ITV has finally announced that the 20th series of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! will be filmed at the historic Gwrych Castle in Abergele, North Wales.
Ant & Dec will host an adapted version of the show, live every night on ITV from the castle this Autumn. As with the regular series, we’ll see the celebrities undertake gruelling trials and fun-filled (for us viewers) challenges to win food and treats in the lead up to one of them being crowned, for the first time ever, King or Queen of the Castle.
No sooner had GWRYCH CASTLE reopened following the pandemic, than it closed again, only this time, millions of us will get to enjoy this magnificent setting. Their website homepage should have been our first indication that something was going on.
With views of the beautiful Welsh countryside, Gwrych Castle is nestled in a tree lined hillside overlooking the Irish Sea. The atmospheric ruined castle with its sprawling design and turrets is spread across 250 acres of gardens and grounds. Actually, when you see the castle from the sky, you can see why the producers have picked the ideal location. It has everything the Australian jungle has to offer, apart from the weather.
This will be a massive boost for the castle and preservation trust, both financially and with the increased awareness it will bring their campaigns.
Dr Mark Baker, Chair of the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust said
“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.”
Lord Elis-Thomas, The Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism said
“We’re extremely pleased to welcome such a large production to Wales, offering a chance to showcase a spectacular part of our country to significant audiences across the UK. We’re looking forward to working with the team on this production and hope to use this opportunity to show some of what North Wales has to offer.”
Andrew White is the Director Wales, National Lottery Heritage Fund. He said:
“We have been delighted to support Gwrych Castle and it is great to hear it will be having its moment in the limelight. The series will be a wonderful opportunity to showcase the beauty of north Wales as well as show how a historic building can engage a modern audience in innovative ways. We hope it will help to boost support for the castle in the long term.”
Richard Cowles is the Director of Entertainment at ITV Studios, who make the show. He 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! 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.”
We can’t wait for the show to begin, it’s always a highlight of the winter months. When those familiar drums of the show start, we know we’ll be back into another season of ‘must-watch’ TV.
Actually, the team here at SOUTH WALES LIFE are friends with the man who wrote the I’m A Celebrity theme tune, a fact we share every year when the series begins. And we’ve just done the same with you.
Incidentally, his name is Grant Buckerfield, an Australian who lived and worked, not far from us here in South Wales, for many years. He now resides in Sunny California.
So what of the show and Gwrych Castle?
The South Wales Life
Top Ten I’m A Celebrity – Castle Facts
- The 19th-century country house is located near Abergele in Conwy, North Wales. The castle Gwrych was built between 1810 and 1825 by Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh. (We do mean the years not 10 past and 25 past six…….)
- The celebrities might be ravenous if the Bushtucker Trials haven’t been going well, but the same can’t be said for the crew. They can chomp through as much food as they like, pretty much any time of the day.
- The castle played an important role in World War II, it was used to house 200 Jewish refugees.
- On average, there are something like 250,000 cockroaches, 153,000 crickets, 2.5 million mealworms, 400 spiders, 500 rats and 30 snakes bred for each series.
- The castle also served as the training grounds for English World Middleweight boxing champion Randolph Turpin in the early 1950s.
- Celebrities are allowed to make one call home before their mobiles and laptops are taken off them. The wardrobe department also make last-minute adjustments as apparently most celebrities insist they’re a size 10
- Gwrych Castle became known as “The Showpiece of Wales” and over the years has attracted tens of thousands of visitors.
- Ant & Dec and the other presentation team, along with friends and family of the celebrities stay at the super lavish Palazzo Versace Hotel, most of the crew stay in the holiday resort of Coolangatta. We’ve checked out accommodation near the castle and there’s the Bull Hotel on Castle Street, the Beach Caravan Park may be able to squeeze everyone in. There’s also Hapus Luxury Yurts nearby, or of course they could always risk a spooky night in the castle itself.
- The ruins are said to be haunted by the ghost of the previous owner, the Countess of Dundonald.
- The Woman in White, as she is known by locals, is said to be angry that her husband stripped the castle of her valuables and sold them.
This photograph was taken 10 years ago, and while you could easily think it was a set-up, the room the pale young woman is standing in is the Banqueting Hall. The floorboards below that window are completely rotted away, making it impossible for her, or anyone to stand there.
The ghosts of past gamekeepers are also said to stalk the castle’s grounds, which include a creepy pet cemetery.
One of the castle volunteers said…..
“The handrail gave way to nothingness and I felt something propel me up the top three stairs. Seconds later, my colleague told me the butler died right there on that same staircase. I hadn’t told her what just happened!”
The regular organised ghost hunts at the castle are fantastic events, and always well supported. Once the I’m A Celebrity thing is done and dusted they’ll start them up again. We have no doubt they’ll be even more popular, especially as the show producers have said that some of the challenges will include a spooky spectre theme.
The Ghost Hunts will run throughout next year from 8pm to 1am and involve walking the grounds of the castle, so you need to take appropriate clothing and footwear. The dates are…..
23rd & 31st October & 6th November: Halloween Ghost Hunts
31st December: New Year’s Eve Ghost Hunt
If you’d like more details, go here. SPOOKY
In the meantime, if you’d like to see what the castle is like before the show gets there, take a look at this walk through by ABERGELE TV.
When the show is over, and it’s back to business as usual at Gwrych, we suspect there’ll be a huge amount of visitors over the following months. They have plenty on offer too.
Facilities and Access
• Free parking and parking for coaches.
• We are dog friendly but ask for dogs to be kept on leads.
• Toilets on site.
The main building is a ruin so there is currently no public access.
• Please read our accessibility statement below.
10:00am – 5:00pm each day with last admission at 4:00pm
£5 for adults
£2.50 for children
£15 for a family ticket – 2 adults & 3 children
To find out more about this incredible castle, just head here. GWRYCH