Cartmel Racecourse Guide

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Welcome to our official guide to Cartmel Racecourse.

We explore this stunning national hunt racecourse in detail, looking at its history, a guide to the quirky track, the major races, top hotel picks, current fixtures, travel information and betting guides.

Cartmel is a lake district race course attraction that attracts horse racing fans to the small national hunt racecourse in the village of Cartmel, now in the ceremonial county of Cumbria, historically in Lancashire.

If you are looking for the latest betting tips for Cartmel, check out our full guide to Cartmel Racecourse tips.

Find out more about Cartmel Racecourse:


Cartmel Racecourse

Overview of Cartmel Racecourse

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 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 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 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 Races

Cartmel Racecourse History

The earliest formal record of racing on-site at Cartmel 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 (beautiful English Lake District) 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 Racecourse

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 Race Course Map

Below is a map of Cartmel Racecourse:

Cartmel Racecourse Map
Courtesy of At The Races

Cartmel 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

The address of Cartmel Racecourse is:

Cartmel Racecourse
LA11 6QF

How To Get To Cartmel Racecourse

The ways to get to Cartmel Racecourse are:

  • By road – when travelling 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. Details for your sat nav is Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria LA11 6QF
  • By rail – the nearest rail station to the course is Cark-In-Cartmel, which is serviced by free shuttle buses on race days.

Hotels near Cartmel Racecourse

Hotel near Cartmel are more guesthouses and inns rather than chain hotels, options include The Cavendish Arms Hotel, The Cartmel Grammar Country House and the Priory Hotel.

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 Races 2024

Here is the horse racing calendar for Cartmel Races in 2024:


Check out our guide for the full list of UK horse race fixtures in 2024.

Cartmel Races Tickets

If you are looking to buy tickets for Cartmel races you can do this either on the gates or in advance via their official website. In doing this, you can also get discounts and great early bird offers.

Cartmel Racecard and Cartmel Tips

The racecards for Cartmel races will be released the day before the races are set to happen. You can view full racecards in advance, check out – horse racing cards tomorrowandhorse racing cards today. In these, you will get an advance look at all the runners, trainers, form and riders.

You can also of course purchase a Cartmel race card from the track which carries much of the same useful information. Many like to keep these as souvenirs, especially from major horse racing events.

Other Events Held at Cartmel

The management team at Cartmel are working to develop it into an all-around 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

Popular Questions

✅Where is Cartmel racecourse?

Cartmel is a racecourse in the Lake District, Grange-Over-Sand, Cumbria, LA11 6QF.

✅How do you get to Cartmel Races?

The best ways to get to Cartmel races are:

  • 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.

✅How many people attend Cartmel races?

The largest crowds at Carteml can be just over 20,000 on one day.

✅Who owns Cartmel Racecourse?

Cartmel Racecourse is owned by the Holker Estate, home to the Cavendish family.

✅Where can I stay near Cartmel Racecourse?

There are lots of great places to start near Cartmel including:

  • The Cavendish Arms Hotel
  • The Cartmel Grammar Country House
  • The Priory Hotel

Summary of Cartmel Racecourse

A charming and chilled racecourse sat against the backdrop of the beautiful 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.