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Chief Justice of Common Pleas

Background 

Judge's gavel in a courtroom

Image courtesy of EKATERINA BOLVTSOVA

In the heart of Keswick sits this very unique Wetherspoons. It was once a magistrate’s court and police station that was built in 1901. It became a listed building in 2000, and recently was taken over by JD Wetherspoon and is now one of the many pubs in the UK owned by this well-known branch. The building still retains some of the courthouse features including the canopied witness stand and the police station cells with the original iron doors. Some of those cells are now occupied by a private table for up to 8 people.  

As you walk around the building you are greeted with the iconic smells and sights of a standard Wetherspoons, with the elaborate carpet and usual menus and the great big, long bar rigged with the usual draughts and hand-pulls you would expect to see at any Wetherspoons bar. The pub is located directly opposite the Crafty Baa and is literally 30 seconds walk from the pay and display carpark and the town centre of Keswick. 

Why you should visit the Chief Justice of Common Pleas 

This Wetherspoons pub is a little bit different to your bog-standard Wetherspoons. It has a lot of rich history which you can read about displayed in writing on old photographs around the rooms. A lot of the history is about Keswick as well as the building itself. This pub is a great place for families to come to eat, or for people to kick-start a pub-crawl/night out in Keswick. 

Location 

  • Its location is perfect for accessibility and convenience. It is just 30 seconds walk from the nearest carpark.
  • It is also a minute’s walk from the town centre and the famous high street of Keswick.
  • The pub is directly opposite the Crafty Baa just over the road. It is a great starting point for a pub-crawl and can easily be tied into a shopping day out in Keswick if you fancy grabbing some food for lunch.
  • If you’ve just been on a long hike up one of the mountains, the Wetherspoons is perfectly convenient for you to walk to when you get back into town as it is never far away from any of the starting points for walks.
  • There are abundant carparks in the area too, and the bed-and-breakfast and hotel options in the area are very wide.
  • Near to the shops, near to other pubs, near to places to stay, near to carparks and near to the mountain walks. 

Food/drink 

Bottle of Efes beer at Wetherspoons in Keswick

Taken at the bar at Wetherspoons in Keswick by Aiden Dawson

As you would expect with any Wetherspoons, the menu is consistent and cheap and cheerful. The food options are all the same as with other Wetherspoons pubs, you have your light bites, sides, and sharers, and then you have the pub classics, deli deals, pizzas, and burgers and of course desserts. The drinks are not limited as always, you have your line-up of guest ales (all local to the Cumbria region), plus the usual draughts, craft ales, gins, cocktails, wine, and spirits and of course the soft drinks including sugar-free Pepsi Max and lemonade. So the menu is always an incentive for people to come and eat and drink.  

Accessibility 

The main points of accessibility are what make this Wetherspoons a friendly environment for people of all needs and requirements… 

Wheelchair accessibility

You don’t need to worry about getting a wheelchair or pushchair in/out of the pub, there is two different entrances and one of them has no steps and includes a handrail and a sloped access. Inside the building, as you would expect with many Wetherspoons, you have a plethora of different rooms and twisting corridors and while there are some steps to get between parts of the building, there is also a corridor joining the bar area to the back of the pub with a ramped floor. Tables and chairs are spaced well enough so it’s easy to manoeuvre a wheelchair around the room.  

Disabled toilets

There is a disabled-friendly toilet facility located downstairs near to the bar area. Other toilets are located upstairs, and they also include baby-changing facilities.  

Child-friendly

The pub provides highchairs for babies and young infants which are located in specific points around the building. They are lightweight and easy to carry around, and you don’t need to unfold them. They also have fastening straps to keep your child safe from falling off. Other reasons why bringing your kids to this pub is a must, include the child-friendly options on the menu, and also, they even provide colouring sheets and crayons to keep the children entertained while you wait for your meal. 

Outside terrace

There is a beer garden located at the back of the building which includes a terrace with four tables and a lower patio area with many more. There is a ramp access from the lower to the upper terrace and the beer garden can also be accessed directly from the carpark. Then there is also a new larger beer garden located to the side of the building, this has a large square space with many tables, some of which are sheltered under a cabana-style shelter and the whole area is rigged with decorative lighting making it a lovely atmosphere for a night out. It is important to note that this area does shut at 8pm because it is just over the road from the bed-and-breakfasts, and they don’t want it to be too noisy for them when it gets late.  

Inclusive menu

The menu includes options for those with dietary requirement including vegan-friendly dishes and gluten-free options too. You can also choose lighter meals that are smaller portion sizes, and there are also kid-friendly options too.  Click here to view the menu.

Parking

The main carpark is right next to the pub, and this is a pay and display carpark. It includes disabled parking that is closest to the pub. Pay and display machines are located in several spots around the car park. Other nearby carparks are just five minutes from the Wetherspoons pub and are located around Keswick. 

Public transport

The nearest bus stop is just a 2-3-minute walk up the road. Taxis are also available to hire and can drop you off right outside the entrance.  

Atmosphere

As with most Wetherspoons, it can get busy on an evening and especially on a weekend in Keswick. With it being in a touristy location, it is likely to get busy during holiday seasons (summer, bank holidays and Christmas). The quietest times are on a morning and throughout the daytime. It can get busy at lunchtime on weekends and school holidays. The atmosphere is generally friendly and comfortable. There is a wide choice of seating locations in the building,  certain parts of the building may be quieter (the cells which offer a sense of privacy). There’s always the option to sit outside too if it’s too noisy inside. Staff are professional and will definitely help when asked.  

Other accessibility

Other things worth mentioning about this Wetherspoons in Keswick include:

  • The pub has TV screens throughout the building. If there is a football match on you can watch it at this Wetherspoons.
  • Wi-Fi is also available so you can bring iPads for the kids to entertain themselves.
  • Like all Wetherspoons pubs, there is an order-and-pay service using an app which can be downloaded onto your phone easily. This can save you having to go to the bar if it’s too busy/there’s a long queue. A good idea for people who may feel uncomfortable in queues or talking to staff. The food/drink ordered via the app will come straight to your table as normal.  

We hope this listing has helped you in planning your visit to Keswick! If you’re still looking for other accessible, autism-friendly venues to eat and drink- then check out other listings on our website

For other disability-friendly Wetherspoons- check out The Stanley Jefferson in Bishop Auckland!

Q Can I take food home?

If you ask a member of staff, they might be able to put some food (i.e., leftovers) in a box for you to take home

Q Does this Wetherspoons have themed nights?

Yes, on Thursdays they do curry night. For more information, check their website at:
https://www.jdwetherspoon.com/food

Q Can tables be booked?

Yes, you can reserve a table for your family or friends for a special occasion. Give them a ring on 01768 773561

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