February 4, 2019
A 130-year-old library in Wales also serves as a bed & breakfast
by Stephanie DeLuca
Spending a vacation surrounded by books seems to be a popular idea. Emma Cubellis over at BookBub brings us news of Gladstone’s Library in Northern Wales, UK, a 130-year-old library that also serves as a charming bed and breakfast.
The library describes itself as a “residential library and meeting place which is dedicated to dialogue, debate and learning for open-minded individuals and groups, who are looking to explore pressing questions and to pursue study and research in an age of distraction and easy solutions.”
William Gladstone, a politician who served as prime minister of the UK from 1868-1864, founded the library using his own personal collection of 150,000 books. Before his death, Gladstone “began to think about making his personal library accessible to others,” according to the library’s website. Donating both his books and his money, Gladstone put into motion the first steps that resulted in the institution that welcomes readers, writers, and overnight guests today.
Gladstone’s has 26 rooms available, each filled with their own unique selection of books. Guests are welcome to stay for a night or up to months at a time. In the tradition of Gladstone’s belief that books should be accessible to all, the library tries to keep its prices low and offers scholarships to those in need of financial aid.
This seems like the perfect place to curl up in bed with a book and do nothing but read all day—but Gladstone’s also keeps their events calendar packed with bookish activities that are sure to lure guests out of their rooms. In February and November of each year, Hearth, a daylong writing seminar, offers attendees the ability to “sit around the library’s cozy fire with four distinguished authors. Author share tips and tricks of the trade, like how to get your work published. Then, together, the group writes, reads, and critiques one another’s pieces,” explains Cubellis.
Gladfest, a three-day book festival held in September, welcomes bestselling authors for talks and discussions. Well known for their Writers in Residence program, Gladstone hosts published writers for months at a time, giving guests the ability to take writing classes taught by the authors.
Gladstone’s even offers a bistro, Food for Thought, so you never have to leave, even when you get hungry. Forget visiting Gladstone’s just for a vacation; can I live there?
Stephanie DeLuca is the director of publicity at Melville House.