ONE of the UK’s most unique racecourses famed for its magical atmosphere is making final preparations for a stellar 2020 season.

The opening meeting of the year is inching closer at beautiful Cartmel Racecourse, near Grange-over-Sands - with the gates set to open for the popular three-day Whit Meeting on Saturday, May 23.

The Westmorland Gazette:

Renowned as a perfect day out for family and friends, the picturesque track is gearing up to offer a greater variety of fun-filled entertainment over its nine annual racedays than ever before.

Cartmel Racecourse general manager Geraldine McKay explained work behind the scenes was in full swing as the countdown to the first fixture continued on.

“Cartmel truly has a unique atmosphere that you won’t find at any other course nationwide,” she said.

“I think this is why it’s always been so popular with families and groups of friends, many of whom come back to visit year after year.

The Westmorland Gazette:

“It’s the perfect way for people to spend quality time away from the stresses and strains of everyday life and relax in a beautiful setting.

“Lots of our visitors have been coming to Cartmel for years, they wouldn’t miss it for the world.

“But we’re always delighted to welcome those who’ve never been to this lovely course before - people who are forging a brand new tradition for their family, group or friends or colleagues.”

The Westmorland Gazette:

Cartmel Racecourse boasts a long pedigree in hosting social gatherings stretching back centuries.

The first written accounts of racing at the location appeared in 1856, though the monks of nearby Cartmel Priory are believed to have partaken in the sport as early as the Fifteenth Century when they lined up on mules to compete against each other.

Earlier formal meetings held at the course were on the flat.

But with the interests of the local population steeped in hunting and farming, this had switched to jump racing by the start of the twentieth century.

The Sport of Kings has changed greatly since then, as has beautiful Cartmel Racecourse - although its character and backdrop of lush green countryside remains as timeless today as it has done for hundreds of years.

With a brand new season about to unfold, Cartmel is set to build on the magic ingredient that has enthralled visitors to the course year after year - the opportunity to enjoy a timeless, unrushed, summer day out.

The Westmorland Gazette:

This year will see a return to traditional, fun-filled family entertainment with the excitement of National Hunt horse racing at its heart.

A number of different food options will be available across the course alongside a range of hospitality packages - from the Louis Roederer Restaurant in the Grandstand and Paddock Side options to the chance to bring a classic homemade picnic or barbecue.

Cartmel’s annual concert day fixture - on Friday, June 26 - will this year welcome David Gray to the stage as part of his world tour to mark the 20th anniversary of the album White Ladder.

Fairground rides and traditional stalls at every raceday always draw crowds of excited visitors, while those attending on Saturday, July 18, will also be treated to the Shetland Pony Grand National.

And the Oakmere Homes Family Funday Sunday on June 28, will feature a special school sports day competition open to all.

The Westmorland Gazette:

Geraldine added: “Decades ago, Cartmel racedays were a chance for the whole community to come together, to talk, laugh, enjoy good food and watch the races.
“Our community of visitors is certainly wider geographically now, but that community feel remains here just the same.

“Cartmel is one of the only courses in the country where you can bring your own bottle of wine and a picnic. There’s a relaxed, family-friendly ambience which is simply hard to beat for anyone looking for a day out.

“We’ve also got lots of fantastic food options around the course and there’s plenty to see and enjoy.”

Geraldine added: “Cartmel is a very special place. We’re all now looking forward to our 2020 season getting underway.”