I’m A Celebrity castle among Wales’ most at-risk historical buildings

Virgin Radio

7 Feb 2024, 14:57

Credit: Getty/Rex

Gwrych Castle, once the backdrop for jungle trials, faces challenges beyond creepy crawlies.

Gwrych Castle, the iconic setting for the hit reality series I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here, is now facing a different kind of challenge—it's listed among Wales’s most at-risk historical buildings.

The castle, situated near Abergele in Conwy, served as the unconventional location for the reality show's 2020 and 2021 series due to travel restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jungle Trials to Restoration Trials

Gwrych Castle is among the 2,708 structures listed as at-risk by Cadw, the Welsh government's historic environment service.

The decision to relocate the reality series to the Welsh castle was necessitated by the inability to film in the show's usual location in Australia during the pandemic.

Now, as Wales aims to protect its historic sites, Gwrych Castle finds itself in the spotlight for a different reason.

The Grade I listed country house is in the highest-risk category, along with 714 other buildings and structures.

Cadw's mission is to ensure the preservation of Wales's historical treasures, allowing people to continue visiting and appreciating them.

Among the counties, Powys, Gwynedd, and Pembrokeshire have the highest number of buildings on the at-risk register, with 304, 242, and 241 structures, respectively.

The Gwrych Castle trust received a significant boost with a £2.2 million grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) as part of its COVID response fund last year.

The funds are earmarked for urgent repairs, including the restoration of a permanent roof and floors.

While Gwrych Castle faced the challenge of accommodating celebrities enduring jungle trials in the reality series, its current trials involve preservation and restoration efforts.

The castle's rich history, dating back to the 19th century, makes it a crucial piece of Wales's heritage, and efforts are underway to ensure its continued existence.

As the castle transitions from its reality TV role to a restoration project, it joins the ranks of other historical buildings in Wales that require attention and care.

While I’m A Celebrity, and Ant & Dec, may have moved on to different locations, such as last year in South Africa, the spotlight remains on Gwrych Castle as it undergoes its own set of challenges and transformations.