A while ago, I read over on Janet‘s blog about this amazing place called Gladstone’s Library in North Wales, a Victorian library where you can stay overnight. I filed away the idea in the part of my brain labelled ‘good ideas for presents’, and so when I was looking for something for my mom earlier this year, a trip there seemed like the ideal gift. My parents have worked really hard over the past few months helping us with our house renovations, so S and I feel they deserve extra-special birthday presents this year (my dad’s isn’t until December, so we have a few more weeks to get his right!). So back in April I presented my mom with a voucher for dinner, bed and breakfast for the two of us, and knowing we had a busy summer ahead, we booked it for last weekend.
It’s quite a schlep from Bristol, but the 4.5 hour journey soon melted away as soon as we saw the library.
Beautifully built in red sandstone, it resembles an Oxbridge college with its wings and carved statues.
Gladstone’s makes it clear on its website that it’s not a hotel, but a library with accommodation, so if you’re expecting room service and a TV in your bedroom then this isn’t the place to come. If however, beautiful surroundings and one of the best libraries ever are your thing, then you won’t be disappointed.
After dinner we retired to the Gladstone Room to take advantage of the honesty bar and to play a game of Scrabble.
Gladstone’s is also very close to Chester so we called there for a few hours on the Sunday. I hadn’t been there before, and my only knowledge of it came from watching Hollyoaks in the nineties and early noughties, but there wasn’t an angsty teenager in sight, just a lovely city with a beautiful river and gorgeous medieval buildings.
The weather was so warm and we ate lunch outside in a café on the Roman city walls – perfect.
If you’re looking for an unusual place for a weekend get away or want to surprise a book-loving friend, you have to visit Gladstone’s – I can’t recommend it enough!