At roughly 1000ft above sea level, Alston lays claim to being the highest market town in England. Not only that, the nearest town is also more than 15 miles away so Alston cottages offer the chance to escape to a far-flung corner of Cumbria that promises to enchant sightseers with its charming cobbled streets and bustling pubs, shops and tea rooms. To arrive in memorable fashion it may be worth travelling along the A686 from Penrith to Corbridge. The AA Magazine rated this among the 10 best drives in the world and it's not difficult to see how they came to such a conclusion as the heather-clad moorlands of the North Pennines that surround Alston make it an area of outstanding natural beauty and appealing to anyone who participates in outdoor activities. For the food lovers out there, sample some of the delicious local produce, including Alston Cheese and Cumberland Mustard. Reminders of the town's rich mining history are everywhere, with the Nenthead Mines Heritage Centre charting the story of mineral mining in this area. The underground tours offer a remarkable insight into the kind of conditions that miners used to work in and what life was like down the mines. The South Tynedale Railway, the highest narrow gauge railway in England, also runs from Alston to Kirkhaugh, which is just over two miles away in Northumberland.
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