Last year's I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! has breathed new life into Conwy’s Gwrych Castle
An ancient north Wales building in chilly November bears little resemblance to the steamy Australian jungle, but Gwrych Castle in Conwy proved to be the perfect location for ITV’s Covid friendly I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!
And thanks to the financial injection from ITV and the immense national interest, restoration of the castle has moved two years ahead of schedule.
Since the castle reopened recently, visitors can see newly restored sections of the building as well as rooms which formed the set of the show, including celebrities' outdoor toilets and the kiosk where they collected daily treats won in challenges.
"The show really accelerated the restoration process,” says Mark Baker, chairman of the trust. "We had everything in place - expert advice and specialist contractors - and were just starting to get funds together to get the work done. But ITV paid for major restoration work on things like wall tops and window lintels. We're now about two years ahead of where we planned to be.
"It means that fairly soon we can open the interior of the castle building itself for the first time, including the famous marble staircase which the celebrities were often seen walking up and down. It's simply been too dangerous up to now."
The public have been visiting since restrictions eased on the 12th April and the renewed interest has been incredible, according to staff.
"People just keep saying how amazing it is,” says Thomas Rye, who works at the castle. “As soon as cars arrive at the gate, you can see the excitement on children's faces.
"As well as visitors, we've had a hundred people email about volunteering here. It's been great to see the community getting involved in the castle."
To read more about this amazing building, including an in-depth interview with trust chairman Mark Baker, check out our feature The Man Who Saved I'm A Celeb's Gwych Castle. For information about visiting the castle, visit: www.gwrychcastle.co.uk