Approx no. of meetings
Rail from London (3 hours including one change at Lancaster)
Bus from cark Station (15 minutes)
Railway station to Racecourse (5 miles)
Taxis (Need to book in advance)
Two set of small stands, Fair and stalls serving food, real ale, champagne, hospitality restaurants. One main tote in centre building and several mobile tote offices in both standard and paddock ticket areas
10 places to stay in Cartmel, but be aware that with fine dining in town by Simon Rogan, book early to avoid disappointment. If you don’t mind a cab ride, Newby Bridge (love the Knoll country house hotel) or Grange-Over-Sands are alternatives.
Two main ticket classes, discount in advance, the lower level has access to the funfair but no access to paddock to see the horses.
(1) Return After challenge complete
24th June – UK Tracks Visited (15)
Cartmel is something of an enigma. When people speak of the track when we have mentioned it on our travels, it is in either hushed tones of reverence or like some private secret only a few are allowed to know. The location is one of the challenges to start with. Located as it is at the bottom of the lake district, it is a pig to get to. No train within 5 miles, roads that are thinner than a junkies’ Septum and taxis that are frankly rarer than rocking horse droppings. It is also the home of sticky toffee pudding, which is brought up so often, I swear they are paying people to mention it. We should also say it is very good and
The Cartmel Village shop is right at the heart of both the business and the village.
But to get back to the course. We did a flying visit the day before the meeting to get the lay of the land. It is spectacular village in the middle of towering hills where this is just enough flatness for a racetrack. The track is a rare thing itself, with a finishing straight which cuts straight through the middle to bring the horses finally to the tiny grandstand and more expensive dining options.
So here is the problem, the place seems to operate like a local horse fair. We loved the family feel, the genuine interest in all things equine and an attempt to have a lot of fun. BUT, the viewing of the race is very difficult. One can see the repeater screens around the track, however you only get to see the race in person as it passes you by. If used to seeing racing from large arenas which are laid out specially for the purpose, it is normal to be able to track the horses for the entire race. The other odd thing about the meeting is the number of dogs that are present, something we have not seen at another track.
Don’t get me wrong, we did have a wonderful time, this is just a reflection of the event being a very different meet from the ones we have attended before. We met great people, as we often do, including the three guys we shared a table with in the Cavendish Arms (I felt sorry for their designated driver). We also loved the priory which has the only tower of its kind in the country. I don’t want to sound like advertising, but the Pig and Whistle is also both a great pub and a brilliant place for a taxi rendezvous.
My final reflection is that I would like to come back and do this on a really busy day (this is the first Friday meeting they had ever run and it was quieter than normal). If and when Madam and I do this (once the challenge is over) we will stay in town and hopefully sample some go Simon Rogan’s amazing cooking.
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