Restoration of the castle used in last year’s I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! has moved ahead of schedule after featuring on the show.
Gwrych Castle, near Abergele, Conwy county, replaced the series’ home in the Australian jungle last November and December because of the Covid pandemic.
It has reopened to the public for the first time since the show aired, with extra renovation work done.
The castle trust’s chief said the work was now two years ahead of schedule.
Since the castle has reopened, visitors have been able to see parts of the building which formed the set of the show.
These include the celebrities’ outdoor toilets and the kiosk where they collected daily treats won in challenges.
Gwrych Castle was open as a visitor attraction until the 1980s but since then, several owners failed to make the building a success and it fell into a near-derelict ruin without roof or floors.
The Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust finally managed to buy the building in 2018 and has been working to stabilise it since then.
Mark Baker, chairman of the trust, said: “The show really accelerated the restoration process.
“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 a 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.”
It is also hoped the throne used to crown podcaster and presenter Giovanna Fletcher as the series winner will also be able to go on display when visitors are allowed inside the castle.
Thomas Rye, who works at the castle, said visitors had been coming from all over Wales and England since coronavirus restrictions eased on Monday.
He said: “We weren’t sure what it would be like opening up again, but reaction from visitors has been extremely positive.
“People just keep saying how amazing it is. As soon as cars arrive at the gate, you can see the excitement on children’s faces.
“The nation was watching Gwrych last year. Since then, interest has shot up.
“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.”
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Original posted at www.bbc.com