Mini guide to Alton
Alton, in scenic North Hampshire, is a historic market town that was built around
a wealthy Saxon settlement. Nowadays, its prosperous reputation stems from the
success of its wool and brewing industries. The surrounding area, once home to
author Jane Austen, is famous for its tranquil and unspoilt countryside.
For a spot of history, take a trip to the beautiful St Lawrence Church. This
11th century building was the scene of the infamous Battle of Alton during the
civil war and it still bears the scars of its onslaught. Alton Abbey, situated
at Beech, is still home to monks of the Benedictine order; visitors are permitted,
but due reverence and respect for the building and its occupants must be observed.
In the town, there's an eclectic mix of historic buildings, modern shops and
Every Tuesday, the market town sees local traders set up to sell both old and
new wares in a traditional old fashioned English market. For those wanting some
more background on the town, there are guided walks from both the railway station
and the Tourist Information Centre.
The town has a wide range of restaurants serving food from every continent
and there's also a good selection of fast food. As to be expected in a small
rural town, the nightlife is quiet, and evenings in the local pubs, where the
atmosphere is warm and welcoming, are popular. For something more upbeat, nearby
Basingstoke has a typical large town night scene.
If you're a literature buff, take a trip to nearby Chawton and visit the building
that was once home to Jane Austen. Alternatively, head for Grayshott, where
the Grayshott Pottery factory gives you a fascinating insight into the production
of all manner of earthenware.
The M3 is the main motorway serving the area. The town sits on the A31 with
access also available from the A339. Heathrow, Gatwick and Southampton international
airports are the closest international connections.
Selection of hotels in this region:
The Swan Hotel
Click below for a
full list of hotels and online booking