Cartmel is a National Hunt racecourse in Cumbria, North West England. Although only host to six days racing a year, it attracts large crowds, especially on the Bank Holiday meets, where spectators can take cars into the middle of the course and pick a spot to view the race from. Many choose to take picnics or BBQs with them and make a day out of the events which also feature a market and funfair.
Cartmel is one of the most picturesque racecourses in the whole of Britain, set in the quaint village of Cartmel which is one of the oldest
villages in the Lake District, dating back to the 12th century. Horse racing has taken place on this course since 1856 but some record books show evidence that racing was held here even earlier.
Cartmel is famous for being the scene of the ‘Gay Future Coup’, dramatised in 1979 TV movie ‘Murphy’s Stroke’. In 1974, Scottish trainer Antony Collins, entered his horse ‘Gay Future’ into a race at Cartmel. He initially presented a different, poor-performing horse as ‘Gay Future’. This act of deceit lowered the expectations of the horse and thus raised the odds offered by the bookmakers. A syndicate had placed double and triple wagers at off-course bookies on all horses entered by Collins. When two of the horses were withdrawn, these bets would rollover onto Gay Future. When the race approached, the horse was swapped and the real ‘Gay Future’ won easily. With the bookmakers suspicious, the police’s attention was drawn to the affair, the syndicate were convicted of attempted fraud and the members were fined.
Major Races and Events
Cartmel plays host to six days of racing a year and their major event is the Tetley’s Barbecue Day, which takes place in 2008 on the 17th July. The other six races are held in Spring and Summer. The first race of the year for 2008 is Ladies Night on Saturday 24th May and is an evening meet, with the first race at 5.50pm. Further meets are held on the last Monday in May and August every year. There are occasionally meets in between these dates but they differ from year to year. It is best to check the dates and times of meets on the course’s website.
Tickets can usually be bought at the entrance for all meets, especially if you want to go on the course. If you prefer to book in advance, you can order tickets online at here or by telephoning the course on 01539 536340.
Ticket prices for May and August meets are £18 for adults in the paddock and £9 on the course. In July, the price is £13. There is a discount for Senior Citizens and children under 16 enter for free. To park on the course there is a charge of £2 per car, paddock parking is free. Should you wish to take a gazebo for your picnic, they will charge you £10 and you cannot put it up on along the home straight or within 10 metres of a jump.
- Leave the M6 at Junction 36 and follow the A591 then the A590 towards Barrow in Furness for about 10 miles.
- Cartmel racecourse is easy to find by Car on race-days as there are yellow road signs directing you.
- The last few miles to Cartmel are along narrow country lanes. On race-days they can be very congested so be sure to give yourself enough time to reach the course.
You can reach Cartmel by train if you head for Cark-in-Cartmel station. The course is served by a shuttle bus from here on race days. You can also get the train to Grange-over-sands, although reaching the course from here is a little trickier, requiring a public bus or taxi.
Tel: 015395 36340
Fax: 015395 36004