Cartmel is situated at the southern end of the Lake District Peninsula, very close to both the shores of Morecambe Bay and to Lake Windermere. It is one of the finest foodie villages in Britain and home to one of the country’s most unusual racecourses.
The village was established around the ancient Priory founded by 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 see destination 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 that is home to shops selling fine wines, local cheeses and artisan bread. 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.
Affirming Cartmel as a true racing and equestrian destination is the proximity of local racehorse trainer, Jimmy Moffatt who’s racing yard is located on the other side of the village with gallops climbing the steep side of Hampsfell. There is also a Friesian horse stud to the north of the village offering riding experience days.
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 office, where you can also find information about other local attractions.
Holker Hall & Gardens, the magnificent stately home that sits at the heart of the Holker Estate is within walking distance of Cartmel Village (approx 1.7 miles from the Village Car Park via Seven Acres field & Hole of Ellel) and offers a superb day out taking in the cultural history of the area, award-winning gardens, a well-stocked Food Hall & Gift Shop as well as Cafe and Brasserie.
Within a short drive of Cartmel 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.