Kick off your weekend with a trip to the footie at Carlisle United stadium Brunton Park or saddle up for a day at the Carlisle races.

Brunton Park has been home to Carlisle United since 1909. The atmospheric ground is the largest stadium in England that isn’t all-seater, and its sweeping terraces and low-roofed stands are an evocative reminder of the character that so many modern venues have lost. Currently playing in League Two, Carlisle was a non-league side as recently as 2005 but have bounced back strongly under the leadership of former Manchester City and England defender Keith Curle. The pitch is laid with local Solway turf, considered such a good surface that it’s also used by the All England Club to create the courts at Wimbledon.

Carlisle Racecourse

For many supporters of southern clubs, Carlisle is the longest journey their team will make all season but spare a thought for the Blues’ own travelling fans. In the 2015/16 season, they clocked up over 15,000 miles following their side, including games at Plymouth, Yeovil and Exeter! Away fans wanting somewhere to stay a little closer to Brunton Park are in luck. Our Carlisle Central hotel is a much more manageable three-minute walk.

Horses and horse racing are woven into the fabric of Cumbria, so much so that Carlisle Racecourse is home to one of the oldest races in the world: the Carlisle Bell, first run in 1599 and still going strong today. When the race began in the Elizabethan era, a pair of bells was presented to the winner, and the originals are now the oldest horse racing trophies in existence. Today they’re displayed at Carlisle Guildhall Museum, near Market Cross Monument, until needed for the presentation ceremony each June.

Carlisle has led the way when it comes to modern innovation too. In 1929, it was the very first racecourse to test the Tote’s revolutionary pool betting system. Carlisle hosts both flat meetings and National Hunt races and with the last half mile up a steep incline, it’s well known in racing circles as being a genuine test of stamina. Thankfully, it’s a far more relaxing proposition for spectators. Now owned by the Jockey Club, Carlisle offers everything from private boxes to relaxed trackside bars. So whether you’re coming for the prestigious Carlisle Bell in summer or want to enjoy their spectacular Northern Lights series in December, you’re guaranteed a thoroughbred day out.