Guide to August Bank Holiday Weekend at Cartmel Racecourse: What you need to know about the UK’s most fun race meet

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It’s almost here! 

Thousands are expected to gather for Cartmel Racecourse’s August Bank Holiday celebration of racing and family fun.

Famous for its festival atmosphere, the extravaganza includes food and drink concessions, trade stands and a funfair, as well as the racing on Saturday 28 and Monday 30 August.

Racecourse director Geraldine McKay says: “You are allowed to do everything at Cartmel that you can’t do at any other racecourse – bring your own food and drink, have a barbeque, bring your own furniture and set up your own base camp.

“People come and set up and then pop into the village for a meal at a pub or to get some sticky toffee pudding and then come back.  It’s a unique atmosphere unlike any other race meeting.

“If you have been before, we welcome you back. And if you are just hearing about Cartmel Races for the first time, come and try it. There is nothing else quite like it.”

Highlights:
  • Cartmel Racecourse has a small racetrack which encircles the crowd so everyone is close to the action; there are no ‘out of sight’ points.
  • The course is one of the most picturesque in the country located just beyond the southern edge of the Lake District National Park and set in beautiful parkland next to Cartmel village.
  • There’s a funfair for kids big and small, which continues throughout the racing.
  • Go shopping at the trade stands and visit the food and drink concessions where you will find favourites such as local real ales, prime beef and venison burgers, crepes, fish and chips and sticky toffee pudding.
  • Make yourself at home – bring your own food, drink and barbeque, and feel free to set up your own camping furniture (there is a charge for gazebos and windbreakers).
  • Cartmel Racecourse loves dogs, bring them along too. (Please keep them on a lead and pick up after them.)
  • All winning jockeys, trainers and owners receive a Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding – leading to some fierce competition!
  • In keeping with the relaxed vibe many race-day visitors pop into Cartmel village next to the site to enjoy the popular local pubs and shops. The village is nationally famous for the restaurant L’Enclume which has two Michelin stars and Rogan & Co which has one Michelin star, as well as Cartmel Village Shop, home of the original Sticky Toffee Pudding.
  • A special service is held on the Sunday between the two fixtures, at Cartmel’s 800-year-old priory, giving thanks for the racehorse. Local trainer Jimmy Moffatt usually brings a couple of his racehorses to the priory door to meet the public.
The Races:
  • Seven races a day, with the Cartmel Cup on Saturday 28 August and the Season Finale on Monday 30 August
  • The sixth race on Saturday is the Cartmel Cup a class three hurdle race.
  • Monday has three class two races.
  • Monday includes the Peter Beaumont Memorial Handicap Steeple Chase at 3.30pm. Peter was a racehorse trainer and his daughter Anthea Leigh is Cartmel’s clerk of the course – and was the first woman to ride over Grand National fences at Aintree.
  • On Saturday 28 they go at: 2.50pm, 3.25pm, 4pm, 4.35pm, 5.15pm, 5.50pm, 6.20pm
  • On Monday 30 they go at: 2.20pm, 2.55pm, 3.30pm, 4.05pm, 4.45pm, 5.20pm, 5.55pm
  • Gates open at 9am and they close at 8pm on Saturday and 7pm on Monday
Stay:
  • Many people make a long weekend of it and stay in the area. There are lots of hotels and B&Bs to choose from. See ‘plan your visit’ at www.cartmel-racecourse.co.uk
  • There are four camping areas at the racecourse, plus space for caravans and motorhomes but they fill up quickly. You can find out more at the racecourse website.
Getting there:
  • Leave the M6 at junction 36 and take the A590 towards Barrow until you reach the turn off for High Newton. Follow the yellow event signs.
  • The closest train station is Cark-in-Cartmel.  Taxis will be in demand so book early.
  • There is parking on site, for details and booking please see ‘plan your visit’ on the racecourse website.
Safety:
  • The parkland is graced by some beautiful ancient oak trees. It’s not a good idea to sit beneath or climb on them as they can break.
  • Children love paddling in the beck which meanders through the Paddock Enclosure, please keep an eye on them to make sure everyone stays safe. The beck is not suitable for washing up or drinking as animals use it up and down stream.
  • There are First aid posts in the Paddock and Course enclosures.
Barbeques:
  • Barbeques are welcome. Please extinguish them 30 minutes before racing begins so that the horses aren’t affected by smoke.
  • Take care not to scorch the grass by using stones, and dispose of the barbeque in a metal bin when fully extinguished.
  • No gas barbeques or gas canisters
What to Wear:
  • Smart casual in the Paddock Enclosure, and shirts in all the enclosures. Otherwise dress for comfort and the weather. 
Covid:
  • This is an outdoor event. Visitors are asked to follow any Government guidelines in place at the time. Hand sanitiser will be available.  No restrictions are in place (at the time of writing).

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