Nestled next to St. Deiniol’s church in the small village of Hawarden, Flintshire, Gladstone’s Library is a memorial to former four-time prime minister William Gladstone’s life and work. Gladstone became fond of Flintshire, and deliberately situated his library here to benefit the area. You can visit the library as a day
visitor, but staying overnight is highly recommended. You can wander the library until 10 pm as a resident, and are guaranteed an interesting conversation or two, as well as a comfortable night.
I stayed in room 22, the Henry Neville Gladstone room. It looks out onto the churchyard—a gorgeous and tranquil space indeed. The bed was comfortable and complete with a Welsh blanket, the shower just right, and the provisions a delight—Fairtrade tea and coffee, Myddfai luxury toiletries (vegan, so cruelty-free). The Gladstone room has a selection of books you can take to your bedroom, as well as while relaxing on a lovely sofa or comfortable chair and enjoying a beverage from the honor bar—I read Elizabeth J. Duncan’s A Killer’s Christmas in Wales, a perfect choice for the hottest day of the year here, and had a Tomas Watkins Magic ale—a treat indeed.
The library has a bistro, Food For Thought, that serves a comprehensive continental breakfast, included, as well as hot breakfast for a mere £1.50 supplement. You can also purchase lunch and dinner, and have a cream tea with 48 hours’ notice.
The library has writers in residence, two festivals annually, and many short courses and programs. In the interest of reflection and serenity, no TVs are in the individual bedrooms, though there is one in the common room.
Close enough to Manchester to use as a jumping off place after arriving in the country, or for the night before flying. Definitely go to Gladstone’s Library and sleep with the books—it’s practically Harry Potter-esque.
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