Astonishing guide price for one of North Wales' finest buildings in bid to find buyer

Four Doric columns at the entrance to the Old Courthouse
-Credit: (Image: Fleurets)

One of the finest buildings in North Wales is to be auctioned after its owner failed to find a buyer. The landmark building in Caernarfon, the town’s Old Courthouse, placed on the market for £1.3m in 2022 and in April the price was slashed by £200,000.

Built in 1863, opposite Caernarfon Castle, the Grade 1-listed building was the town’s seat of justice until 2009 when the courts moved to new premises. In 2012 the building was sold to a private developer and converted into an eight-bedroom house.

It was acquired in February 2018 by freelance musician Moira Hartley as the perfect venue for a theatre events destination. A “no-expense-spared” transformation saw the neo-classical building reopen in 2020 with a 60-cover restaurant and 250-seat domed theatre with stage.

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The basement, which once housed jail cells, is now a cocktail bar. There is also living accommodation and planning has been approved for conversion of the first and second floors into luxury apartments.

With a buyer yet to be found for the unique and historic building, it is now slated to appear in a live-streamed auction to be held by SDL Property Auctions on July 25. The building has been given a modest £725,000 guide price – almost half the original asking price.

The auction is being organised in partnership with specialist leisure property agent Fleurets. Auctioneer Andrew Parker, managing director at SDL Property Auctions, said: “We’re working with Fleurets to find a buyer for this absolutely magnificent building.

“Now a thriving restaurant, theatre and events venue, it’s a real part of Welsh history. It is also in a very special location, facing the castle and with the harbour and the Menai Straits on the doorstep, giving sweeping views across to Anglesey." The North Wales Live Whatsapp community for top stories and breaking news is live now - here’s how to sign up

The magnificent 250-seat domed theatre
The magnificent 250-seat domed theatre -Credit:Fleurets
The Bench Bistro at the Old Courthouse
The Bench Bistro at the Old Courthouse -Credit:Fleurets

Mr Parker continued: “Our team are experienced at selling highly unusual buildings, successfully selling properties as diverse as nuclear bunkers, former churches and control towers. An auction is often an excellent way to sell unusual historic properties, attracting expert buyers and people looking for complex renovation opportunities.”

After spending two years renovating the 5,000 sq ft building, owner Moira Hartley is keen to return to her career as a musician at West End and international musical theatre shows. As well as theatre productions, the agents envisage a variety of possible uses for the spectacular property, from conferences to weddings and other functions.

Mr Parker added: “We have already had high levels of interest in the Old Courthouse and it would be fantastic if we could open up the next chapter in this wonderful building’s history by finding a new owner in our auction on 25 July.” Get all the latest Gwynedd news by signing up to our newsletter - sent every Tuesday

For more information about Caernarfon’s Old Courthouse, or to register to bid remotely online, on the phone or by proxy, go to The auction will be live streamed online on July 25 with bidder registration closing on July 24.

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