Recently I went to the last race day of the season at Cartmel. As I love horses, it was a foregone conclusion I’d enjoy myself. However, lots of aspects of the day combined to make it a wonderful, all-round experience.
I had almost as much fun viewing the race goers as I did watching the horses. Having lovely weather certainly helped, but it was the excitement of the races and, yes, I had a flutter and won a bet on one of the races – that was the jam on top!
I came away with the idea that there are five basic “must do’s” at Cartmel Racecourse, so thought I’d share them with you.
First of all, buy a ticket for the paddock enclosure. There is raised seating outside the Grandstand and you get a better view – especially if you’re not so tall. They’re reasonably priced (£20) and you’re able to see the horses parading around before and after the races so you feel more part of the racing. (General tickets only allow you outside the racetrack, with a more limited view.)
Secondly, for a closer view of the racecourse, buy a ticket for the paddock car park. This gets you a large designated parking space with room to have a trackside picnic.
Thirdly, if you want to go to town, family groups or businesses can book hospitality on the Grandstand’s first floor. As well as top class catering, these afford you the best view of the racing, from the balcony or inside. You can make it quite the occasion and dress up – who says Ascot has it all?
Fourthly, have a minibreak and use the day between race days to explore Lakeland. Plenty of attractions lie within easy reach: Holker Hall, Lakeland Motor Museum, the Predator Experience (birds of prey and wolves) and, for something a little different, Lakeland Segway. Also, there’s beautiful 800 year old Cartmel Priory within the village. For more information about Cartmel see www.visitcumbria.com/sl/cartmel/. For places to stay, try the nearest Tourist Information Centre, in pretty Grange-over-Sands (tel. 015395 34026).
Lastly, take a punt on one or two races and cheer your horses on! The main on-course bookmakers have stands in rows, dotted around the course. These give the odds when you place your bet, so you know what your winnings would be. Then there’s the Tote Pool which has booths separate from everyone else. With them the precise odds aren’t known until after the race when, the pool is divided between the winners.
Well, those are my five Cartmel Racecourse tips! I had a fabulous day out and will definitely go back next year. There are no more races this year, but next year’s meeting dates are already out.
That’s it for now. Wishing you all good and happy times.
Travel to Cartmel by car, bus or train. The nearest railway station is Cark and Cartmel and is in Cark rather than Cartmel – there is a bus from there to Cartmel (no. 532). Trains run via Lancaster, Barrow and Carlisle. For timetables, see here (buses) and here (trains).
Cartmel Racecourse: www.cartmel-racecourse.co.uk
Holker Hall: www.holker.co.uk
Lakeland Motor Museum: www.lakelandmotormuseum.co.uk
Predator Experience: www.predatorexperience.co.uk
Lakeland Segway: www.lakelandsegway.co.uk
Cartmel Priory: www.cartmelpriory.org.uk
More about Cartmel: www.visitcumbria.com/sl/cartmel/ Tourist Information Centre is at Victoria Hall, Main Street, Grange-over-Sands, LA11 6DP, tel. 015395 34026 2017 racing fixtures: www.cartmel-racecourse.co.uk/news/104/15/2017-Fixture-List-is-Published/ Bus timetables: www.cumbria.gov.uk/roads-transport/public-transport-road-safety/transport/publictransport/busserv/timetables/southlakeland.asp Train timetables: www.tpexpress.co.uk/train-destinations/cark-and-cartmel/overview/