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Gladstone's Library
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Reviews (194)
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All reviewscommon roompeace and quiethonesty barrooms are comfortablesit quietlyunique experiencedon t expecthistoric buildingbeautiful surroundingsother guestsdecent coffeedietary needsglynne armspot of teafood for thoughthome cookedsunday lunch
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Reviewed 4 May 2012

My first time here, my husband's 5th. He has raved about the Library and its accommodation for years . . .I now understand why.

The setting is gorgeous, the building beautiful, interesting and friendly fellow guests and staff. The books are amazing, breakfast and dinner delicious and the bedrooms have all that you need plus incredibly comfy beds.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank retsehcniw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 April 2012

I used the library for a training programme. The room I had was lovely. It had natural light and I asked for a clock and the receptionist found me one (great customer service). The staff are very helpful and the ambience is lovely - a change from inpersonal hotels. There is an on site retaurant which serves tea/coffee and food. This is excellent and good value. It is nice for course delegates to have a good choice of coffees and food. Timings are flexible to suit which is another advantage. There is free parking and a very relaxed feel to the place which really adds to people feeling they are getting away from it.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled on business
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2  Thank KfromWales
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 April 2012

Gladstone’s Library was founded by Victorian Statesman, William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898), arguably Britain's greatest Prime Minister, and the most significant Anglican lay person of the last two centuries. Gladstone, a millionaire, lived in the Castle in the village of Hawarden in North Wales, just a few miles from Chester. This is the site of St Deiniol's Library which Gladstone founded in 1889. It is the only Prime Ministerial Library in the UK and is unique in being a residential library with 26 study bedrooms, some now fully refurbished and en-suite.

It’s a fascinating Victorian building; with the double-tier library occupying one entire wing and the residential areas including the dining room, kitchen and chapel the other. The bedrooms and offices are spread across the whole of the first floor. You quickly get to find your way around as the building is not actually that large. I decided, after my week, that this is a rather special and unusual place.

The library is galleried with access to the second floor up some very narrow, winding and rickety stairs with rope handholds! Here you go back in time. This is an old-style ‘quiet’ library with individual study tables with desk lamps and old comfy leather chairs. It’s extremely conducive to study and thought, which of course is the USP of the place. It’s why it works so well. You come here specifically to think, write, study, reflect and retreat. It’s open in the evening until 10pm which I found to be a real boon.

The book collection covers mainly Theology and History with the emphasis on publications from the late Victorian period. The GladCat computer system makes finding books within the library very easy indeed. There’s a thrilling touch of serendipity to come across books with Gladstone’s own pencilled annotations!

The property has a mixture of older and the newer refurbished bedrooms. I had one of the older rooms (Room 7, no view) which was very spacious and with the bathroom directly opposite. There are no TV’s in any of the bedrooms which I think is good! Broadband is fast, free and available throughout the building although one guest said it didn’t work in some of the bedrooms. I had no problems. One bug-bear however was the horrible noise late at night and early in the morning caused by the expansion of the hot water pipes!

I found that in a very short time, the place draws you into its own daily rhythm. You feel very much apart from the day-to-day. There’s a lovely little modern Chapel on the ground floor. Communion takes place each weekday morning at 8am, following the Church of Wales Anglican liturgy.

The ‘Food for Thought’ Coffee Shop replaces the dining room during the day and provides snacks and drinks. I found the food overall – both in quantity and quality – adequate but not noteworthy. After dinner, the Gladstone Lounge takes on the atmosphere of a Club or Common Room. An honesty bar operates from this room. There is a good selection of daily newspapers available both in the Dining Room and in the Lounge. The Fox and Grapes, just a short distance away across the road, serves good beer and food if, as I did, you want to get away from the library for just a while.

‘Be inspired with the belief that life is a great and noble calling, not a mean and grovelling thing that we are to shuffle through as best we can, but an elevated and lofty destiny’. W. E Gladstone.

Room Tip: Older rooms = more space. Newer rooms = ensuite.
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled solo
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6  Thank GB01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 April 2012

Thoughtful kitchen staff good with allergies. Library good on period politics, social conditions, the Christian faith and there is a new small Islamic reading room. Mattresses in some rooms may too hard for some. Generally a very relaxing place. Some Christian pastoral support. A glass of wine available with lunch or evening meal, and there is a pub across the road. Some Christian services in simple chapel.

Room Tip: higher floors can have awkward access but may be slightly quieter as less people would walk past
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Colsandannie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 March 2012

I have just returned from a days writing course, indcluded was a three course meal and only half an hour away. Shame to say I have never been before, It is a fabulous place fabulous meal and the library was amazingly tranquil. The course was excellent.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled on business
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Thank Gadaboutee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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