A gem-hunter’s guide to Cartmel

Cartmel Village Shop in the centre of Cartmel
Cartmel Village Shop in the centre of Cartmel

The pretty village of Cartmel lies just south of the Lake District and around two miles north-west of the coastal town of Grange-over-Sands, near to the Furness Peninsula.

If you love quaint old buildings then you’ll adore the centre of the village, and there are a number of things you might like to see and do in the area:

1. Look round and explore the shops

The centre of Cartmel is home to a handful of small independent shops selling gifts, items for the home, and clothing. There’s also a cheese shop, wine shop and vintage shop, and the famous Cartmel Village Shop – more on that shortly!

Street in Cartmel
A street in Cartmel

Cartmel Village Shop

Simon Rogan's kitchen shop, Cartmel
Simon Rogan’s kitchen shop
Archway in Cartmel
This archway and the tiny streets are fascinating

Archway in Cartmel

The centre of CartmelThe river in CartmelShops in CartmelShopping in Cartmel

Unsworth's Yard, Cartmel
Unsworth’s Yard, where you’ll find a cheese shop, brewery and wine and kitchenware shop
Unsworth's Yard Brewery
Unsworth’s Yard Brewery
Vintage shop, Cartmel
The vintage shop

2. Stop for lunch

Cartmel has a range of cafés and pubs, at which to stop for lunch. And talking of food, the village is also home to Simon Rogan’s well-known restaurant L’Enclume, as well as his more informal restaurant Rogan & Co.

The King's Arms, Cartmel

Simon Rogan's L'Enclume
Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume

3. Take back some Sticky Toffee Pudding

Cartmel Village Shop, which I mentioned earlier in the post, is home to the village’s famous Sticky Toffee Pudding – so you’re not allowed to leave Cartmel without one. It’s in the rules… 😉

The shop stocks lots of local and speciality foods and drink, so you may find a few other treats here too. It’s an especially exciting place to visit in the run up to Christmas!

Inside the Cartmel Village Shop
Inside the Cartmel Village Shop

Inside the Cartmel Village ShopInside the Cartmel Village Shop

Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding
The Sticky Toffee Pudding!
Inside the Cartmel Village Shop
I spy a super-size Sticky Toffee Pudding! Just a shame I can’t eat sugar these days – you’ll just have to eat it for me! 🙂

4. Visit Cartmel Priory

Although I’ve been to Cartmel before, this was the first time I had stopped to take a look inside Cartmel Priory, The Priory Church of St Mary and St Michael, which is part of the Church of England and has stood here in various forms for over 800 years.

From the outside, the building is quite imposing for such a small village, and equally the inside and its many features are well worth seeing. I was presented with a lovely leaflet guide to the priory and, if you are interested, there is also a more detailed book on sale in the gift shop area.

I also picked up another interesting leaflet which serves as a church trail, detailing all the local churches you might like to see across the nearby area.

Cartmel Priory
Cartmel Priory

5. Go to the Races

The main car park in Cartmel is actually situated at Cartmel Racecourse, where there are race meetings in May, June, July and August. I’ve never been to one of these, but I know several people who really enjoy them. If these events are something you may like to visit for yourself, take a look online for upcoming dates.

Cartmel Racecourse
Cartmel Racecourse, which is also a pay-and-display car park for the village
Cartmel pay-and-display car park
It’s a lovely car park too!

6. Go to Cartmel Food Market

Cartmel holds a regular food market on the third Friday of each month, and you can keep an eye on what’s going on by visiting it’s Facebook page.

Cartmel village7. Attend the Cartmel Agricultural Show

In 2018, the Cartmel Show takes place on 1st August, and is one of the many agricultural shows to take place on the Lake District events calendar. The stars of the show are, of course, the animals, with sheep, cattle, horses and poultry in attendance. There’s also a dog show, and trade stands, a craft tent, and a food marquee, etc. to explore, so all the usual things you would expect from an event like this. It’s well worth attending if you’re in the Lakes when it’s on.

8. Visit nearby Holker Hall and gardens

Although not in Cartmel itself, Holker Hall and Gardens is situated just outside the village, and is a lovely place to visit – a whole day out in itself really. You can buy separate tickets for the garden and Hall, or even just visit the tearoom (open selected days of the week, so see the website for opening times), gift shop and Food Hall, which again sells a selection of local and artisan produce. I featured the gardens at Holker Hall on the blog a couple of years ago, so you can read more here.

Inside the gardens at Holker Hall
Inside the gardens at Holker Hall

Other popular things you might like to do while you’re in Cartmel:

  • Take a tour on a Segway with Lakeland Segway.
  • Take a carriage ride with Black Horses Friesians.

Have you visited Cartmel, and what do you enjoy most about the village? You can share your recommendations with other readers by leaving a comment below.


  1. There are quite a few lovely towns, villages and places to explore just to the south of the Lake District, so I will try to feature more of them on the blog at some stage too. 🙂

  2. Henry Roberts

    The Cartmel village shop is always well worth a visit!. I know some do, but as a regular visitor to the area, I feel that more shops up and down Cumbria could increase the range of local products that they stock.

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