Gwrych Castle: everything about the North Wales castle and gardens where I’m A Celebrity 2020 will be filmed - and if it’s haunted
The new filming location for the 2020 series of the reality TV show will be in a “haunted” castle in North Wales
The makers of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here have changed the programme’s filming location this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, moving from Australia to the UK.
It has been announced that Gwrych Castle in Wales will be acting as the new backdrop.
This is everything you need to know about the castle and who is in the lineup for the 2020 season of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.
What’s the history of Gwrych Castle?
Gwrych Castle was built by Lloyd Hesketh Bamford Hesketh, the heir of the Lloyds of Gyrch, from c.1810.
The castle was then passed into the Earls of Dundonald through marriage to the Bamford Hesketh heiress, Winifred.
During World War II, the castle was requisitioned as part of Operation Kindertransport, and in 1946, the Dundonald family sold the castle, ending almost 1,000 years of continuous family ownership.
In 1948, Leslie Salts purchased the castle and turned it into the Showplace of Wales for 20 years.
In 1968, Salts sold the castle, and it operated as a medieval entertainment venue, with jousting, banquets and markets.
In 1990, an American property development company purchased the castle with plans to transform it into an opera centre and hotel - however, these plans never materialised.
Instead, the castle was stripped of its assets and suffered severely from vandalism.
In 1997, the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust was founded by Mark Baker. The Trust forced the absentee American owner to sell the castle in 2006 to Clayton Hotels, who planned to turn the building into a luxury hotel.
Work for these plans started, but were never completed, as Clayton Hotels went into receivership during the credit crunch. Once again, the castle was purchased by another property developer who started hotel development plans - but in 2018, the planning permission ran out, and the castle was offered up for sale by auction.
Thanks to intervention by the National Heritage Memorial and the Richard Broyd Charitable Trust, the castle was purchased by Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust, on behalf of Wales.
Is the castle haunted?
Apparently ghost sightings aren’t uncommon at Gwrych Castle. The castle offers events like ghost hunts and asks visitors if they are brave enough to spend a night in the “haunted castle”.
According to the Gwrych Castle website, the Countess’s Tower is “one of the most paranormally active areas in the castle”. The Tower is situated in the gardens, and is said to be haunted by the Countess herself.
In the Chapel, Bakehouse and Coachhouse, people have reported experiencing visits from the likes of the old gamekeeper, a distressed dairy maid and other household staff.
Also said to stalk the grounds, is the dark spirit of the Countess’s tyrannical husband, the Earl of Dundonald.
Where is the castle?
Gwrych Castle, which is situated in 250 acres of gardens and grounds, is a Grade I listed country house found in the town of Abergele, in north Wales,
Throughout the year, Gwrych Castle is open for curious guests to visit.
Admission for adults is £5, for children it’s £2.50 and for a family ticket, which includes two adults and three children, it’s £15.
Who is in the lineup of I’m A Celebrity 2020?
The lineup for the 2020 series of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here has not yet been officially announced yet.
But rumours for this year’s contestants include:
- Jenny Ryan (The Chase)
- Lacey Turner (Eastenders)
- Tommy Fury (Professional boxer/Love Island)
- Tamzin Outhwaite (Eastenders)
- Mark Labbett (The Chase)
- Amy Hart (Love Island)
- Nick Grimshaw (Radio 1 host)
- Clive Tyldesley (ITV sports broadcaster)
- Jack P Shepherd (Coronation Street)
- Michelle Visage (RuPaul’s Drag Race judge)
- John Bercow (Former Speaker of the House of Commons)
- Maya Jama (DJ)
- Jason Manford (Comedian)
- Jessie J (Singer)
- Baga Chipz (RuPaul’s Drag Race UK)
Speaking about the change in location, Kevin Lygo, ITV’s Director of Television, said: “We announced last week that we were doing all we could to make the series and I’m thrilled that we can bring the show to viewers albeit not in the jungle.
“We have a great team both on and off screen and I know they will produce a hugely entertaining series.”
Director of Entertainment at ITV Studios, Richard Cowles, said: “We pulled out all the stops to try and make the series happen in Australia. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and despite us looking at many different contingencies, it became apparent that it just wasn’t possible for us to travel and make the show there.
“However, we are all really excited about a UK version of I’m A Celebrity. While it will certainly be different producing the show from the UK, the same tone and feel will remain.
“Our celebrities will probably have to swap shorts for thermals but they can still look forward to a basic diet of rice and beans and plenty of thrills and surprises along the way.”