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Though small, the village of Cartmel has a huge amount on offer. A foodie paradise, it sits between Morecambe Bay and the edge of the Lake District, opening up all sorts of opportunities. But you may find so much to do in the village itself that you don’t even need to head further afield! Find what you fancy in our Cartmel Area Guide.
View our holiday cottages in and around Cartmel above.
For a small village, Cartmel is full of delicious delights and it’s home to not one, but two Michelin-starred restaurants! L’Enclume, the only Cumbrian restaurant to have two stars, offers understated elegance as well as farm tours so you know exactly where your food is coming from. Rogan & Co provides exquisite food in a ‘relaxed neighbourhood restaurant’.
If you’re after something a little more budget friendly, there are several good cafes and pubs that serve anything from seasonal meals to a good cup of coffee.
A day at the races
Cartmel Racecourse is iconic of the village. Backed by the Lakeland fells, it stages only National Hunt (jump) racing on a sharp and narrow left-handed oval. Its nine annual events are something of a party, with a funfair and live music acts that include big names like David Gray and Tom Jones.
Sweet and savoury treats
It’s worth a trip to the village just for a taste of the world-famous Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding! Created in the back room of the village shop 30 years ago, it’s a forever favourite with dessert lovers and still handmade in small batches. Nowadays there are also lots of other iterations for you to try. From sticky chocolate pudding to sticky toffee ice cream made with English Lakes ice cream, there’s something for all weathers!
If you prefer your treats savoury instead, then don’t miss a trip to Cartmel Cheeses. Stocking handpicked artisan cheeses from around the world, as well as a deli range, this place is a turophile’s dream (that’s a cheese-lover to you and me!). If you simply can’t get enough, why not sign up for a Cheese Club subscription and get your monthly fix delivered directly to your door?
Having lived through raids, pestilence, and the dissolution of the monasteries, Cartmel Priory has plenty of stories to tell! This imposing building is over 800 years old and is still active today as a place of worship or somewhere to enjoy a bit of quiet contemplation. Head there to take in the unique architecture, listen out for the ringing of the bells, or attend a service.
Slightly outside of the village, you will find Holker Hall and Gardens where you can tour the gorgeous stately home, or admire the incredible gardens, which include formal areas alongside wild meadows. The estate also hosts a number of excellent events throughout the year.
Fancy a bit of retail therapy? Cartmel has a delectable range of independent shops for you to browse. From accent furniture to a ‘wine snug’, you’ll be reaching for your purse with delight! Ellie Heaven Designs (pictured) is a local illustrator who creates pretty, handcrafted keepsakes and cards, while you can pick up the ideal gift at Perfect English. Or why not head to Yew Tree Barn & Wilson Reclamation Services where you can browse antiques or the on-site blacksmith in between a tasty lunch at their in-house café!
A Friesian experience
Horse lovers will delight in the Friesian horse experiences at Greenbank Farm. This horse sanctuary for the beautiful breed offers a number of exciting experiences. Meet the horses and enjoy a photoshoot with them, gallop across the nearby sandy beaches (experienced riders only), or take a turn around Cartmel village on a carriage ride – you could even drive the carriage yourself around some quiet lanes!
Boasting the title of longest-running Segway tour company in the UK, Lakeland Segway is open all year round and offers you an unusual way of exploring the village and surrounding countryside. Hop on your two-wheeled machine for a bit of training and balance practice before zipping down quiet country lanes and past all the sights of the village.
Walks and bike rides
There are several good walking and cycling routes around Cartmel. By the coast are long sandy walks, and a lovely mile-long promenade at Grange-Over-Sands. Woodlands beyond the racetrack make for an enjoyable morning wander, or Eggerslack Woods is a tranquil spot with native trees, several public footpaths, and a network of informal paths.
Cartmel’s stunning position means you have the best of both the Lake District National Park and the sea. Morecambe Bay is an excellent place to enjoy long, sandy strolls, spectacular sunsets and exhilarating outdoor adventures. Why not pack a picnic and head to the beach for a day paddling in the water? Or walk the length of the bay at certain times of the year with the aid of a Queen’s Guide, who will help you navigate the quicksand. For even more excitement, try any one of the water and air activities available, which include windsurfing, kitesurfing and paragliding.
Grange-over-Sands is one of the smallest towns sitting on the shores of Morecambe Bay. Once a small fishing village, it grew when the Victorians discovered the benefits of its sea air thanks to the introduction of the railway. It became a popular seaside holiday destination whose appeal still remains today. A mile-long promenade provides an easy, flat walk, while nearby Hampsfield Fell provides a more challenging route with a reward of beautiful views at the top. When you’ve finished with your hike, don’t forget to stop off at Higginsons of Grange, an award-winning butchers & pie maker.
Windermere and the Lake District
Once you’ve thoroughly explored the village, you might fancy a day out in the Lakes. Windermere is your nearest lake and its 18km length offers up plenty of attractions. Bowness and Ambleside are the bustling hubs around the lake, while quieter areas such as Stott Park Bobbin Mill offer something a bit different. Hop on a cruiser to take you around the water and to the different stops that include Wray Castle and Lakes Aquarium.
The area around Cartmel is dotted with pretty, quaint villages that are a delight to wander around. Cark-in-Cartmel has pretty cottages lining the river, while Flookburgh is an ancient community that still revolves around fishing. You can often see large tractors scraping the nearby estuary sands for shrimp and cockles! Haverthwaite is the start of the Haverthwaite & Lakeside Railway, with steam trains puffing up to Windermere, and Backbarrow is home to the Lakeland Motor Museum.
A round of golf
Nothing beats a good round of golf with fabulous views, and nearby Grange Fell Golf Club offers just that. Overlooking Morecambe Bay and the sea beyond, you might find it difficult to keep your eye on the ball! The nine-hole course has plenty to draw back your attention, though, with the landscape playing a big part in making this an enjoyable yet challenging game.
Arnside & Silverdale AONB
On the far side of the Kent Estuary is a nature lover's dream. The Arnside & Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is home to numerous nature reserves, rare flora, and fascinating wildlife. You can happily spend your whole day here walking or cycling through the landscape, spotting birds and butterflies, and admiring the views. Stop off at some of the pretty villages in the AONB or learn about the history of the area while you’re here. There’s almost too much to do!