I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! will take place on the historic and picturesque grounds of Gwrych Castle in North Wales when the 20th series returns in November.
ITV confirmed that due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, travelling to the show's traditional location of New South Wales in Australia would no longer be possible, so campmates would be relocated to the beautiful British countryside instead.
Ant and Dec will be back to host an adapted version of I'm a Celebrity, live every night on ITV from Gwrych Castle and Gardens. Richard Cowles, Director of Entertainment at ITV Studios, said there will be 'plenty of changes required' for the new location, but the series will still follow the same format. Celebrities will undertake gruelling trials and fun-filled challenges to win food and treats, leading to one of them being crowned, for the first time ever, King or Queen of the Castle.
And, as a must-see destination for tourists visiting Wales, Dr Mark Baker, Chair of the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust, said he hopes I’m A Celebrity will 'really help support Gwrych Castle and its ongoing restoration as well as giving the region a much-needed economic boost'.
Where is Gwrych Castle?
The ruins of the 200-year-old Grade 1 listed country house overlooks Abergele, a small market town situated on the north coast of Wales between the holiday resorts of Colwyn Bay and Rhyl, in Conwy County Borough.
The seaside resort of Colwyn Bay recently topped Airbnb's list of most popular British seaside destinations, after the platform saw the biggest rise in holidaymakers booking homes at the Welsh seaside resort. The town is in County Borough on the north coast of Wales overlooking the Irish Sea.
The Gwyrch Castle Preservation Trust purchased the castle in June 2018, and says the frontage is 1,500ft in length, and there are 18 battlemented towers inspired by the great medieval castles of Wales. With its sprawling design and turrets, the castle is spread across 250 acres of gardens and grounds.
The full address is Gwrych Castle, Llanddulas Road, Abergele, Conwy, North Wales, LL22 8ET.
For directions, visit here.
When was it built?
The castle was built between 1812 and 1822 by Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh as a memorial to his mother's ancestors, the Lloyds of Gwrych.
It was then passed onto Robert Bamford-Hesketh and his wife, Ellen Jones-Bateman, and inherited by their sole surviving child Winifred. She married Scottish nobleman the 12th Earl of Dundonald, but theirs was an unhappy marriage, with the Earl spending most of his time in Scotland, while Winifred remained at the castle.
The Countess of Dundonald was a vital patron of Welsh art, music and literature during the early 20th century, and conquered the misogynistic conventions of her era by singled-handedly managing her estates totalling several thousand acres. When she died in 1924, she left the castle to to King George V, but the gift was refused and it was purchased by her husband.
What else was the castle used for?
During World War II, the Government used the castle to house 200 Jewish refugees run by the Jewish Zionist youth movement Bnei Akiva.
In 1948, the castle and its ground were opened to the public for the first time, and it acquired the name 'Showplace of Wales'. Crowds would come from all over Britain to spend a holiday exploring the castle and its grounds. In the 70s, it became one of the first theme parks to open in Britain. The main attraction was a live action joust that took place on the old formal garden.
In the 1980s, it began to decline due to neglect. In 1989, it was bought by American businessman Nick Tavaglione for £750,000. His plans to restore the castle were laid to waste, and the property was extensively looted and vandalised, becoming little more than a derelict shell.
During Tavaglione's ownership, historian Mark Baker campaigned for the castle to be restored to its former glory. He played an important part in forming the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust, dedicated to ensuring the castle's future.
On 13 June 2018, Gwrych Castle and its estate was finally sold to Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust, enabled by a grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.
Can the public visit the grounds?
Not only can members visit the castle, the Gwyrch Castle Preservation Trust also offers nighttime ghost hunts.
According to the preservation trust, the Countess' Tower is one of the most paranormally active areas in the castle, and is situated within the gardens which are said to be haunted by the Countess herself. The evil spirit of the Countess' tyrannical husband, the Earl of Dundonald, is said to still stalk the castle he stole from her after her death.
Ghost Hunts run from 8pm to 1am, and you can book tickets here. The castle also hosts wedding receptions, and will in the near future be able to have licensed civil ceremonies.
Daily opening hours are between 10 am and 5pm with last entry at 4pm daily.
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