Situated at Blackwell in Cumbria just south of Carlisle, Carlisle racecourse is a thoroughbred horse racing venue which hosts national hunt races from September to April and flat and jump meetings between April and August each year. Set in the Cumbrian countryside, the course offers picturesque scenery and a range of facilities alongside prestigious racing all year round.
Carlisle has a rich history of horse racing dating back to the sixteenth century. In 1599, during the reign of Elizabeth I, the Carlisle Bell was first raced, referring to the bells which were originally awarded to the winning horses of the race during
the Elizabethan era, a meeting which continues to be popular in today’s racing calendar. Carlisle’s racecourse was originally situated at Swift, moving to Blackwell in 1904 with the course’s first grandstand built shortly after. In 1929 a Tote betting system was launched at Carlisle, the first Tote to be established on a British racecourse.
During the 1960s extensive developments were made to the course to make it suitable for night racing with the addition of a new grandstand to accommodate the increasing number of spectators to the sport. Also of note is Carlisle’s first ladies race, held in 1974 and Red Rum’s performance at Carlisle, which famously saw him win the September meeting which preceded each of his three wins at the Grand National. The facilities at Carlisle have been developed further in recent years, most notably with the Jubilee Grandstand in 2002 which offers equine enthusiasts a luxurious racing experience. A big screen has also been built opposite the main grandstand which broadcasts close-up action of every race.
The racecourse at Carlisle has two undulating tracks suitable for flat, jump and national hunt races. The flat and jump course (currently shared) is a right-handed pear-shape which covers a distance of 1 mile, 4 furlongs. The national hunt track is a right-handed circuit which covers a distance of 1 mile, 5 furlongs.
The highlights of Carlisle’s annual programme of races are:
Bell and Plate Day: The most prestigious racing day in Carlisle’s calendar, the Bell and Plate Day is held at the end of June and features the £30,000 Carlisle Bell and Carlisle Plate races which date back to the sixteenth century.
Easter Saturday: A popular race day held on the Saturday before Easter, the event features a handicap chase which is broadcast on national television every year.
Countryside Day: Designed as a family event, countryside day features a steeplechase, border hound trailing and the Coors Cumberland Handicap Chase which, at £40,000, is the most valuable meeting on the racing calendar.
Tickets can be bought online at the following prices:
- Premier Enclosure: £18 (dress code: smart casual)
- Grandstand & Paddock: £13
- Grandstand & Paddock (OAP) £8
- Feature Meeting Premier (Ladies Night, Music Night and Bell & Plate) £20
- Feature Meeting Grandstand & Paddock: £5
- Feature Meeting Grandstand & Paddock (OAP) £10
- Under-16 (if accompanied by an adult) Free
Carlisle Racecourse is easily accessed by road or public transport.
By Road: Approaching Carlisle from the north or south leave the M6 at Junction 42 and follow signs to Dalston. After approximately two miles, turn right at the staggered junction and the racecourse will soon become visible on the left-hand side.
From the north east take the A69 or A66 to the M6 and leave the M6 at Junction 42, following signs to Dalston. After approximately two miles, turn right at the staggered junction and the racecourse will soon become visible on the left-hand side.
From the west take the A595 towards Carlisle. Continue straight at the Thursby roundabout and after approximately one mile turn right, following signs for Dalston. Continue into Dalston and at the T-junction turn right. At the Bridge End pub turn left over the bridge and follow signs for Durdar. At the next junction turn left and after a mile the race course should become visible on the left-hand side.
By Public Transport: Carlisle train station is situated in the city centre, approximately two miles from the racecourse. Taxis are easily available from the train station or alternatively take bus numbers 65 or 66 from the city centre, which stop in close proximity to the racecourse.
Parking: There is free parking on racedays opposite the Grandstand.
For information about races or for general enquiries contact:
Carlisle Racecourse, Durdar Road, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA2 4TS
Tel: 01228 554 700
Fax: 01228 554 747