Cool Bookish Places

Cool Bookish Places: Gladstone’s Library

Jeff O'Neal

CEO and co-founder

Jeff O'Neal is the executive editor of Book Riot and Panels. He also co-hosts The Book Riot Podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @thejeffoneal.

In 1889, British Prime Minister William Gladstone got out a wheelbarrow and began moving his personal collection of 32,000 books from Hawarden Castle in Wales to their new home about a quarter of a mile away. The new building, now known as Gladstone’s Library, was intended to make his collection available to the public, to scholar’s, readers, and writers of all kinds. Gladstone envisioned it as a “residential” library, where patrons could stay overnight, take their meals, and get immersed in the collection and their own projects.

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Main reading room and collection at Gladstone’s Library


Today, Gladstone’s library still carries out that mission, with affordable rooms available to the public, a generous endowment seeded by Gladstone himself, and a vibrant line-up of literary events. Guests have access to the collection and to the grounds, which seems like a downright dream.

gladstone library exterior

Gladstone’s Library


Guest rooms are clean, simple, and recently renovated. Most importantly, they are also very reasonable at about $75 a night, which includes dinner and breakfast. (Though who is going to spend much time in there with all of those books just waiting?)

gladstone bedroom

One of the guest rooms at Gladstone’s.


One of the charms of Gladstone’s is the opportunity to spend time not only with a huge collections of books in a beautiful setting, but to be around other people who love books, whether it’s at a themed conversation dinner, at a writing workshop, or just hanging around in one of the lounges and sitting rooms that encourage conversation.

gladstone library lounge

Game room and sitting room at Gladstone’s.


But what you come for is to spend time reading and researching in one of the world’s great bookish destinations. So, when are you going?

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