You Can Stay The Night at St. Paul’s Cathedral Library For Only 7GBP on World Book Day
Taste & Travel2 Minutes Read

You Can Stay The Night at St. Paul’s Cathedral Library For Only 7GBP on World Book Day

March 13, 2024 Share

Calling all book, history and architecture nerds, and… everyone else. You can now book a sleepover at St. Paul´s library.

St. Paul’s Cathedral has dominated the London’s skyline for over three centuries. But whilst we are all familiar with the distinguished stone dome, not many know of the cathedral’s prestigious library. For the first time since the tumultuous nights of World War II, when brave souls guarded its sacred halls, the cathedral is opening its doors for an overnight stay in its hidden library. Yes, you heard right—a chance to snooze among the sacred and the scholarly.

This event is set to take place on March 15, in celebration of World Book Day, and only costs 7GBP.

Image courtesy of Londonphile

What is Included

Upon arrival at the Dean’s Door, visitors embark on an adventure beginning with a climb up the ancient, spiral staircase crafted by Sir Christopher Wren over 300 years ago. The journey reveals the secret library, home to more than 22,000 books, where guests will be surrounded by the splendor of centuries-old tomes. The experience is made even more memorable with a meticulously prepared dinner and breakfast, served in this remarkable setting.

During their stay, guests are treated to an intimate tour led by the Dean of St. Paul’s, featuring the cathedral’s famed dome which offers panoramic views of the city. Adding to the allure, visitors will have the exclusive chance to explore unreleased novels from Penguin Random House US, merging the worlds of literature and history in an unmatched celebration for book lovers.

The History of the Hidden Library

The tale of St. Paul’s Cathedral Library is as enthralling as the iconic structure itself, capturing centuries of literary, restoration, and conservation adventures. Tucked away at the Triforium level behind the south-west tower, its creation in 1709 was a stroke of brilliance by Sir Christopher Wren. Born from the ashes of the Great Fire of London in 1666, which obliterated its predecessor, the library was reborn through the determined efforts of the Commissioners for rebuilding St. Paul’s. They set about replenishing its shelves, acquiring an array of precious Bibles and liturgical works, alongside a significant donation in 1712 from Henry Compton, the then Bishop of London, injecting nearly two thousand volumes into its collection. The library expanded further in the 19th century, enriching its catalog with extensive ecclesiastical writings and sermons, reflecting the sermons delivered within the Cathedral and at Paul’s Cross.

Now, the library boasts an awe-inspiring inventory of over 22,000 books and manuscripts, including gems from the dawn of printing. This collection stands as a testament to the ecclesiastical and historical narratives, featuring medieval manuscripts and volumes that are remarkable not only for their size and artistry but also for the insights they offer into cathedral life across the ages. Among its prized possessions is the William II Charter from July 1099/1100, the Cathedral Archives’ oldest artifact, verifying the canons of St. Paul’s authority over their lands. Dedicated conservation efforts have been crucial in safeguarding these precious volumes and the library’s ambiance, preserving the unique aroma of vanilla and leather that permeates this enchanting space.

How Can One Apply

This unforgettable opportunity is available for booking through Airbnb, starting March 12, for the symbolic price of £7. This initiative, aimed at commemorating World Book Day, offers a rare glimpse into the heart of London’s cultural and historical fabric. Those quick enough to act can secure their place in this once-in-a-lifetime experience, immersing themselves in the beauty, history, and literary treasures of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

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Author: Laura Scalco
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