Cartmel grew up around the ancient Priory which was founded by the Augustine Monks back in 1190. Despite suffering at the hands of numerous marauding forces over the centuries, not least those of Cromwell, the Priory is in remarkable state of preservation and is a must for all visitors to Cartmel.
The village itself is a maze of streets, cobbled pavements and picturesque bridges, crossing the meandering streams that wind their way amongst the houses.
There are four pubs, all of them well worth visiting - and then re-visiting just to check the favourable impression they left the first time. Opposite the Priory you'll find Unsworth's Yard, an attractive courtyard in which you'll find shops selling fine wines, the BEST cheeses (at Cartmel Cheeses) and bread from the bakery. Nestled in the corner of the yard is a micro-brewery. Who could ask for more?
The historic market square, surrounded by centuries old houses and inns, is dominated by a medieval arch which was once the entrance to the Priory settlement. In the centre of the square are the ancient fish slabs. The village won a Silver Gilt Award from Britain in Bloom in 2012 - an accolade that demonstrates the loving care with which local residents treat their surroundings.
Cartmel is full of interesting shops, including the famous Village Shop - home of Cartmel sticky toffee pudding - antique shops, antiquarian books, and charming gift shops.
The Village Car Park is located within the racecourse, at the southern end close to the Village Shop. Bikes are available to hire from the car park - where you can also purchase ice creams and get information about other local attractions.
Within a short drive is the renowned beauty of the Lake District Nation Park, offering some of the most spectacular scenery in the country with opportunities for walking, sailing and sightseeing.