Alton Station

Alton, Staffordshire

Overview

Alton Station is nestled in the Churnet Valley on the outskirts of the village of Alton. Alton Towers with, amongst its other attractions, wonderful landscape gardens is a very short drive away.

  • Dogs AllowedDogs Allowed
  • CotCot
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • BathBath
  • Bath with ShowerBath with Shower
  • DishwasherDishwasher
  • MicrowaveMicrowave
  • ShowerShower
  • Washing MachineWashing Machine

Beds 2 Twin, 2 Double

Sleeps
8
4 nights from
£676 equivalent to £21.13 per person, per night

Remnants of railway glory 

Incorporating both the station and its Station Master's House, a stay at Alton means cooking in what was once the Ladies Waiting Room, dining in the main Waiting Room and showering in the Lamp or Porters' Room. The Ticket Office has become a double bedroom, while the Station Master's House includes a comfortable library and further bedrooms. During our original work on the house, a disused flue was found to have been blocked with porters’ waistcoats; and the plumbing at first produced a strange chuffing sound – perhaps a yearning for the sound and smell of great engines wreathed in steam.

Carefully restored amid beautiful scenery

The railway has gone; but in its heyday the platforms took 12-coach excursion trains from the Potteries. Its architect was probably H.A. Hunt, an architect-engineer who designed other stations on this line, which opened in 1849. Built by the North Staffordshire Railway (the ‘Knotty’) to a befitting standard for the Earl of Shrewsbury, then owner of Alton Towers, it stands in marvellous surroundings, both beautiful and interesting. Alton Castle, reconstructed by the Pugins, rises out of the trees across the valley of the Churnet. Alton Towers itself, with its famous garden and other attractions, lies immediately behind.

In late May 2022 we completed extensive conservation work to the station's Minton floor tiles and upgraded access, furniture and storage arrangements across the site. Discover the transformation and meet the people involved here.  

Floor Plan

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Map & local info

Alton Station is on the outskirts of the village of Alton, home to the world-famous Alton Towers Resort.

The disused Churnet Valley railway track is now a popular cycling route and there are a number of good walks through the surrounding villages. In the next door village is Denstone Hall Farm Shop and Cafe, an award-winning farm shop with extensive local produce, gift shop and cafe facilities.

Within a 20 minute drive is the market town of Ashbourne, southern gateway to the Peak District and close to the renowned beauty spot of Dovedale with its famed stepping stones.

The late 17th century Sudbury Hall, key location for the BBC's Pride and Prejudice and which also houses a Museum of Childhood, is full of delights to interest all ages. Admire the rich collections of pottery in the Wedgwood Museum and have a go at throwing your own pot at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery.  

A ride on the steam trains of the Churnet Valley Railway, based in nearby Froghall, and the Foxfield Railway, in Blythe Bridge, is a fun way to explore in style.

 

Discover local walks for dogs with our friends at Walkiees.co.uk, the dog walks community.

 

One of the joys of holidays can be sampling local food and drink. Champion of local suppliers, Big Barn, spotlights farm shops, butchers, breweries, markets and more across the UK in their interactive map. To source produce from the local area, visit their website, bigbarn.co.uk.

 

For more information on things to do during your stay at Alton Station, please see our Pinterest page.

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

Clear directions
Essential info
What you need to know about this building
  • No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • Yes. You are welcome to bring up to two dogs. A charge of £20 per stay is made for each dog. Please contact booking enquiries if you have an assistance dog, for which there is no charge.
  • From the main road, you will need to access the railway platform via a flight of steps.
  • Uttoxexter – 8 miles
  • Yes, 1 parking space although we do not have exclusive use of the space.
    There is one flight of steps down from the parking area to the Landmark
  • There are electric night storage heaters in the stationmaster's house and gas central heating in the waiting room. There is also a wood-burning stove in the waiting room.
  • Unfortunately, there is no arrangement for the purchase and delivery of logs, however details of local sources will be provided with your order confirmation.
  • To check up-to-date mobile network coverage in the area, visit signalchecker.co.uk.* Due to the location and structure of many of our buildings, signal strength may differ to those indicated. 
  • The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc.
    There is also an electric cooker and a dishwasher.
  • There are three bathrooms in total. There is one free standing shower and two baths both with hand-held showers.
  • The stairs in the property are steep.
  • The former platform is the only outside area at this property.
    A public footpath runs along the former track bed.
  • Yes the Stationmaster's House is a few feet across the platform to the accommodation in the Waiting Room.
Booking and Payment
  • If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • The key arrangements will be included in the Further Infomation document which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • If your stay starts more than two months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy and The Bunk House at Llwyn Celyn must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • Our housekeeper will leave the key in a suitable place, the details of which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!
Staying at a Landmark
  • Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.  Further information on access when visiting Lundy can also be found here.
  • Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control. A charge of £20 per stay is made for each dog. Please contact booking enquiries if a registered assistance dog is supporting one of the guests, for which there is no charge.
  • Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Arrival is from 4pm and departure is by 10am.
  • We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visiting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).
  • Landmark’s electrical systems have not been designed to provide continuous power from one socket over several hours.  If an ordinary socket is used to charge an electric vehicle, there is significant risk of an electrical fire and consequent danger to life.  Therefore, we are unable to allow electric vehicle charging from most of our Landmarks at present.

    We are working to provide Type 2 Electric Vehicle charge points at our properties where there is private parking.  Where this is available, please request this facility when booking the property to ensure the outlet is enabled on your arrival.  There is a small charge to cover the cost of electricity provided.  Please book this facility in advance.
  • No, we do not allow smoking in any Landmark.
Facilities
  • Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival. Except for the Llwyn Celyn Bunkhouse.
  • Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
    Except at Llwyn Celyn Bunk House where a password is available in the property when you arrive.
  • A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. Hairdryers are provided.
History

A station on the Churnet Valley Line

Alton Station was built in 1849 as part of the Churnet Valley branch line for the North Staffordshire Railway (NSR). The plans for the Churnet Valley Line had been laid in 1845, the first of the years of railway mania, but it was not begun until 1847 by which time improved methods of engineering and construction had been developed, and railway architecture was at its most inventive and attractive.

Unique Italianate style

The stations on the NSR were a particularly fine group, the majority being in a Tudor or Jacobean style, but with the odd appearance of Domestic, Rural and Italianate Styles. The NSR employed a London architect called Henry Arthur Hunt to design these stations for them. For a long time, the station was attributed to A.W. Pugin but Hunt seems the most likely candidate to have designed Alton Station, even though his other stations were Tudor or Jacobean. Conclusive evidence remains elusive and it is strange that Alton is unique among NSR stations in being Italianate in style.

Age of expansion

Alton had a temporary station when the line opened for passengers and freight on 13th July 1849. But in 1850 the main station buildings were ready to receive passengers. Most were day visitors who came in their droves from the pottery towns to visit the famous gardens at Alton Towers. Around 1880, the goods yard and sidings were enlarged and a 30 lever signal box built. In 1882 a separate booking office was added on to the rear of the waiting room and in 1884 £200 was spent on lengthening the platforms and building a special pathway leading from the platform to the road up to the Towers, known as The Avenues.

The branch line in decline

In 1924 Alton Towers itself was sold to a consortium that planned to run it as a full-scale public attraction and business on the line boomed. However, after nationalisation in 1948, the line began to decline and in 1960 passenger services on the line were cut to almost nothing. Four years later, as part of Dr Beeching’s overhaul, it was reduced to single track with total closure following in 1965. The stationmaster lived on in his house for a year or two, but the waiting room soon began to suffer from neglect and vandalism and Staffordshire County Council bought sections of the line with the station buildings in 1969. 

For a short history of Alton Station please click here.

To read the full history album for Alton Station please click here.

To download our children's Explorer pack for Alton Station please click here.

Restoration

Finding a new use

In 1970, having failed to find anyone locally to take on Alton Station, the County Planning Officer approached Landmark, who in 1972 took on the stationmaster’s house and the waiting room block. At the time, funds were only available to make the stationmaster’s house into Landmark accommodation. The house needed little work to make it habitable again. The only major change was to turn the kitchen into a third bedroom and to make a new, and combined, kitchen and dining room with an arch inserted between this and the sitting room, to make both rooms larger and lighter.

The waiting room was simply made sound, repainted in LMS colours and left to complete the picture until funds became available or some other use could be found for it. The station embarked on a new lease of life as an inspiring place to stay and since then thousands of people have enjoyed living in and learning about this remnant from the height of the Railway Age.

In 2008, the time had come for a thorough refurbishment of the accommodation. Landmark was able to make funds available to incorporate the waiting room block into the accommodation, turning the booking office into an additional bedroom, the ladies' waiting room into a new kitchen and the lamp or porters’ room into a shower room. New internal doors were made leading into the bedroom, kitchen and bathroom, registered in the floor tiling. Care was also taken to ensure that the external appearance of the waiting room block did not change, even where a door had to be blocked internally. All surviving original features have been retained: Minton tiles on the floor, interior finishes (the "panelling" is in fact plaster - for better wear), the shelving, hatch and ticket barrier associated with the booking office, the brackets for fire buckets and oil lamps outside. The London Midland and Scottish Railway colours, which had survived on the walls, have been repainted. In the stationmaster’s house, the kitchen was turned into a bathroom and the sitting room was made slightly smaller to allow for a corridor between, now that visitors also have the whole waiting room to enjoy.

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...


What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?
Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.