Photos dating back decades show what I’m A Celebrity castle was really like

Photos that date back to the early 20th century have revealed what the I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! 2020 castle was really like back in the day in all its glory.

During this year’s series of I’m A Celebrity on ITV, celebrities including Jordan North and Shane Richie have already faced a barrage of ghastly trials, from being trapped in a box with 30 snakes to being pelted with rotten tomatoes.

Gwrych Castle in Wales is seemingly the perfect location for this year’s series, after the show was forced to relocate from Australia due to the coronavirus pandemic.

And it appears the castle has always been a particularly spooky setting, as seen in photos taken of the estate decades ago.

A historic property listing for the castle, which dates back to the 1940s, has been unveiled after being discovered by archivists.

In July 1946, the castle was listed for auction by its owners, the Dundonald family.

The auction listing meant the family was giving up its ownership of the castle after around a century.

The listing referred to Gwrych Castle as ‘The Well-known Picturesque Castle’, stating that it was built by Lloyd Bamford Hesketh in the Regency Period and that it purportedly ‘cost a fortune’.

In addition to the listing, old photos of the castle were also released, depicting the castle as an elegant estate, complete with weaponry hanging on the walls, quaint dining tables and stylish furnishings.


In the decades that followed, the castle reportedly fell into a state of disrepair, despite efforts to transform it into a tourist attraction or a hotel.

In the 1946 auction listing, it stated that the castle ‘was built more than 100 years ago between 1812 and 1822 but has been preserved to an exceptional standard, with many original features remaining throughout’.

‘The castle is set some 200ft above sea level on the side of hill, which is backed by woodland and commands magnificent views over the surrounding country and the Irish Sea as far as Liverpool,’ it said.

‘The approach to the castle allows you to pass by the Great Wood, terraced gardens and parkland. The drive passes through massive stone archways to the courtyard and entrance to the castle.’

It also said that the property boasts 26 bedrooms, nine reception rooms and seven bathrooms, with the estate measuring at around 1,400 acres, the equivalent of 700 football pitches.

During the Second World War, the castle provided refuge for Jewish children as part of Operation Kindertransport, rescuing them from danger in Europe.

Following its auction in the 1940s, several different people came into the ownership of Gwrych Castle, before it was asset-stripped around 30 years ago.

After being vandalised, in 2018 it was purchased by the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust.

Before it closed its doors as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the castle had opened to the public so they could access its gardens, with some rooms being used by writing groups.

The 1946 listing for the castle was found by North East Wales Archives, with the pictures being shared by the Gwynedd Archive Service to mark Explore Your Archive week.

I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! continues tonight at 9pm on ITV.

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