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Discover the North Pennines

Travel along the A686, voted one of the AA’s ‘Top 10 most scenic routes’ and discover the many hidden treasures in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Savour a sweet treat at a renowned organic bakery; explore the mysterious underground world of the lead miner; experience the romance of a steam-powered train journey; and enjoy the delights of a stroll around a formal walled garden…and all within easy access to the M6!




9.45am (45 minutes duration) – Visit the Village Bakery at Melmerby. The famous bakery is renowned for its wonderful artisan organic breads and cakes baked in wood fired ovens. The restaurant, where you can have morning coffee, has won many awards for imaginative home cooking using fresh organic produce. Visit the Bakery Shop to buy freshly baked cakes and breads, where there is also a wide range of organic groceries and baking books for sale.

10.00am (20 minutes duration (Road up to Alston is narrow and winding) - Re-join coach to head up to Alston on the A686, via Hartside Summit, voted by the AA as ‘one of the 10 most scenic routes in the world.’


10.20am (3 hours duration (inc lunch) – Visit the town of Alston, the highest market settlement in England, being about 1000 feet above sea level. From every direction Alston is approached over a broad, heather-clad Pennine landscape which has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Alston has a steep cobbled main street with a distinctive market cross, and many stone buildings dating from the 17th Century with a host of unusual shops including quality crafts and galleries. Alston has a good range of places to eat including hotels, pubs, tea rooms and cafes.

(5 minute duration) Travel to South Tynedale Railway along A689/A686.


1.25pm (1.5 hours duration) – Visit South Tynedale Railway (available April to October), which has a restored Victorian station building. Take a ride on one of the lovingly restored steam and diesel engines on the South Tynedale Railway, a round trip from Alston to Kirkhaugh takes around 50 minutes through the beautiful scenery of the South Tyne valley. The station at Alston provides a gift shop, toilets, refreshments and free coach parking.

3.00pm (30 minutes duration) - Re-join coach to travel to Acorn Bank. Coaches need to head back to Penrith and then east on A66 as access for coaches is tight. National Trust will provide a recommended route when booking a visit.

3.30pm (1.5 hour duration) – Visit Acorn Bank & Water Mill (available March to October). This National Trust garden is best known for its comprehensive herb collection and traditional fruit orchards, Acorn Bank is a tranquil haven with a fascinating industrial past. There are also traditional orchards with shrubs, herbaceous plants and roses. The house is ideal for an afternoon refreshment stop but there is limited parking for coaches. It is essential to pre-book a visit to Acorn Bank.

5pm – Leave for home or hotel.

Please note that it advisable that all group visits should pre-book with individual attractions.

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the details contained on this website are correct, GoLakes Travel cannot be held responsible for any error, omission or misrepresentation.

National Trust


At the heart of the Eden Valley, with spectacular views to the Lake District, Acorn Bank is a tranquil haven with a walled garden and an outstanding medicinal and culinary herb collection. The restored watermill works most weekends.


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