ITV’s I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! will relocate to the historic grounds of Gwrych Castle in North Wales.
The camp will be situated near the ruins of the 200-year-old Grade 1 listed country house which 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.
Richard Cowles, Director of Entertainment at ITV Studios, said: “The Australian jungle is such an integral part of the show it was a big challenge to find a UK location where we could continue to deliver what viewers love about I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!”
He continued: “But Gwrych will definitely do that; the Castle sits in an amazing and atmospheric setting on a hillside overlooking the Irish Sea. While there will be plenty of changes required as we move from New South Wales in Australia to North Wales in the UK, we are really excited to see how we can adapt the format and make the Castle our new home for a very special 20th series of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! this autumn.”
The Gwyrch Castle Preservation Trust, which purchased the site in June 2018, says the frontage is 1500ft in length, and there are 18 battlemented towers inspired by the great medieval castles of Wales. The castle stands in 250 acres of gardens and ground.
The preservation trust offers daytime visits to the grounds and nighttime ghost hunts to share the castle’s fascinating history with intrepid visitors.
Chair of the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust, Dr Mark Baker, said in a statement: “I’m absolutely delighted that I’m A Celebrity has chosen Gwrych Castle to be its UK location for the 2020 series. Gwrych Castle is a beautiful grade I listed 19th county house and a must-see destination for tourists visiting Wales. I’m a Celebrity being here will really help support Gwrych Castle and its ongoing restoration as well as giving the region a much-needed economic boost.”
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.
When Lloyd died the Castle passed onto Robert Bamford-Hesketh and his wife, Ellen Jones-Bateman. Robert and Ellen planted much of the present gardens with their enormous Monkey Puzzles and Yew trees.
Winifred, the couple’s only surviving child, had an arranged marriage to a Scottish nobleman, the 12th Earl of Dundonald, who garnered fame by leading the charge at the Relief of Ladysmith, during the Boer War. The couple had a fractious relationship, with the Earl spending most of his time in Scotland, while Winifred remained at the castle.
The Countess of Dundonald was an important patron of Welsh art, music and literature during the early twentieth century. She was extraordinary woman for her times, defeating the misogynistic conventions and limited expectations of women 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.
During World War II, the Government used the castle to house 200 Jewish refugees run by the Jewish Zionist youth movement Bnei Akiva.
The castle began to decline in 1985, and 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.
In 1996, it served as the backdrop for the film Prince Valiant starring Joanna Lumley and Edward Fox.
During Tavaglione’s ownership, historian Mark Baker campaigned for the castle to be restored to its former glory. He was instrumental 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.
According to the preservation trust, the Countess’s 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 malevolent spirit of the Countess’s tyrannical husband, the Earl of Dundonald, is said to still stalk the castle he stole from her after her death.
For more information about visiting the castle here.
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