A HIDDEN jewel of great British architecture is set to be uncovered for the first time in 50 years this festive season.

Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust is set to open doors on their Grade I listed castle's chapel to revellers visiting its annual Christmas grotto and ghost hunters exploring the site on New Year’s Eve.

In addition to festive fun, visitors to the fairytale castle, which overlooks Abergele, will be able to see the remains of works by celebrated architects George Edmund Street and Detmar Blow.

Dr Mark Baker, chair of the Trust, said: “It is a significant moment for the trust as it is a huge honour to open up parts of the main castle building that no one has really seen for 50 years.

“The castle is filled with such stories and it was only during conservation works that we discovered that two of Britain’s most interesting and famous architects had a direct hand in creating the chapel."

The chapel began its life 1820 as the carpenter’s workshop for the castle and was designed by the owner of the house, Lloyd Hesketh Bamford Hesketh.

Street converted the room into a private chapel for the owner’s wife Ellen Bamford-Hesketh in 1870, following her patronage for churches, schools and associated houses in Llanddulas and Towyn.

The architect also designed the National School in Abergele and carried out a refurbishment of the church in Llysfaen.

Unfortunately due to subsequent works undertaken by the Countess of Dundonald, much of Street's work has been replaced.

As no records have been found which show what the chapel was like, a certain degree of mystery shrouds the room prior to the Countess' involvement 1895. It appears to have been decommissioned as a chapel and used as a sitting room before Blow, one Britain’s greatest arts and crafts architects, was commissioned to revise the castle shortly before the First World War.

Dr Baker said: "The chapel is the first step in a very long journey and will be the first foothold in the main building. 2019 is the year of master planning and developing our vision for the future."

To preview the chapel before it opens to the public in 2019, visit Father Christmas at his grotto every weekend this month, or join the hunt on New Years Eve. For more information head to gwrychcastle.co.uk.