Welcome to Alton

Alton is a warm and welcoming vibrant north Hampshire town which truly has a community spirit at its heart. Situated at the source of the River Wey and enjoying a rural backdrop at the gateway to the South Downs National Park, Alton is known by many as “Jane Austen Country” with its close ties to its charming neighbouring parish of Chawton home to Jane Austen’s House Museum and Chawton Library.

The largest settlement in East Hampshire, the town also has its own heritage attraction the Mid Hants Railway Watercress Line as well as being well known for the civil war Battle of Alton in 1643, the murder of Fanny Adams in 1867 and also home to the Allen Gallery and Curtis Museum.

Staying within the town, visitors will find a variety of shops from national chain stores to local independent retailers. When it comes to dining out and socialising, Alton offers a wide choice of cafes, restaurants, bars and quintessentially English pubs to choose from, all located within easy walking distance of the town centre.

With plenty to see and do in and around Alton, the town serves as a convenient base to explore the local area. With so many villages within a few miles of Alton, visitors can take in the breathtaking views and the rich heritage of the region, and also sample the diverse range of locally produced food and drink which can also be experienced at the Alton Farmers’ Market every second Saturday of the month in the High Street.

Please click here for the new 2017/18 Pocket Guide to Alton, to discover the History of the Town, Where to Eat, Walk, Shop and Stay as well as Days out for the whole family.   


Alton's Museums

The Curtis Museum, situated at the top of the High Street houses one of the finest local history collections in Hampshire, exploring 100 million years of history. Displays include prehistoric tools, Roman pottery reconstruction, Saxon burials, the Battle of Alton in 1643 and Alton’s hop picking and brewing heritage. It is also home to the internationally renowned Alton Buckle and Selborne Cup.

The local studies area contains a wealth of information about the local area, its buildings and people. The gift shop sells many local books and publications alongside gifts and postcards.

The nearby Allen Gallery is an intimate setting for one of the South’s most outstanding ceramics collections, with English, continental and oriental pottery, porcelain and tiles from 1250 to the present day. There are regular special exhibitions of art, crafts, photography, local and natural history, local artists and the delightful watercolours and oil paintings of W H Allen. It also has a comfortable café serving locally made cakes and a charming walled garden providing a peaceful retreat in the middle of Alton.

The Allen Gallery also has a delightful gift shop which stocks a range of greetings cards and gifts produced by local artists and craftspeople.


Shopping in Alton

Alton is an historic North Hampshire town, situated at the entrance to the South Downs National Park, boasting an extensive range of national high street chain stores and unique, independent local shops. There is short stay free parking on the High Street spaces and longer stay pay and display in a number of well positioned car parks with good accessibility to the shops.

Whether you want to watch the world go by over a cup of coffee, browse for quirky gifts or buy your day-to-day essentials, Alton has shops to cater for all your requirements.

Historically the town was well known for its markets and still holds the regular Tuesday market each week in the main High Street. In addition, the second Saturday of the month offers local produce from Hampshire Farmers’ Markets alongside the local Lions Craft Market held in the Square.

Many shops are in historic buildings, and if you look a bit harder, you can sneak a look behind the brick façades to see the old-world timber-framed buildings.In the Market Square, a visit to Prezzo will allow you to look up into the back part of the old High Street bakery building. Or if you visit  Bottega dei Sapori, the Italian coffee shop in the High Street, you can sit in their hidden garden and admire the timber buildings lining the back of Crown Hill.

There are many other hidden gems around the town if you have the time to explore, or you could join the Town Guides who meet on the third Saturday of the month outside the Curtis Museum at 11am offering an escorted walking tour around Alton.

You’ll find the Curtis Museum and Allen Gallery both have local gifts to buy, along with a number of other lifestyle shops in the town centre. Alton also boasts a wide range of supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Marks and Spencers,Waitrose, Iceland, Tesco Express, Co-op and Aldi - or for those who prefer a more traditional approach to shopping there is a greengrocer, butcher, traditional hardware shop, florist, toy shop, sweet shop, newsagents and post office.

The main High Street also offers a number of well-known household brand names which sit alongside a number of unique boutique shops selling objets d’art, jewellery, rare books, vintage and designer clothes, decorative pieces, crafts and paintings.