Gwrych Castle – Hope for the future

Gwrych Castle

Gwrych Castle is quite a distinctive feature on the hill side and can be clearly seen from the A55.

Do you know these places? You see them from your car while passing the area, just far away enough so you can’t make out any details? And every time you wonder what they look up close? For me, Gwrych Castle was one of them until the recent open day.

Gwrych Castle is a story about a family’s vision, magnificent architecture and sad decline. Built between 1812 and 1822 it was built by Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh as a memorial to his mother’s ancestors. It passed down the family and many important architects and designers left their mark on the castle and estate, like the famous theatrical Italian marble staircase and cast iron windows. But when the last sole heiress of the estate died and her request of bequeathing it to King George V and the Prince of Wales was declined, things changed dramatically.

Gwrych Castle3

The main house can be seen on the left

During World War II Gwrych was requisitioned by the Government and housed two hundred Jewish refugees. In 1948 Gwrych was successfully opened to the public and attracted almost 10 million visitors in the next 20 years. After that the gradual decline began. Many owners, many different uses, unsuccessful hotel plans, weather, vandals and New-age travellers ravaged the buildings to the point of near dereliction.

Today, the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust and property developers are still hoping to convert this magnificent building into a five star hotel and restoring it to its former glory.

But enough history for now, lets take a tour.

Gwrych Castle Garden

There are walls, gates and rocks everywhere in the garden.

Gwrych Castle Yew Tree

One of the Yew Trees planted by Robert and Ellen in the formal gardens.

Gwrych Castle Ladys Walk

Lady’s Walk – the formal entrance into the gardens from the castle.

Gwrych Castle Conservatory

Window of the conservatory. Unfortunately there is not much left besides a wall with this window…

Gwrych Castle Gardeners Tower2

…and the adjoining Gardener’s Tower.

Gwrych Castle Gardeners Tower

The Gardener’s Tower will be the first building to be restored on site. This room has already been done and offers great views towards the sea.

Gwrych Castle Nant Y Bella Tower

Nant-Y-Bella Tower offers a viewing platform as well.

Gwrych Castle Gates

One of the many gates on my walk to the main buildings.

Gwrych Castle Towers4

Hesketh Tower. There are many towers at Gwrych Castle and most were copies of the medieval castles of North Wales.

Gwrych Castle Crest

Looks like a part of a family crest but I couldn’t find anything about it.

Gwrych Castle Towers3

Discovering all the buildings

Gwrych Castle Stables1

Even the stables had a tower.

Gwrych Castle Stables2

There was room for 6 horses in the stables. During the 1950s and 60s it was used as a cafe.

Gwrych Castle Stables3

Above the stables was accommodation for grooms and coachmen.

Gwrych Castle Stable Court

Stable Court. The low arches on the left were used as dog kennels.

Gwrych Castle Tower

Gwrych Castle Danger

Just loved this. Looks as old as the buildings.

Gwrych Castle Chapel

The chapel.

Gwrych Castle View

You get magnificent views from up here.

Gwrych Castle Towers2

More towers.

Gwrych Castle Towers5 Gwrych Castle Towers6

Gwrych Castle Main House

View of the main house.

Gwrych Castle Main House2

It must have looked beautiful in its heyday.

Gwrych Castle Main House3

Unfortunately the structure isn’t safe enough to allow us in.

Gwrych Castle Main House4

Probably the remains of the old family crest.

Gwrych Castle Main House5 Gwrych Castle Main House6

Gwrych Castle2

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6 thoughts on “Gwrych Castle – Hope for the future

  1. Disappointed I was unable to view the castle with my 93 year old mum on recent open day. Can I suggest on future open days that some form of transport could be laid on to transfer elderly/less able people from the car park to the castle, ie golf buggy/trailer at a nominal charge.

    Regards, Doug hughes.

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    • Sorry to hear about your problems, Doug. I’m not myself involved with the Gwrych Castle Trust and was just a mere visitor but I’ll pass your comment on via their Facebook page. Thanks for taking the time of reading my article and leaving your comment though.

      Like

    • That is a shame Doug but then again, would you expect to take your mother all over a ruined castle like Conwy or Beaumaris?

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      • Hi Graham. In answer to your question- yes I would expect to take mum to other castles etc as she has already been to Conway castle and other National Trust places all over the country. You don’t have to climb towers etc to appreciate a building.
        Many people are still active in their senior years.

        Regards, Doug

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  2. It’s obvious that you have missed the whole point of the open days. The castle is a ruin and only open two or three times a year. How can you expect to have all the facilities of a Cadw or national trust site when there is basically just an abandoned shell. I find your comments unhelpful and not really in support of the good work the trust are doing at gwrych. Why come here and moan and let down what’s a fantastic effort by a dedicated few? You should be more supportive rather than derogatory.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Totally agree with Anne Willliams – Perhaps Doug, if you researched the castle’s website and discovered just how hard a few ordinary people have worked for years to preserve this magical place you would realise this isn’t a big business venture it is dedicated people trying to keep Gwrych from falling into further disrepair with sheer determination and hands on hard work, the small amount of funding received through open days is better used for tools and equipment not providing transport for people. There is a golf range in the grounds of Gwrych – if your that keen hire your own – its probably a similar charge to the admission at Conwy or any other nt property.

      Liked by 1 person

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