Eerie 19th century Gothic castle looks like any other stately home – but it hides a deep secret

VISITORS to a Welsh castle get more than they bargained for when they step inside its Gothic walls.

The stunning Stradey Castle in the small town of Llanelli was built in the 1850s, and visitors could be forgiven for assuming it is simply another historic stately home.

 Historic stately home Stradey Castle in Wales is home to a hidden secret

Beneath the surface thought, there's an unknown side to the castle – it hides an underground tunnel deep below the floorboards.

Guy Fawkes Passage, as it is known by the Mansel-Lewis family who call the impressive 19th century mansion home, winds all the way around the property's foundations.

It is full of creepy twist and turns, complete with underground windows and hanging ivy.

Visitors to Stradey can explore this underground offering for themselves, on tours run by owner Patrick.

 Nicknamed Guy Fawkes passage, the secret underground world dates back to when the house was originally built
 You wouldn't want to go down to the passage alone, where cobwebbed windows and creepy-crawlies lurk
 Winding round the foundations of the house, you wouldn't know the passage was there - until you go deep down below
 With its imposing metal gates that are usually kept locked, the passage has a Gothic feel to it

Patrick and wife Claire run the tours once or twice a year to help finance the costly restoration work on the house.

Visitors can only enter the house and land by appointment.

Claire, a mum of three, said: "It must have been installed when the house was originally built in 1850 because they made an artificial terrace to elevate the house.

"The ground floor was elevated for a better view. That would have been the obvious time to build it while the house was being built from the foundations up.


 With little light coming in from the underground windows, vising the passage is a dark experience
 The passage offers a glimpse at the castle's gothic past


 Owners Peter and Claire Mansel-Lewis run tours around the passage once or twice a year
 Above ground, the beautiful castle has been used as a set for hit TV shows

“It’s very dark in patches with bits of ivy coming down, so it is a spooky experience walking through there, there’s no doubt.

"Our three boys have always loved it and my parents-in-law had five grandsons and it was always a special place for them.

The castle has been in the Mansel family for the past 200 years, and other than an extension in the 1870's, has remained virtually unchanged since it was built.

With some 1,800 acres, the grounds are also home to numerous farms and cottages, many of which are let out to tenants.

 The Grade 2 listed property is also available for wedding venues

Stradey Castle may look familiar to viewers due to its past as a television and film set.

The 2011 Doctor Who Christmas special was shot there, as well as film Heidi and scenes for BBC show Decline and Fall.


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