Date Visited: June 2011
If you've ever driven along the A55 past Abergele, you'll probably have seen this place on the wooded hillside to the west of the town. I certainly had several times, but never realised it was derelict.
Like many castles, it isn't actually a proper fortress, it was built in Victorian times when there was very much a trend to create fantasy pastiches of idealised castles for wealthy landowners and businessmen. Although more prevalent in Scotland, this was a great example of a country house built by the landed gentry at great cost - estimated in todays money to be in the region of £80 million.
Like many large country piles it was used by the government in WW2, but in the aftermath wasn't allowed to fall into a ruinous state and be demolished, as was the fate of countless similar properties in the post war period when there simply wasn't the money around for their upkeep. It was used until 1985, but a sorry tale of changes of ownerships, a fire, bankruptcy and such like has seen it fall into a terrible state, to the point where the previous owners to Edwards removed all the wooden floors and tons of rubble.
The current owners (Edwards Property Management) kindly let a contingent from NWEX have a look round. They have some great plans to rebuild the place as a large luxury hotel. Really looking forward to seeing this happen as it could be a stunning venue!
Full history on Wikipedia, and the excellent Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust website.