All rise for the Courthouse – a converted public building in Knutsford which is as unique as it is charming. Our editor Victoria Galligan stayed at the wedding venue and did not feel “guilty” about indulging in a four-course feast…
It’s hard to believe when sitting in the restaurant at The Courthouse that as recently as 2010, the judge was banging the gavel and the defendants were being grilled in the dock. The court lay empty until Flat Cap Hotels restored it and it was relaunched as a venue in summer 2017. Thanks to a sensitively planned refurb, the original fixtures and fittings you’d expect to see in a courtroom are still there and give you the feeling you’re right in the middle of a courtroom drama.
The building houses two main rooms: the former Crown Court, which is now an event space complete with witness stand and judge’s bench, and the Magistrate’s Court, which is where the restaurant Barristers sits.
The restaurant is decked out in artwork from contemporary pieces of famous people who have been on trial – from Marilyn Monroe to Sirius Black. Mixed with antique gilt-framed mirrors and drawings of everything from Victorian toys to court scenes, the decor is opulent to say the least.
Meanwhile in the huge Courtroom, there’s plenty of room for a huge ceremony, wedding breakfast and evening reception. The witness stand and judge’s bench are still here, in front of which now houses a dance floor and staging area for a band or DJ. There is ample room and the high, corniced ceiling from which contemporary light fitting hang ensures a grand atmosphere is created.
Throughout the venue, accessories line the corridors and windowsills and you can see antique trunks, scales of justice and retro telephones which really give you the impression you’ve stepped back in time.
There is nothing old-fashioned about the menu, however. We enjoyed amazingly well-presented meals here: the special of pheasant Wellington, lovingly wrapped in a spinach pancake and crispy pastry, was absolutely delectable. Run by the Flat Cap group and with a kitchen headed by executive chef Stephen Take, Barrister’s really is a must-visit. Even breakfast was amazing – the eggs Benedict stacked up on a bacon muffin and oozing yolk was a great way to finish our visit.
Weddings here are not only held in opulent surroundings with fantastic food, but they are fully supported by the wedding team who are committed to planning everything just the way you want it. Ceremonies are held either in the grand Courtroom for larger weddings or in the Moneypenny Suite: an airy, bright room which can hold up to 60 guests.
The accommodation is again decorated in the classic retro style which seamlessly meets contemporary design and we loved the four-poster bed, overlooked by paintings of 18th-century nobility. At the time of writing, there were three rooms open (the bridal suite, plus a twin and a double room) with eight more being refurbished and due to open early in 2019.
So if you’re looking for a quirky, historical venue with bags of character and a menu to drool over, then check out the Courthouse. All the evidence points to a wonderful experience for you and your guests.