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Sitting in the dock of the day

When beyond was called as a chief witness at The Courthouse Hotel in Cheshire there was certainly a case to be answered and we couldn’t wait to get proceedings under way.

T he only time I’d previously found myself sitting in the dock of a courtroom was to explain why I had been trying to ride a plastic swan gondola down a high street. Whilst naked.

It was a futile attempt, but it was also a long time ago and safe in the knowledge no actual swans had been harmed, I took it on the chin and did my time.

Thankfully, my latest visit to court didn’t involve such shenanigans and following a summons to review the newly refurbished Courthouse Hotel in Knutsford, we hot-footed it over to see the evidence for ourselves.

With its formidable façade and stone pillars, the imposing court building has been an arresting sight for over 200 years and one that must have struck fear into the hearts of many a criminal who found themselves before it.

Today visitors don’t enter under such duress and thanks to two local brothers it has been lovingly and lavishly transformed into one of Cheshire’s most luxurious boutique boltholes complete with rooftop garden, a fine dining restaurant, impressive bar and stunning function room.

Nods to its history are visible throughout the building including seven bowler hats hooked on the wall to represent the seven men hung for murder outside the court between 1886 and 1912.

Police mug shots of famous faces who have endured a dalliance with the law fill the walls of Barristers restaurant and bar where a menu of tempting cocktails and delicious dishes are lovingly served up.

Having opened last year, there are plans to unveil eight more boutique bedrooms in the coming months to join the three that are currently receiving rave reviews from guests.

Kitted out in muted tones, stylish furniture, an inviting four-poster bed and a well-stocked bathroom, our bedroom beckoned but not before we were called to the bar for a cocktail or two prior to taking our seats in the former Crown Court for the main event.

After an opening statement of venison carpaccio for myself and scallops for my partner, we then opted for the beef fillet bourguignon and smoked cod loin for our main course.

Cooked to perfection and delivered by attentive and courteous staff, this is a restaurant which has quickly found its feet and holds its own in such a grand setting.

And as the wine flowed and the atmosphere of this iconic building drew you in, it was hard not to imagine the cries of relief, grief and disbelief that must have echoed round its walls down the years.

Steeped in history and boasting a wealth of original features, The Courthouse Hotel has deservedly become an instant hit with the well-heeled looking for a night out and a hugely popular wedding and private function venue.

It’s certainly a place that has raised the bar when it comes to luxury accommodation and fine food in a stylish setting and one courtroom everybody should be sent down to once in their lifetime.

The Courthouse, Toft Rd, Knutsford, WA16 0PB
t: 01565 743333

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