Carlisle Racecourse Guide

Welcome to our official guide to Carlisle Racecourse. We explore this racecourse in detail, looking at its history, a guide to the two tracks, the major races, hotel picks, fixtures, travel information, betting guides and even the weather!

Carlisle Racecourse Guide

Overview of Carlisle Racing

Records of racing in Carlisle date back to 1559, and the city continues to enjoy a successful racing scene today. One of just two racecourses in Cumbria, Carlisle Racecourse is home to one of the oldest horse races in the UK.

Carlisle Racecourse hosts both flat racing and jumps racing, with the latter taking place through the summer and the latter through the winter. Located about four miles south of the cathedral city of Carlisle in the village of Blackwell, Carlisle Racecourse has sat on its current site since 1904 and now has a capacity of 16,000. It is one of just two racecourses in the county of Cumbria, alongside the small course of Cartmel.

A long-standing fixture in the British horseracing calendar, Carlisle Racecourse has made history several times but notably is known as the home of Totepool betting!

In 1929, Totepool windows opened for business at the course and quickly moved on to become a national success, with kiosks and pool betting facilities at every racecourse in the UK.

The track at Carlisle Racecourse measures just over a mile and a half and is best described as pear-shaped. It’s a right-handed course, galloping in nature, with a steep uphill finish of over three furlongs. The turns at Carlisle Racecourse are easy, but stamina is required because of the climbs and often heavy going. Carlisle Racecourse is particularly popular as a National Hunt course with trainers from all over the country.

Carlisle Racecourse hosts a variety of fun and informal race days with accessible low-cost entry tickets, all of which are popular with locals and those from further afield, opening up horseracing to an audience who may not normally be able to attend.

Carlisle Racecourse History

Racing at Carlisle was hosted at nearby Swift before it moved to the current Blackwell site, and records begin here back in 1559. Whilst history on racing in the area before then remains hazy, but it was this year that The Carlisle Gold Bell was donated by Lady Dacre and presented to a race winner for the first time, alongside a smaller (and lesser known) bell inscribed with HBMC, the name of the then-Mayor of Carlisle, Harry Baines.

The Carlisle Gold Bell is inscribed with ‘The sweftes horse thes bel to take for mi lade Daker sake’, which translates to modern day English as ‘The swiftest horse may claim this bell in Lady Dacre’s name’. It continues to be given away as a prize for an annual race even today, making it one of the UK’s oldest, and most prestigious, races.

The bells themselves were thought to be lost or stolen for many years, but were discovered in a box in the Town Clerk’s Office in the late 19th century!

Carlisle Racecourse moved to its current home in 1904, and gained popularity quickly; requiring a grandstand to be constructed within a couple of years of opening. The course was most recently refurbished in 2002 with state-of-the-art hospitality facilities and a new up-to-date grandstand to accommodate the growing crowds of racegoers and fans.

Main Races and Carlisle Events

Undoubtedly, the biggest and most popular race at Carlisle Racecourse is the oldest – the Carlisle Gold Bell! Still held annually at Carlisle Racecourse in June alongside the Cumberland Plate, the race is run over 7 furlongs and 173 yards, and although the Bell is presented ceremoniously to the winner, it’s actually kept in the nearby Carlisle Guildhall Museum. The Carlisle Bell has only twice been amended – with it being run in Thirsk in 2001, and cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Carlisle Racecourse Map


Carlisle Flat Course

The flat track is right handed and galloping. It is often described as “pear-shaped” and is 12 furlongs course (a mile and a half) around. It has a stiff uphill climb to the finish of just over three furlongs. When the ground becomes testing, jockeys inevitably switch to the better ground on the stand side by swinging wide into the home-straight.

Carlisle Jumps Track

The jumps course is right handed and undulating as well. It is known as a stiff track with 3-furlong climb to the line. Fences are known as being easy. Often the ground is heavy in the winter months.

Racecourse Address

Carlisle Racecourse
Durdar Road

How To Get To Carlisle Racecourse

  • By car – Carlisle Racecourse is located just off the M6, south of the city of Carlisle. The postcode works on sat nav systems (a rarity!) and parking is free on race days – the official postcode is, Carlisle, Cumbria – CA2 4TS. Trackside parking can be booked on selected race days at an advance rate of £10 per car.
  • By bus – buses to and from the racecourse operate on race days from Lowther Street; just opposite Carlisle railway station. A return ticket is priced at £2 (at time of writing). On non-race days, the course is served by local buses.
  • By train – Carlisle rail station is a major stop on the West Coast mainline, sitting 100 miles south of Edinburgh.

Hotels near Carlisle Racecourse

Blackwell is small that there aren’t accommodation options in the village itself, but there are some hotels nearby. The closest options are two budget hotels: the Premier Inn Carlisle M6 and Crossroads House. A little further afield and into the city of Carlisle, more upmarket options include the Dalston Hall Hotel, The Crown & Mitre, The Halston and Abberley House. For the best rates and up to date info check out:

Best Carlisle Races Betting Sites

At British Racecourses we often recommend betting online and via apps. This is because you can often get the best odds, great offers when signing up and you can place bets quickly and safely without having to queue.

If you are looking to bet online we recommend the following great deals with some amazing offers for new customers:

Betting Shops Local to Carlisle Racecourse

Carlisle Racecourse is the home of the Tote, and there is, unsurprisingly, Totepool facilities throughout the course offering all six Tote bets: win, place, exacta, trifecta, quadpot and placepot. An on-course betting shop is also open on race days for anyone looking to have a ‘flutter’. Independent bookmakers can be found in the main enclosure. Nearby Carlisle is a city, so has the usual branches of chain bookies you’d expect (Coral, Ladbrokes, Betfred, William Hill), and most suburbs of the city have a bookmakers too.

Carlisle Weather

Punters and race-goers love to keep up with the weather to predict going conditions, as well as making sure what they wear is suitable. Here’s the current weather forecast for Carlisle:

Other Events

Carlisle Racecourse hosts a packed calendar of both flat and jump races but strives to make racing of all types accessible for the community around them. Some of their most popular and well-attended events, therefore, are the low-cost and family events that blend novelty and fun ‘family-day-out’ type activities with racing. These include Steak Nights, Youth Race Days and a themed Christmas Jumper Day!

Carlisle Races

Summary of Carlisle Races

Carlisle is hardy, tough and fun track. Known for its demanding home straight and uphill finish it hosts racing throughout the year in its beautiful rural surrounding. Known as a track where stamina is needed in reserves, the fences are easy and the racing competitive. With good customer service it is loved by locals and those from further afield, its a track certainly worth a visit.

Other Racecourses in the UK and Ireland

Our team as of April 2021 have reviewed these racecourse that are also worth a visit: