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Inside Gwrych Castle: The grand historic home of I’m A Celebrity 2020

Inside Gwrych Castle: The grand historic home of I’m A Celebrity 2020

Attractions  ·  
Since it was announced in recent weeks that reality TV favourite I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! would be moving to the UK for its landmark 20th series, there’s been plenty of speculation about where exactly the series would be taking place.

The changes were made due to the Coronavirus pandemic preventing the series from being filmed ‘down under’, and led to plenty of theories from fans about where the series could be headed for 2020. It’s now been confirmed by ITV that the series will move from its usual home in the Australian outback to Abergele, Wales, and into the beautiful Gwrych Castle.

It’s thought that the series will still test its famous contestants with all the staples of the Bushtucker Trials – with spiders, snakes, rats and various other creepy-crawlies all set to make their usual appearance – but the trials will, instead, take place against the backdrop of this grand 19th-century building.

There’s no confirmation yet on whether or not the contestants will be sleeping within the castle walls themselves or in a specially constructed camp on the castle grounds.

The news is bound to excite fans who have always wanted to visit the set of the famous series, as Gwrych Castle is open to the public and will reopen for visitors in January. It seems as though it is certainly worth a visit, too, as the building is known for its rich history and even supposed hauntings…
Gwrych Castle Gate
What is Gwrych Castle?

Situated within the beautiful countryside surrounding Abergele, Gwrych Castle is thought to date back as early as the 14th century, though little is known about the castle’s history during the medieval period.

The better-known story of the castle starts in 1810, when Lloyd Bamford-Hesketh incorporated the medieval buildings into a brand new castle structure. The building was completed in the 1820s and remained home to the Hesketh family until Lloyd’s granddaughter and heiress of the home, Winifred Cochrane, left the castle to King George V after her death in 1924.

The castle later became a successful tourist attraction, but closed in 1987 and fell into disrepair.

Years later, long after much of the interior of the castle had become dilapidated, an 11-year-old Mark Baker visited the site. He was so infuriated by the state of the building that he went on to found the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust in 1996, an organisation who, to this day, are attempting to restore the iconic building to its former glory.

Mark Baker still chairs the Preservation Trust and told the press last week that the economic boost from I’m A Celebrity’s use of the castle will go towards the restoration efforts.
Haunted Gwrych Castle
Is Gwrych Castle haunted?

The famous faces on this year’s series may have to worry about more than just the occasional spider giving them a fright…

Gwrych Castle received widespread attention after the release of some spooky snaps showing a ghostly female figure standing at one of the castle’s windows. It’s thought that the figure may be the ghost of Winifred Cochrane, who many former staff claim to have seen around the building over the years.

The photo is all the more interesting once you realise that the window is in an upstairs room where the floorboards had rotted away, so there’s no way that anyone could have been stood there.

The photographs have enough people convinced that the castle even began running special ghost tours for those who would like to visit the building in the hopes of catching some paranormal activity for themselves!

Where is Abergele?

If you plan on paying a visit to the castle for yourself, then you’ll be pleased to know that there’s no shortage of other things to see nearby. Abergele, the historic town closest to the castle, is quite the beauty spot in itself.

The town boasts a selection of cosy inns and guesthouses for visitors, who may also like to take a trip to one of the other local attractions – Abergele has its own fairground, large farm and park and a variety of beautiful religious architecture nearby.

In fact, the farm is situated within the grounds of Gwrych Castle itself, making it an ideal spot for those travelling with small children who’d like to ‘make a day of it’ during their visit.

There’s also a delightful selection of pubs and restaurants in the area, serving the very best in hearty home-cooked food, so you can fill up with a delicious meal after a long day of exploring the beautiful castle grounds and gardens.

The town isn’t too far from other popular Welsh holiday destinations, either. Colwyn Bay, Conwy and Llandudno are all fairly nearby, making Abergele an ideal base for those who may wish to take some day trips out to other towns and villages during their stay.

It’s hoped that the filming of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! at Gwrych Castle will provide Abergele with a much-needed economical boost, as the town has suffered financially during the Coronavirus pandemic. The hope is that the presence of the production crews during this time will encourage tourism within the town, despite the castle grounds being closed off to anyone who does not work on the show.

Given that this is the first time the series has been filmed in the UK, we’re sure there’ll be a fair few tourists descending on the town over the coming months! Will you be one of them?

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