I loved Cartmel - it's such a dreamy, picture perfect village. I honestly wasn't expecting much from Cartmel. On the map it didn't seem like much - just a blink and you will miss village. However in reality getting there is a bit tricky, as the roads to get there were predominantly narrow and difficult for two cars to pass.
On getting to the village, as it was so busy, we couldn't find any available street parking. So we had to negotiate our way through the streets to the car park at Cartmel Racecourse. The Cartmel Racecourse car park is a very plush affair with its gravel driveway and pavilion style toilets with waiting area. I bet this place is packed on race day.
It was a Sunday so we didn't expect much to be happening in Cartmel. However we were surprised - there was an oriental rug sale on at the local village hall. A couple of old ladies were also having a garage sale with lots of odds and sods. Neil was curious about a box of VHS videos, but I had to tear him away from it to explore the village.
The village is quite different from what you find in the Lake District. The village has an architectural cohesiveness, where there are no oddities or eyesores, which is brought together in local lakeland stone.
To our surprise quite a few of the shops were open. Most importantly the Cartmel Village Shop was open selling Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding. Obviously we bought some along with some marmalade - both were lovely. There were shops selling all sorts of things including kitchen equipment, toys, wine, hardcore local cheese (Neil steered clear of this place) and artisan bread - you will find most things in Cartmel done in a twee, local stylee.
Cartmel is also known for its restaurants. The most famous is L'Enclume, the Michelin Star restaurant with a serious, hardcore foodie menu at eye watering prices. My best mate Shaun, recommended the Rogan and the Cavendish Arms which looked lovely. There were other cafes and pubs offering a range of delicious food for all palates and price ranges.
In the village is a 12th century priory that dominates the skyline. We did try to have a look around, however it is a working church. The 11am Sunday Mass was on, so we slipped out and wandered around the graveyard. We also found a ginger cat sat on a window ledge of a local cottage watching the world go by. Thankfully it didn't mind us stroking it.
As it was too early for lunch and we were still full from breakfast, we decided to move on to another town. I made a mental note to have an overnight stay here - there were double the amount of pubs than Grange-Over-Sands (four in total) and the foodie places looked delicious.
So off we popped on our journey around the Lakes. Next stop Ulverston...