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Gwrych Castle: The Hauntingly Beautiful Abandoned Place

Gwrych Castle: The Hauntingly Beautiful Abandoned Place

Today I want to tell about a quite fantastic building in North Wales and one that so many people will have passed as they speed along the A55 but very few have seen close up. It is Gwrych Castle. Nestled above the town of Abergele, its sprawling design and numerous turrets stand out along a tree-lined hillside. While from afar it looks like a medieval ruin, it is not as old as it appears.

After watching documentary series ‘Hidden Wales’ with Will Millard we decided to explore this forgotten treasure.

Have you heard of Gwrych Castle?

Gwrych Castle is a country house that was built between 1819 and 1825 in northern Wales. It is interesting in that it was one of the first efforts to recreate medieval architecture, which has resulted in an impressive edifice. Something that is particularly when one takes into consideration its gardens and grounds, which encompass a total of 250 acres.

Until the 1940s, Gwrych Castle was held by the family of its builder. During the Second World War, it was requisitioned for use for housing 200 Jewish refugees.

Afterwards, Gwrych Castle was sold by its owners, which is why it went on to see a number of uses in the following decades. Examples included being a showpiece, an event venue, and even a medieval entertainment center. Over time, Gwrych Castle saw a gradual decline as a number of development plans fell through for various reasons, with the result that it was eventually bought out by the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust in June of 2018.

Gwrych Castle: The Hauntingly Beautiful Abandoned PlaceGwrych Castle, Abergele
Gwrych Castle: The Hauntingly Beautiful Abandoned PlaceGwrych Castle is a Grade I listed 19th-century country house near Abergele in Conwy county borough, Wales
Gwrych Castle: The Hauntingly Beautiful Abandoned PlaceA group of volunteers is helping to stop the rot at Gwrych Castle

Travel Tips: The castle grounds are open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day, with last admission at 2:30 p.m. The main building is a ruin, so there is currently no public access. Entrance to the park is £5 for adults. Official website: Gwrych Castle

Gwrych Castle: The Hauntingly Beautiful Abandoned PlaceHesketh Tower
View from the tower on the wind farm

Thanks to enthusiasm of Mark Baker the life is being breathed back into this beautiful place. An architectural historian at Cardiff University has began a campaign to save the castle aged only 11. Aged just 13, he formed Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust to raise awareness of its history including direct links to the Royal family. The trust bought the castle last year, some restorations works were done and the place was opened to the public.

Gwrych Castle: The Hauntingly Beautiful Abandoned PlaceThe gardener’s tower has been restored to how it would have looked when its last resident, Winifred Bamford-Hesketh, Countess of Dundonald, lived there a century ago.
Gwrych Castle: The Hauntingly Beautiful Abandoned PlaceThe countess' writing room at Gwrych
Gwrych Castle: The Hauntingly Beautiful Abandoned PlaceFamily photo in countess' writing room
Gwrych Castle: The Hauntingly Beautiful Abandoned PlaceRestored bronze cherub ornament

Young enthusiast hopes the castle, which still has 300 acres (121 hectares) of grounds surrounding the walls, turrets and towers, will eventually offer holiday accommodation.

Gwrych Castle: The Hauntingly Beautiful Abandoned PlaceThe power of nature is unparalleled. When it is given the chance to thrive on the remains of human creation, it has the ability to take the neglected and forgotten and turn them into breathtaking sights.
Gwrych Castle: The Hauntingly Beautiful Abandoned PlaceGwrych Castle
Original feature in the tower's window

Travel Tips: How to find – address: Abergele, Conwy, Clwyd, LL22 8ET, Wales. Of the A547 1 mile west of Abergele. OS: SH928 775

What is Gwrych Castle like now?

The place is no longer in its prime, but somehow, that has managed to make it more rather than less interesting. In part, this is because nature has started reclaiming the site, thus resulting in a very distinctive presentation with very little else like it. However, it should also be noted that the relative lack of people has given its grounds a rather haunting feel. Something that might interest those who are seeking an atmospheric feel.

Gwrych Castle: The Hauntingly Beautiful Abandoned Place
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