Picnic blanket - check; sun screen – check; Sticky Toffee Pudding – check. Have you got everything you need for Cartmel races on Bank Holiday weekend?
I’m only joking about the Sticky Toffee Pudding, you can buy that at the racecourse or even at the Cartmel Village Shop in the village square. The key to preparing for a day at Cartmel races is knowing what you need to bring with you and what you can safely leave behind.
First up is the food. We always extol the virtues of bringing a picnic with you – a picnic is part of the quintessential Cartmel experience. Isn’t it?
Yes, of course… but if you really can’t be bothered with all that food preparation, there’s always the new Conservatory Restaurant. Located in an attractive conservatory-style marquee adjacent to the finishing straight, the atmosphere will be relaxed and informal while the food will be tasty and cooked by someone other than yourself.
If you happen to leave the picnic basket on the roof of your car, leaving a neat trail of sausages along the A590, don’t fret – Furness Fish & Game have a fabulous stand at the track and can provide you with BBQ packs of award winning meat for the barbecue. On the stand next door they sell fresh seafood and on another stand nearby you’ll find Louis Roederer Champagne.
There are at least three large outdoor screens at Cartmel Racecourse, more on the busiest race-days, so you don’t even need binoculars - unless you’re interested in bird watching, which is what some of the judges of the Louis Roederer Vintage Costume Competition think they’ve been lined up for on Saturday evening 24th May. I’ve had to remind them that any racegoer can win: male or female, young or old, in either of the public enclosures.
All you have to do to win an exclusive tour of the Louis Roederer vineyard in Reims, including travel, accommodation, a private Champagne tasting and lunch at the Chateau, is to wear the best vintage costume at the North West Evening Mail Vintage Race-night. If you happen to have a vintage vehicle you can park it in the picnic car park free of charge.
Most people will assume that they need to bring cash to the races – but the well prepared can save money by purchasing vouchers for Tote betting, the fairground, Champagne bar and the Furness Fish & Game stand when purchasing their admission tickets online. But hurry, because the advance ticket offer expires on midnight this Sunday. A couple of quid on Fantasy King at Bangor could pay for the vouchers.
A quick recap then: you’re welcome to bring all your friends and the picnic basket (don’t call him or her that – it isn’t nice) – but, if you want to win the vintage prize on vintage race-night, all you really need to bring is some stylish, old clothes.