Things to do in Cartmel | Find Out More with Lakelovers

About Cartmel

Things to do in Cartmel

You will find yourselves happy to soak in the chocolate-box charm of the village, winner of several Cumbria in Bloom and Britain in Bloom awards. Delight in the sleepy old-world atmosphere and lovely array of centuries-old buildings around the village centre. The famous medieval priory dates from the 12th Century, and is an iconic figurehead for the village. Cartmel is also well-known for its racecourse and its renowned sticky toffee pudding. Tempting inns and eateries abound, including the celebrated L’Enclume. Chris Evans described it as ‘A thimbleful of diamonds’ on Radio 2. And there are indeed a wide variety of beautiful sights, engaging activities and must-see attractions here. The whole of the Lake District lies on your doorstep waiting to be explored, with the southern tip of Lake Windermere a short car journey away.

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In cartmel

Cartmel Priory

Cartmel Priory

Cartmel was historically the hub of an ancient parish. The 12th Century priory has to be one of the finest holy buildings in the north of England. The beautiful architecture belies a turbulent history. Which includes partial destruction during the time of Henry VIII and gunfights during the English civil war. Today, tens of thousands of visitors and pilgrims visit each year. The gatehouse is one of the oldest parts of the building. It opens onto Cartmel village square, and now acts as Cartmel’s heritage centre.

Lakeland Segway

Enjoy the wonderful scenery around the area on a relaxed but adventurous guided segway tour. Lots of professional tuition and practice will ensure your safety. Lakeland Segway are based Cartmel and things to do also include electric bike hire and archery sessions. –

Holker Hall and Gardens

Cartmel - Holker Hall

This historic hall is actually located at Cark-in-Cartmel, not far away from Cartmel village. The gardens, grounds, and house itself are excellent, and Holker is one of England’s most treasured stately homes. Many events and festivals take place here throughout the year, and we thoroughly recommend a visit during your time in Cartmel. –

The Friesian Experience

If you are passionate about horses and horse-riding, this is a must for you. A family of beautiful Friesian horses are waiting to take you on hacks, beach rides, carriage rides and more. The Friesian Experience is based at Greenbank Farm on Aynsome Lane just north of Cartmel village. –

Cartmel Racecourse

Cartmel Races, May 2006 The Cartmel Steeplechase race meetings occur 3 times a year during the May and August Bank Holidays and an one day event in July. The course is in beautiful park land on the edge or historic Cartmel

Cartmel is well-known for its National Hunt Racecourse, and it enjoys one of the highest average attendances in England on race days. There are seven major race days throughout the summer season, and plenty of other events frequently taking place, including concerts and festival days. –


Tourist information

A Tourist Information Centre in the village car park near the racecourse will help you plan what to do in Cartmel.



The pretty Cartmel Peninsula is a perfect base for exploring the south of the region. Cartmel offers easy access to the Furness Peninsula to the west, and you may fancy a visit to the market town of Ulverston if you are heading in that direction. East lies the pleasant promenades of Grange-over-Sands, and if you follow the coast around Morcambe Bay you will come to Arnside and Silverdale, picturesque little villages in excellent walking country. To the north of you sprawls Lake Windermere, the longest of England’s lakes, and all the beauties of the Lake District. Drive north to Newby Bridge, where you can choose the busier eastern side of the lake up to Bowness, and thereafter Ambleside and Wordsworth’s Grasmere, or the quieter western shore towards Hawkshead, Beatrix Potter’s Sawrey, and the Coniston fells. We would also recommend a run to the peaceful Lyth Valley, over the hill past Gummer’s How, in the back country between Bowness-on-Windermere and Kendal.

Eating & Drinking


Cartmel Cheese

An unusual host of local delicacies await you on your arrival in Cartmel, and the town benefits from some excellent traditional inns and tempting cafes. L’Enclume is one of the most highly rated restaurants in the country, and is a must for gastronomes. We urge you to sample Hales of Cartmel chocolates, and you must not fail to visit Cartmel Village Shop in the village centre for its renowned sticky toffee pudding. We hear that Madonna is amongst its fans! Be sure to go to Unsworth’s Yard where you can find the Unsworth’s Yard Brewery, a microbrewery with tasty ales and tables where you can sit outside, and also the local cheesemongers, Cartmel Cheeses, who stock up to fifty different varieties at any one time, and will let you try them before buying! They offer a local cheese from Holker Farm just a couple of miles away. There is so much be learned about beer and cheese in Unsworth’s Yard, and an artisan bakery as a complement! All-in-all Cartmel is a foodies’ paradise. Follow our link below for link below for some eating places we think are worth looking out around the area:



This is an area of rolling fields, woodlands and limestone pavements and you will thoroughly enjoy exploring the landscape around the Cartmel peninsula and the coastline on the edge of Morcambe Bay. A stroll along the promenade at Grange-over-Sands is also worthwhile. Northwards, the incredible walking opportunities of the Lake District are within easy reach. We are sure that walking will be high up on your list of what to do in Cartmel during your stay, and we are happy to offer a few suggestions for rambles in the area:

Cartmel to Hampsfield Fell

This walk stretches over 7 miles in leisurely fashion, and is a fantastic way to acquaint yourselves with the countryside immediately around Cartmel. It takes in part of the Cistercian Way after leaving Cartmel towards the west, and later the gentle ascent of Hampsfield Fell, before circling back round to the Village. 2 ½ hours.

High Dam

This is a fairly short walk to a pair of very scenic tarns, a little to the north of Finsthwaite, just off the southern tip of Lake Windermere. Head uphill from the National Trust car park, through some lovely woodlands that are full of bilberries in the right season, and if the weather is fine take a picnic to the higher of the tarns. 1 hr.

Gummer’s How

If you travel north from Cartmel to Newby Bridge and make for Bowness on the A592, you can find a little road climbing up hill to your right that gives access to the low peak of Gummer’s How. From it’s summit, you can enjoy superb views over Lake Windermere and the surrounding area, and this walk gives you the thrill of a higher Lakeland fell walk for much less effort. 1 ½ hrs.


The winding trails through the trees of this forest provide great sport for mountain-bikers and walkers alike. The visitor centre near Satterthwaite, not far from Hawkshead, serves as a good start point for one of the many colour coded trails, and cycles can be hired from here, too.

Further Afield


Windermere Lake Cruises

Accessible from multiple points around Lake Windermere, the steamers and passenger launches are one of the most famous and celebrated attractions in the region. Your nearest embarkation point from Cartmel is Lakeside at the south end of the lake, and from there you can travel in serenity and style to bustling Bowness-on-Windermere or Ambleside at the northern end. This is a wonderful way to explore England’s longest lake, and simply to relax in sensational surroundings. A steamer cruise should be high on the list of anyone considering what to do in Cartmel. –

Lakes Aquarium

A fantastic collection of freshwater fish inhabit this award-winning attraction. We would certainly recommend a visit here, as the collection is very well presented, and will delight adults and children alike. Situated by the steamer pier at Lakeside. –

The Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway

Historic steam and diesel engines take you through the picturesque Leven Valley. We think this is a lovely way to see some of the local landscapes. –

Fellfoot Park

Located at the southern end of Lake Windermere in a blissfully beautiful situation, you can spend an afternoon walking and picnicking in the grounds of this National Trust owned park, take out a rowing boat, and enjoy at coffee or an ice-cream in the tearoom. You can drive straight there from Cartmel, or take a steamer across from Lakeside.

Lakeland Motor Museum

Classic cars, cycles, motorcycles and scooters, along with a great riverside cafe, are to be found at Backbarrow, to the north of Cartmel near Newby Bridge. Any vehicle enthusiast will want to make a visit here. –

Go Ape, Grizedale

Grizedale forest is an excellent place to visit for walking and cycling trails amidst the trees, and you can also adventure in the tree-tops themselves on the rope bridges and swings of Go Ape. If you are feeling the urge for action and adrenalin, we certainly recommend a journey here. You will find Grizedale on the western side of Lake Windermere, near Hawkshead village. –

South Lakes Wild Animal Park

A huge variety of animals are on display at this highly interactive zoo. You can get very close to many of them, and can walk amongst emu and lemurs! Children will love the mini-train ride, and we think this day out is well worth the journey to Dalton-in-Furness. –

The World of Beatrix Potter

If you do not already love the drawings and stories of one of the Lakes most famous patrons, Beatrix Potter, you surely will after meeting Peter Rabbit and others in this magical exhibition with superbly detailed models of her celebrated characters. Take the drive north from Cartmel to Bowness-on-Windermere, where you can enjoy all the other attractions of one of the Lake District’s most popular villages. –

Getting to cartmel



The area is easily accessed from the M6 motorway. Leave at Junction 36 and travel along the A590 towards Barrow-in-Furness, following the signs into the little side lanes that lead you on to the Cartmel peninsula and to the village. The closest railway stations are at Grange-over-Sands and Cark-in-Cartmel. Buses all run regularly around the area, and information on bus timetables can be found here: