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Historic South Wales Castle reopens as a Conference Venue

 Stephen Leeke, managing director of the Vale Resort, Ken Skates, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport & Tourism, Gerald Leeke, chairman, Vale Resort and Leekes
A 400 year-old Grade I listed castle in south Wales has reopened as a first-class conference venue, following a multi-million pound refurbishment programme to restore it to its former glory.
Located within the grounds of the Vale Resort, the first phase of a £10 million refurbishment programme into of the 17th-century Hensol Castle has been completed, which has included a complete upgrade of the castle conference rooms and the construction of a new, purpose-built Courtyard Hall.

Courtyard Hall is capable of hosting 320 delegates theatre-style and 200 delegates banquet-style. This is complemented by five smaller meeting rooms in the castle itself, can host between 10-100 delegates per room theatre-style.  

Phase two of the £10 million investment will include adding up to 30 bedrooms and a top-end restaurant with 120 covers, and is expected to be open by late 2016.  

The Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates, officially opened Hensol Castle today (20 May) by unveiling a commemorative plaque.  

The Vale Resort has also invested £1 million in upgrading its 143-bedrooms, including installing new bathrooms together with upgrading soft furnishings, taking the total investment at the resort within the last year to £11 million.   

Stephen Leeke, managing director of the Vale Resort, said: “The redevelopment of the castle has been one of the most important investments the Vale Resort has made to further strengthen its facilities. The historic castle adds another string to our bow by providing an alternative option from our current contemporary offering at the Vale Resort. Event organisers can now choose from two very different venues that offer a combined total of 18 conference and meeting suites.  

“With the conference and event market an important revenue stream for the Vale Resort, currently representing 25% of our business, we anticipate significant growth in this sector on the back of reopening such a unique facility in south Wales. Since announcing the new refurbishment, we’ve already had interest from world-recognised businesses such as British Gas, Princes Gate, the Royal Mint and a number of medical and pharmaceutical companies.”

Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates, said: “Hensol Castle gives the Vale Resort something very unique to offer their business and wedding clients. It is a high quality development which makes the most of the site’s heritage and culture giving its clients a top end experience and giving a piece of the area’s heritage a new lease of life.  I wish the team every success with this new development.”

Dating back to the 17th century, Hensol Castle is steeped in history. Its previous owners include Samuel Richardson, who is credited with introducing the threshing machine to the world of agriculture and “Big Ben”, Sir Benjamin Hall, who was overseer of works for the installation of the clock tower at the Houses of Parliament, which is apparently named after him. The estate was purchased by the Leekes family, who own the Vale Resort, in 2003.  

Hensol Castle had been closed to the public for almost a decade until 2014, when it was opened for weddings for the first time. Until then, it had only been used as a stage set for the television series Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes and Torchwood. 

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