The ancient village of Cartmel is famous for the 12th Century Cartmel Priory, with its beautiful stained glass windows, modern sculptures, and ancient choir stalls. Leading off the village square, with its market cross, water pump, and fish slabs, is the Cartmel Priory Gatehouse, now a Heritage Centre which depicts the history of the monastery, and the village.
The village also houses a variety of interesting shops and traditional pubs around its main square. Around the square, and in the narrow winding streets leading from it, are a variety of ancient and interesting buildings.
On the market square is Cartmel Village Shop, famous for its Sticky Toffee Pudding.
Cartmel hosts its highly popular steeple chase meetings at the spring and summer bank holidays, attracting visitors from across the country. The course is one of the smallest and most picturesque in the country. Also at the Spring Bank Holiday is the Holker Garden Festival at nearby Holker Hall.