Lonely Planet Writer

Attention book lovers; you can now have an overnight stay at the beautiful Gladstone's Library in Wales

A library in North Wales is offering guests the chance to become truly immersed in the world of literature by enabling them to sleep in the historic building and to read in the beautiful surroundings after hours.

The library houses over 250,000 books and journals.
The library houses over 250,000 books and journals. Image by Melissa Cross
Gladstones Library
Gladstone’s Library offers guests the chance to become fully immersed in the world of literature. Image by Melissa Cross

Located eight miles from Chester in the small village of Hawarden, Gladstone’s is the only residential library in the United Kingdom, offering a selection of 26 boutique bedrooms with en-suite facilities, as well as housing  a unique collection of over 250,000 printed items. Guests staying at the library have extended use of the reading rooms from 9am to 10pm after doors close to the general public at 5pm, and library books can be taken to bedrooms. Rooms have Wi-Fi access, tea and coffee making facilities and radios. In order to preserve the ethos of study and reflection, none of the bedrooms have TVs, although there is a dedicated television room on the ground floor available for all guests to use.

Gladstones Library
One of the bedrooms available to guests at Gladstone’s Library. Image by Gladstone’s Library
Gladstones Library
The rooms have Wi-Fi, tea and coffee making facilities and radios. Image by Gladstone’s Library

Gladstone’s Library also has a “Food for Thought” bistro that serves breakfast to guests, as well as offering lunch and evening meals. The estate offers picturesque views of the surrounding countryside, with permits available for guests to walk in the woods around Hawarden Castle nearby. Other popular destinations in the area for visiting include the historic market town of Mold, St Winefride’s Well, the coastal town of Llandudno and Snowdonia located approximately an hour and a half’s drive away.

The brightly lit Gladstone Room in the library.
The brightly lit Gladstone Room in the library. Image by Craig Colville
The exterior of the historic Gladstones Library.
The exterior of the historic Gladstone’s Library. Image by Melissa Cross

The library was founded in 1894 by William Gladstone, who wheeled 32,000 books three quarters of a mile from his home at Hawarden Castle in order to share his personal collection with anyone wishing to read. Following his death in 1898, a public appeal was launched for funds to provide a permanent building to house the collection and to replace the temporary structure that had been in place.

Gladstones Library
A guest enjoys some quiet reading in the library. Image by Melissa Cross
The permanent library built following the death of William Gladstone in 1898.
The permanent library built following the death of William Gladstone in 1898. Image by Melissa Cross

The library holds monthly events as well as a number of literary festivals every year. Rooms at Gladstone’s Library start from £63 including breakfast. More information on booking is available at their website.