Hartside Cafe–  It is on the summit ridge of the North Pennines at an altitude of around 2,000 feet above sea level. It has an extensive car park. Stunning views towards the Lake District and Solway Firth on a clear day. Simple good home cooked hot food and English breakfasts.01434381036
    CA9 3BW 5.5 miles via Garrigill

Shops and businesses

  • Alston Wholefoods – Alston Wholefood Co-operative was started in May 1998. They aim to provide good quality food and wholefoods to the people of Alston Moor and surrounding area. They also cater for a wide variety of tourists who come to Alston as holiday makers, cyclists, motor cyclists, train enthusiasts and more!
  • The Cane Workshop – Specialists in re-caning and restoration of all traditional rattan cane and rush furniture. They restore all types of cane furniture, from traditional rattan cane through to rush seating. Have a browse of their gallery to see some examples of their work. You can also browse their online shop with some lovely examples of cane furniture, look at the local hand made crafts we have on offer or simply watch them at work at the back of the shop.
  • North Pennine Cycles – Based in Nenthead, this Cycle Shop caters for all your cycling needs. Whether it’s hiring some bikes to go out for the day, or just fixing a puncture, North Pennine Cycles will be able to help.
  • Hi-Pennine outdoors – Hi Pennine Outdoors sells a range of waterproof and fleece clothing for the outdoors. They also have Rucksacks, camping accessories, sleeping bags, walking boots, maps and books; everything you need to get out and start exploring the hills.
  • The Moody Baker – A local bakery in Alston, providing freshly baked bread, pies, and pasties using locally sourced organic or Fairtrade ingredients wherever possible. They also make a range of vegetarian products, including wraps, pizza’s and quiches.
  • Sue Sharp – A ceramic designer based on Alston Moor, Sue designs and makes ceramics such as plates, mugs and other pottery.
  • Cybermoor – The local internet provider, Cybermoor also have a comprehensive business directory, as well as forum for discussion and news of all the latest happenings on the moor.

Further afield but easily reached from the cottage

Gretna green

Durham castle and cathedral

Carlisle castle and cathedral, plus Tully house museum.

Northumberland coast (Lindisfarne, Bambrough, Farne Islands, Edinburgh

Wallington Hall

Cragside

These are all places we have travelled to for days out.

Things to see and do on a wet day

The Hub

South Tynedale railway

Killhope Lead mining museum

Settle Carlisle railway

Carlisle castle and Tully house museum

The sill

Hadrian’s wall museums

Bowlees visitor centre

Acorn bank

Brougham castle. Penrith

Penrith castle

Any of the castles or stately homes in Cumbria or Northumberland e.g. Wallington hall

Things to do with children

Most of the above plus;

Garrigill village hall playground

Nenthead playground

Fairhill playground , Alston

Alston Soft play

Crackers soft play, Haltwhistle