Cartmel Racecourse Guide

Welcome to our official guide to Cartmel Racecourse. In this section we explore this national hunt racecourse in detail, looking at its history, a guide to the track, the major races, hotel picks, fixtures, travel information, betting guides and even the weather!

Cartmel Races

Overview of Cartmel Races

Located in the south of the Lake District, Cartmel Racecourse is unapologetically a ‘holiday’ course; heavily patronised by tourists and those looking for a good day out.

A small National Hunt course, Cartmel Racecourse is situated in the small Cumbrian village of Cartmel, approximately equal distance from Kendal, Morecambe and Barrow-in-Furness.

The course hosts on average nine fixtures a year: primarily over Bank Holiday weekends to appeal to those visiting the area. One race fixture at Cartmel Racecourse even stretches out over five days – taking a day off in the middle to allow racegoers to visit the rest of the Lake District in the middle! Crowds tend to spend the whole day at the course, so there is rarely enough time to clear it up quick enough for several consecutive days of racing. This is a whole family day out, after all!

The track itself at Cartmel Racecourse is a left-handed and tight oval, with the six fences placing less emphasis on jumping than you might expect, although they do include an open ditch and water jump. The run-in after the final fence is half a mile, making it the longest in the UK and a great opportunity for the race to change hands – it certainly adds to some last-minute drama. The final run-in veers off and cuts the oval in half; an unusual shape for a UK track. Everyone that wins at Cartmel Racecourse gets a traditional Cartmel sticky toffee pudding to take home… so it’s worth chasing that win!

Cartmel Racecourse is thought of as small, and it is in terms of size, but it’s not unusual for it to be the third highest attended jumps course in the UK annually; behind only Aintree and Cheltenham. The relaxed atmosphere of the course means that you’ll often spot a fairground on the grounds and are more likely to hear children laughing, smell BBQ food and see people in jeans than you are to hear crowds jeering, smell that tell-tale horse odour and see people in suits.

The informal nature of Cartmel Racecourse adds to its charm and really makes the experience of visiting the venue different to that of any other.

Cartmel Racecourse is only active in the horseracing calendar across the summer months as it appeals to tourists, but the rest of the year is lauded as a popular and unique wedding venue for happy couples in the surrounding area to tie the knot at.

Cartmel Racecourse History

The earliest formal record of racing on-site at Cartmel Racecourse dates back to the 1800s, but documents from the nearby priory suggest that monks may have entertained themselves by racing mules much earlier. Until the second World War, Cartmel remained a small and little-known flats course, but when racing resumed, it switched to a National Hunt set-up and began to increase in popularity with both locals and holidaymakers alike.

It wasn’t, however, until the 1960s that the course began to attract professional jockeys and the efforts of Colonel Davy Pain and his course Clerk, Tom Riley, were rewarded with a formal racing schedule.

Cartmel hit headlines in 1974 when it became the venue for the attempted Gay Future fraud. This saw an Irish betting syndicate attempt to cheat bookmakers by presenting a poorly performing horse before the race; with the aim of lowering their expectations and raising the odds available. As a busy race day, Gay Future was used in a number of combination bets with two other horses – both of whom were withdrawn from racing before it happened. This saw the odds roll over on to Gay Future. The one phone line at the course was then kept purposely engaged to avoid calls from bookmakers off-site, and soap flakes rubbed into the horse’s legs to make it appear he was sweating. Gay Future won easily, but bookies refused to pay out until an enquiry was made. This enquiry, by Scotland Yard, uncovered the fraud and saw the leading syndicate members charged with conspiracy to defraud.

Cartmel Racecourse and its surrounding land have long been owned by the Holker Estate, where the Cavendish family still reside. Hugh Cavendish became a Director on the Board of Cartmel Racecourse in 1974 and in 1998, bought out the management team to develop it further under the guidance of his allies at Aintree. This has seen the course go from strength-to-strength, and it continues to grow in stature and service year-on-year.

Main Races and Events at Cartmel

The jewel in the crown of Cartmel Racecourse’s calendar is the Grand Veterans’ Chase, held each May in the second of the month’s Bank Holidays. Run across three miles and six furlongs, it features 20 horses and is for older horses – so frequently steals the hearts of those with a soft spot for older racers. It usually sells out at 20,000 capacity.

Cartmel Racecourse Map

Cartmel Racecourse Map
Courtesy of At The Races

The course is left-handed with tight turns. There are six fences per circuit but the track is quite speedy so good jumpers fair well.  The run-in  from the final jump is the longest in the UK.

Cartmel Racecourse Address

Cartmel Racecourse
LA11 6QF

How To Get To Cartmel Racecourse

  • By road – when travelling to by road, temporary events signage is usually in place for race days. However, for other events, you’re best to follow the road signs for Cartmel Priory and then rely on local signage closer to the venue.
  • By rail – the nearest rail station to the course is Cark-In-Cartmel, which is serviced by free shuttle buses on race days.

Recommended Hotels near Cartmel Racecourse

Accommodation in the area is more guesthouse and inn than chain hotel, and options include The Cavendish Arms Hotel, The Cartmel Grammar Country House and the Priory Hotel. We recommend checking availability and cost via

What Are The Best Online Cartmel Betting Sites?

If you are looking to bet online we recommend the following great deals:

  • bet365 Racing

    Bet365 Horse Racing

    New Customers Only. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply

  • Betfred Racing

    Betfred Horse Racing
    BET £10 GET £30 IN BETS

    New UK & NI customers only. 18+. Sign up using promo code ‘SPORTS60’. Deposit & place first sports bet at a minimum of £10 in one bet transaction at evens (2.0) +. £30 paid in free bets within 48 hours of bet settlement, expires 7-days after issue. Doesn’t apply to customers who place their first bet on the Virtual Grand National. E-Wallet & Prepaid Card restrictions apply. Your first bet must be settled within 60 days of bet placement. SMS validation may be required. Game restrictions apply. Maximum 30 Free Spins on selected games. Free Spins expire after 7 days. Full T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply

  • Coral Racing

    Coral Horse Racing

    18+ New UK+IRE customers. PayPal and certain deposit and bet types excluded. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £5 free bets valid for 7 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply

  • Ladbrokes Racing

    Ladbrokes Horse Racing

    18+ New UK+IRE customers. Paypal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded. Min £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 4 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. Full T&C's Apply

  • William Hill Racing

    William Hill Horse Racing Logo
    BET £10 GET £30 IN FREE BETS

    New William Hill online customers only. Min. unit stake of £10/€10 at odds of 1/2 or greater. Only the “win” part from EW bets will count. Free bet terms, payment method & country restrictions apply. Free bets credited as 3 x £10/€10. Free bet stakes are not returned as part of the settlement of successful free bets. All Free Bets must be wagered within 30 days. Full T&C's Apply

  • Unibet Racing

    Unibet Horse Racing Logo

    New customers only. 18+, Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus. Wagering requirements: Sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), Casino 25x. Only one bonus can be used at a time, Sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the Casino, unless the bonus has been forfeited. Bonus will expire after 7 days of opt-in. Full T&C's Apply

Betting Shops Local to Cartmel Racecourse

Tote facilities and independent bookies can be found on-site at Cartmel. The rural nature of the course means you won’t find any betting shops nearby and aren’t guaranteed a decent mobile signal – so if you want to bet with a specific brand, you’ll need to do so in advance.

Cartmel Weather Forecast

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 Cartmel:


Other Events Held at The Track

The management team at Cartmel are working to develop it into an all-round entertainment and corporate hospitality venue and so new events are being added all the time. So far concert race days are proving very popular, with more to be announced for 2021.

Cartmel Racecourse Guide

Summary of Cartmel Races

A charming and chilled racecourse in the Lake District, Cartmel is popular with locals and also tourists visiting the area. A tight and quick track, with the longest run in the UK, the races are often well-run and have dramatic finishes. The racing is of decent quality but Cartmel is more commonly known for its great atmosphere and family-friendly feel. We would certainly recommend a weekend away exploring the stunning countryside and a visit to this charming and stunning course. Highly recommended.

Other Racecourses in UK and Ireland

Our team as of October 2020 have reviewed these racecourse that are also worth a visit:

Popular Questions

🏇 What is the address of Cartmel Races?

Cartmel Racecourse
LA11 6QF

🏇 How do you get to Cartmel Races?

  • By road – when travelling to by road, temporary events signage is usually in place for race days. However, for other events, you’re best to follow the road signs for Cartmel Priory and then rely on local signage closer to the venue.
  • By rail – the nearest rail station to the course is Cark-In-Cartmel, which is serviced by free shuttle buses on race days.