* THREE BEDROOM ACCOMMODATION IN HISTORIC BUILDING *
* A GREAT CENTRE FOR EXPLORING THE NORTH PENNINES, HADRIANS WALL AND NORTHERN LAKES *
* CONVENIENTLY SITUATED IN HISTORIC MARKET TOWN *
* SCENIC WALKS AND GREAT FOR CYCLING *
* USE OF THREE BEDROOMS (TWO ENSUITE), BATHROOM AND LIVING ROOM. KITCHEN SHARED WITH HOST *
* GOOD PUBS AND RESTAURANTS NEARBY *
Old Royal Oak is a traditional stone town house dating from 1680, originally an inn.
Part of this characterful and spacious house is available to rent. There are three good sized bedrooms (two with ensuite) and a family bathroom occupying the first floor, while you will have full exclusive use of the spacious living/dining room on the ground floor. The well equipped kitchen/breakfast room is shared with your hosts Martin and Helen.
All three bedrooms are a good size. The largest bedroom can be configured as a king size double or as two singles and this room has an ensuite shower room. The second bedroom has a double bed and also has an ensuite shower room. The third bedroom is another good sized double and although it is not ensuite, the bathroom is only a few paces away across the landing.
We offer free WiFi but there is no TV.
Guests have access to the living room/dining room downstairs and have full use of the kitchen to prepare meals and hot drinks.
Guests can make themselves comfortable in the oak beamed sitting room. This also serves as the dining area.
Guests are welcome to make use of the well equipped kitchen. You can buy provisions for cooking at the local grocery store which is open 7am to 10pm every day.
Two of the bedrooms are ensuite but there is also a private bathroom just a few steps away and this has a bath, basin and toilet but no shower. There is a rinsing attachment on the bath taps for washing and rinsing hair.
Check in from 4.30 pm; Check out by 10.00am
Guests staying more than one night will of course have access to the house at all times.
Interaction with guests
Martin and Helen are happy to offer advice and suggestions about what to see and do in the locality, and to suggest where to eat and drink. We are happy to share our space with you and to join you for a chat and a cuppa but if you would prefer to keep to yourselves rather than make polite conversation, that's fine too!
Other things to note
AROUND AND ABOUT
Alston makes a great centre for exploring the North Pennines. As well as the many and varied routes for the walker and cyclist, within easy reach by car you have HADRIANS WALL, TEESDALE (High Force waterfall, Cauldron Snout), WEARDALE, ALLENDALE and it's historic inns and excellent arts centre, HEXHAM with its ancient historic abbey, and over to the west is the fine market town of PENRITH (the nearest mainline station) and the Eden valley. ULLSWATER and it's popular boat trips is forty minutes by car, while the city of NEWCASTLE and THE SAGE music and arts venue is about an hours drive away. Further afield, within a couple of hours drive, you could be on the Northumberland coast at Holy Island or walking along the sandy beaches around Bamburgh, or perhaps on a boat trip to the Farne Islands. All are possible on a day trip.
If you want to bring bikes, we can offer secure bike storage.
Many cyclists pass through Alston on the Coast to Coast route, but less well known is that there is an amazing variety of road and off-road routes here in the North Pennines AONB. The winding lanes, empty roads, packhorse trails and ancient drovers roads provide some rewarding and memorable rides. Martin can advise on routes for different abilities from beginner to expert. Hadrians Wall or High Force waterfall are within day ride distance if you're fit, while a short ride along the South Tyne Valley to see the red squirrels and the waterfalls is an easy ride for the beginner. The roads hereabouts are never busy and it is worth staying an extra day or more to explore them.
FOR THE WALKER
You only have to stroll a few hundred yards and you are into some wonderful countryside with fabulous riverside and fell walks right from the doorstep. The highest point on the Pennines, Cross Fell, dominates the skyline to the South-West, while there are far less strenuous walks with direct access from the town along the beautiful South Tyne valley and the Nent valley (with some fine waterfalls). The famous Pennine Way passes through Alston.
The highly regarded Isaac's Tea Trail is a series of walks based in the area and well worth exploring. Also, within a short drive you can explore Teesdale, Weardale, the Allen Valleys, and much more besides. This area makes a welcome change from the busy walking routes of the Lake District.
WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO DO?
The area holds great appeal not just for walkers and cyclists, but also for PHOTOGRAPHERS, BIRD WATCHERS, BOTANISTS, HISTORIANS and GEOLOGISTS, while STARGAZERS will appreciate the dark skies above the nearby hills, free of light pollution.
DRIVERS AND MOTORCYCLISTS will appreciate the challenging yet quiet roads, not to mention some of the best views in England. This is one of the least populated areas in Britain so the roads are never busy. Classic car and bike enthusiasts will find plenty to interest them at The Hub transport museum.
SECRETS OF A PAST INDUSTRY
Those interested in industrial archeology will discover that the surrounding hills hide many secrets of a lead mining past that stretches back centuries. The nearby villages of Nenthead and Allenheads are worth visiting for their fascinating links with this past industry, or visit the Killhope Mine museum for a real underground experience. There is plenty about local history in the local library/tourist information centre.
If you smoke, there is plenty of space outside! For fire safety no smoking anywhere in the house. For similar reasons, no candles, tea lights or deep fat frying.
Please avoid muddy shoes or boots on the carpeted areas, but other than that, just make yourselves at home and enjoy yourselves!
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We are an easy-going couple with a wide range of interests. Martin has a background in photography and journalism and his interests include cars and motorcycles, cycling, the countryside, and renovating old houses. Helen's interests range from cycling and skiing to gardening and visiting museums and historic places. We both enjoy good food, travelling and getting to know people from different backgrounds. We enjoy having visitors to stay at our lovely old house in Alston.