Shepherd's huts near Alton with a private bathroom

Family-friendly Alton is a quiet jumping-off point for an exploration of the wider West Midlands.

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99% (50 reviews)

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Shepherd's huts near Alton with a private bathroom guide


Not to be confused with the home of Jane Austen in Hampshire, Alton in Staffordshire—close to Stoke-on-Trent, Derby, and Birmingham—is a historic village that’s known for the popular Alton Towers theme park, the gothic revival Alton Castle, and a wealth of other historic buildings. A quieter alternative to nearby towns and cities, Alton offers parochial peace and quiet within driving distance of the Malvern Hills, Sherwood Forest, and more. Campers have options here too, from low-key campsites to full-service touring parks with electric hookups.

Where to go

Shropshire Hills AONB

Choose from glamping pods, campgrounds, or full-service caravan parks close to this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty situated on the Wales-England border. The Shropshire Hills AONB is known for rolling hills, working farms, and acres of woodland which can be explored on foot, by bike, or on horseback. Watersports fans are catered to as well, as you can also go canoeing in this inland beauty spot.

Cannock Chase

This Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, just 45 minutes from Alton, is a family-friendly destination that boasts treetop adventure rope courses, horseback riding opportunities, and a network of accessible footpaths and cycling routes for laidback woodland exploration. Set up camp in the AONB proper or opt for a caravan park, glamping site, or campground nearby to make the most of this underrated West Midlands destination.

Peak District National Park

Straddling the border between Derbyshire and West Yorkshire, the Peak District National Park is a walker’s ideal destination that’s also home to watersports spots (like Tittesworth Reservoir), mountain biking trails, and former spa towns such as Buxton and Bakewell. Campers have plenty of options here too, from back-to-basics campgrounds overlooking heather-clad hillside to private caravan parks and glamping sites.

When to go

Like most of the UK, the best time to visit Alton is during the sunnier summer months when it’s warmer. However, spring is also fantastic in this region, as seasonal wildflowers start to bloom and there are fewer crowds. Autumn is a good option for campers who don’t mind the cold or for caravanners looking to make the most of down season prices. Just come prepared for year-round rainfall in this part of the world.

Know before you go

  • Alton is home to the eponymous Alton Towers theme park, a great family-friendly destination that gets extremely busy during the school holidays (Easter, July, and August). Visit midweek and outside of these dates for a quieter experience.
  • Alton is a small village and, as such, doesn’t have the camping and outdoor supply stores of nearby Stoke-on-Trent or Derby. Stock up before setting up camp in Alton.
  • There’s no train station in Alton, so it’s best to arrive by car or the X41 bus. The closest train station is in nearby Uttoxeter.

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