Everything you need to know about I'm A Celeb venue Gwrych Castle

by 24britishtvNov. 21, 2021, 11:40 p.m. 17

I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! will once again take place at Gwrych Castle in Wales.

The castle, which was also used for I'm A Celebrity in 2020, is located in Abergele in the county of Conwy.

It has a rich history that includes everything from spiteful spouses to playing an important part in World War Two and even hosting training camps for champion boxers. You can read more on Gwrych Castle's amazing story here.

Read more: I'm A Celebrity 2021 full confirmed line-up as show names stars heading to Gwrych Castle

The beautiful Grade I-listed fairytale castle, which is set on a hillside overlooking the Irish Sea and the Vale of Clwyd, rose to fame last year when it became the unlikely home for I'm A Celebrity 2020, which usually takes place in Australia, due to the pandemic.

And earlier this year ITV bosses confirmed it would be used once again due to the "continued uncertainty" around Covid-19 and international travel and a "highly successful run" in 2020.

But how old is Gwrych Castle, who owns it, and is it open to the public for visits? Here are some things you might not know as it prepares to open its doors to I'm A Celebrity campmates once again.

Gwrych Castle is more than 200 years old

Gwrych Castle is a Grade I-listed country house that was originally built by Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh between 1812 and 1822 as a memorial to his mother's ancestors the Lloyds of Gwrych.

When Bamford-Hesketh's granddaughter, the Countess of Dundonald, died in 1924 the castle was left to King George V but the monarch refused the gift. Later, in 1948, it was bought by Leslie Salts who opened Gwrych to the public for 20 years.

According to the official Gwrych Castle site from 1968 onwards it "operated as a medieval entertainment centre with jousting, banquets, and markets taking place in the grounds" before eventually being closed to the public in 1985 when it started to fall into disrepair.

More recently there had been plans to spend £6m turning it into a luxury hotel before it was sold to its current owners, the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust, in June 2018.

ITV 'sped up repairs by two years'

The Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust was formed in 1997, set up by chairman Dr Mark Baker when he was just 12 years old.

Restoration has been ongoing at the castle ever since but becoming the unlikely star of I'm A Celebrity has really helped speed the process up.

Since the 2020 show restoration at Gwrych Castle is two years ahead of schedule.

Speaking to the BBC Dr Baker said: "We had everything in place – expert advice and specialist contractors – and were just starting to get funds together to get the work done.

"But ITV paid for a major restoration work on things like wall tops and window lintels. We're now about two years ahead of where we planned to be."

Despite its successful 2020 run bosses at Gwrych Castle said it was a "great surprise" when ITV made its decision to return to Wales.

Due to the last-minute nature of the announcement Dr Baker said they were actually planning for I'm A Celeb not to come back.

"We were planning for [I'm a Celebrity] not to come back because there was nothing concrete, nothing decided," he told North Wales Live. "As responsible owners of a historic site there's a huge amount of work to do so we just kept ploughing on with everything we wanted to do in terms of restoring the [site]."

He added: "I think the situation overseas suddenly became quite difficult with Australia. A rapid decision had to be made and we were always very welcoming for a return but we didn't think it would happen. So when the news was delivered it was a great surprise and it was all systems go.

"It was so late in the day. We were all kind of preparing for them not to return. And we were in the process of getting the behind-the-scenes guidebook done at that point with ITV. We were planning all the merchandise.

"The focus was not on the show returning, it was about how we could celebrate what had been at the castle in 2020."

But it's closed to guests at the moment while I'm A Celebrity 2021 takes place.

The site reopened in spring this year with the public able to tour the famous red telephone box and outdoor areas including the privy and Kiosk Cledwyn's Ye Olde Shoppe. You can read more on this here.

A statement about its closure and reopening plans earlier this year read: "Gwrych Castle will be temporarily closing at 5pm on September 5, 2021, as we are hosting the second season of ITV's I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! and must close to the public.

"All tickets purchased after September 5 for 2021 will be refunded. All annual passes will be extended for the duration that we are closed. Our reopening date in 2022 will be released later this year so keep an eye out on our social media channels."

Among tickets available for next year are the popular ghost hunts as Gwrych Castle is said to be haunted. You can read more about the haunted tales and ghosts of Gwrych Castle here.

Gwrych Castle has been used as a set before

Despite being thrown into the spotlight by I'm A Celebrity, Gwrych Castle is no stranger to showbiz.

It has been used for a few television shows and films in the the past including Prince Valiant.

Sharing a picture from the 1996 set on social media recently, the official Gwrych Castle Instagram account wrote: "Prior to the arrival of I'm A Celebrity, Gwrych Castle was used for filming a few TV programmes and films.

"Prince Valiant was filmed here in 1996 and starred Ron Perlman, Warwick Davisand& Joanna Lumley just to name a few!"

More recently it was used as a backdrop for Louis Vuitton's new men's fall-winter campaign.

The courtyard was the main outdoor area for the campmates in 2020, offering access to the telegraph and home to the privy.

While the well-known red phone box and campfire were replicated the usual backfrop of plush greenery was replaced by a rocky terrain.

However it's expected that the set will look better than ever after fees from last year's production were put towards renovating the 19th century site.

I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! starts Sunday, November 21 at 9pm on ITV.

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