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The Courthouse

The home of Rural Arts, The Courthouse is our friendly, vibrant venue and cultural hub in Thirsk.

At The Courthouse, there’s something for everyone! Book your place at one of our workshops and performances, enjoy homemade cakes and lunches in our award-winning café, browse our shop for unique art from independent artists, or book rooms for your events

Rural Arts offers a regular programme of workshops, performances, events and exhibitions for all ages and abilities, many of which are based right here, at The Courthouse. Sounds interesting? Take a look at what’s on, to view our full range of workshops and performances.

Beyond our variety of events hosted every year, The Courthouse is home to our friendly Rural Arts team, who run a range of workshops and events that take place across North Yorkshire, including our nationally recognised rural touring scheme, ON Tour.


Doing Our Part To Be Sustainable:

We at Rural Arts are pushing ourselves to be greener. So far, we have installed 30 new solar panels in The Courthouse, invested in an electric car, encouraged car-sharing, introduced paper recycling in every office, soft plastic recycling in our cafe and clay recycling.

Our solar panels contribute to the overall running of The Courthouse. This will go towards lighting, kiln firing and the charging of our electric vehicle. Our new electric vehicle will replace the use of personal vehicles for our Outreach Projects like ArtBeat, ON Tour, and Heart and Craft. In turn, reducing our carbon emissions whilst ensuring we enrich lives and connect communities.

As an organisation, we have transitioned to paperless invoicing, reuse scrap paper where possible, and recycle paper that we cannot reuse. Our Café has also incorporated the recycling of soft plastics into their weekly activities. Our Café staff ensure that food waste is kept to a minimum, with any reusable waste going towards feeding pet chickens or contributing to home composting.

Similarly, the artists help make Rural Arts participate in sustainable methods. Joanna Mills has been making paper and printmaking for many years. She continues to learn different printmaking techniques through her membership of the Arts Collective at Rural Arts, where she has been a member for just over a year. Joanna takes the offcuts/paper scraps from the printmaking group and repurposes them into her very own beautifully handcrafted paper. 

The Visual Arts Team have devised and is in the process of trialling a clay recycling method. This involves; drying, smashing, soaking, blending, sieving, hanging, drying, wedging, and bagging before the clay can be reused. This eco-friendly method works for all clay types and doesn’t have a negative effect on results if done correctly.

Alongside these changes, we continue to accept donations of art supplies that would otherwise enter the landfill. Some examples include wallpaper samples from Thirsk Decorating Centre. The vast majority of The Courthouse’s furniture was donated to us; from office, desks to display cabinets. 


Planning your visit:

  • Short walk from Thirsk Market Place
  • Blue Badge parking, flat-level access and accessible bathrooms
  • Local parking
  • Free WiFi
  • High chair and baby changing facilities
  • Tasty children’s menu
  • Space for meetings, events and conferences for hire


Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions that should help you to plan your visit.

If you still have questions, please contact us on or 01845 526 536

(Phone line opening times: Tuesday – Friday, 9am – 5.30pm, with a voicemail facility outside these hours).

You can download a copy of our Summer 2024 Brochure of activities at The Courthouse here.

Watch this space for our Autumn 2024 ON Tour brochure! 

Our address is The Old Courthouse, 4 Westgate, Thirsk, YO7 1QS.

You can see us on Google Maps here.

For the most accurate location, please click the link below.

This what3words address refers to a 3 metre square location. Tap the link or enter the 3 words into the free what3words app to find it.

If you’re coming to a workshop, performance or screening or event, we strongly recommend that you book beforehand to avoid disappointment! 

You do not need to book to view an exhibition as these are free, and open all day, 10am-4pm, Tuesday-Saturday.

We currently do not take bookings in our café, although if you have access needs, we recommend you call in advance if there are any adjustments that you need us to make.

The Courthouse has limited Blue Badge parking for disabled customers. If you would like to book this, please email in advance or call 01845 526 536 on the day.

For non-disabled customers, there is ample local parking close by, which you can find out more about by clicking here.

We don’t currently have any bicycle racks but you are more than welcome to leave your bike in our walled front garden whilst you visit The Courthouse. Please note there are some railings that you can affix your bike to but all property is left at your own risk.

For full information about our accessibility, visit our dedicated page here.

We have invested in significant improvements to our Grade II listed home to make it as accessible as possible.

This includes

  • Blue Badge Parking on site
  • Step free access in, out and around the building
  • A lift to our first floor
  • A ‘Changing Place’ accessible bathroom on the ground floor
  • A large accessible bathroom on the first floor
  • A Hearing Loop in The Courthouse
  • Staff with Dementia Friends training
  • A ‘Quiet Space’ available during workshops, performances and screenings

If you require Blue Badge parking, this must be booked in advance. Please email or call 01845 526 536 on the day.

We’re always working to become more accessible. If you have any suggestions or would like to let us know about any access requirements, please email or call 01845 526 536.

We offer concessionary pricing to performances and screenings for the following groups:

  • Under 25s
  • Full time students
  • Disabled people
  • Unemployed people
  • Over 65s

We currently do not offer concession prices to our workshops, but do offer a range of free and low cost sessions.

Carer or essential companion tickets to all of our activities are free, but if the carer or companion would like to participate, an additional ticket must be purchased.

We welcome assistance dogs at all times.

Due to the nature of the activity that takes place at The Courthouse, the admission of any other dogs has to be decided on a case-by-case basis.

In general, unfortunately, bigger or wet pooches won’t be able to join you inside. This may the case for smaller, dry and/or all pooches, at the discretion of staff members based on the activities taking place during your visit.

We’re happy for you to leave your dog at our watering station outside and we are sorry for any inconvenience this policy may cause.

Should you wish to cancel your booking to an activity:

  • If you wish to cancel your booking at any time more than 3 weeks before the activity your fee will be refunded, minus a £5 administration charge 
  • Alternatively, you can transfer the full fee to another activity, or keep the booking as credit for future use, without incurring a charge.  
  • If you wish to cancel your booking at any time less than 3 weeks before the activity, your fee cannot be refunded. Depending on availability, you may be able to transfer its value to another activity or keep it as credit against a future activity. 
  • Cancellations of bookings made using Gift Vouchers will not result in a cash refund. The same conditions regarding the timing of refund/exchange requests above apply to bookings made via Gift Voucher 
  • The only exception to the conditions of refund/exchange requests outlined above is those made within 14 days of the original booking, which can be transferred to another activity or refunded in full without penalty under the Credit Consumer Act

As a small charity who has to generate 40% of our own income each year, we’re grateful for your understanding.

We accept cash, card, contactless and gift voucher.

Our Gift Vouchers can be spent on absolutely any of our products or activities – find out more by clicking here.

We’re always trying to be more family friendly.

Alongside our range of exciting workshops, performances and projects for children and young people, The Courthouse also offers:

  • Free nappies, nappy bags and wet wipes
  • A changing unit
  • A children’s menu
  • Highchairs
  • Books and games 

The Courthouse is breastfeeding friendly

We love receiving little visitors! We’re very happy for you to bring your buggy/pram however we do have limited space so sometimes it may not be possible to keep your buggy/pram by you if you are seated.

We don’t have a specific group booking policy, but please email us at if you have a specific request.

We offer a range of fully-equipped rooms to suit every kind of event, from small meetings to large functions. What’s more, by booking your corporate, creative or private event at The Courthouse, you’ll be supporting a local charity!

If you’re interested in hiring on of our great spaces, please email

Our shop features work from over 60 wonderful designer-makers but we’re always on the lookout for exciting new products.

We currently stock a diverse range of ceramics, jewellery, glass, textiles, prints, papier-mâché and much more.

The majority of work we stock is on a sale or return basis. When sales are made, we give 60% of the retail price to the artist and retain 40% as commission. Please take this into consideration when pricing your work.

If you’re interested in selling your work with us please email Ellie Stephenson, Operations Coordinator,

Making an account on our website is easy. To help you, we’ve made a short guide, which you can access by clicking here.

Support Us

Help Rural Arts enrich lives and connect communities through creativity. Support us by donating, volunteering or collaborating with us.