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Spend the night at St. Paul’s Cathedral for just $9

Buildings in London don’t come much more historic than St. Paul’s Cathedral. It was designed by 17th century architect Christopher Wren, hosted the funeral for Winston Churchill and was the scene of the current King’s wedding to his first wife, the then Lady Diana, in 1981.

Now history lovers with a passion for reading can apply to spend the night in the iconic site.

The unique experience is available for just one night only to commemorate World Book Day.

For a grand total of just £7 ($9) two guests will spend the night in the cathedral’s “Hidden Library” on Friday March 15 - eight days after the official World Book Day.

The bookish pair will be the first people to officially sleep in the iconic church since the St. Paul’s Watch protected the building during World War II, according to a press release from Airbnb on Tuesday.

Opening up the doors to the Hidden Library for a once-in-a-lifetime stay, guests will be able to peruse a curated collection of more than 22,000 books for a night of reading. - Jordan Pettitt/Press Association/AP
Opening up the doors to the Hidden Library for a once-in-a-lifetime stay, guests will be able to peruse a curated collection of more than 22,000 books for a night of reading. - Jordan Pettitt/Press Association/AP

The stay can only be booked through Airbnb from 10 a.m. GMT on March 12. It is not a competition but the lucky guests - who must be over 18 and have a verified Airbnb profile - will be selected on a first come, first served basis.

Whoever lands this unique experience will enter the cathedral through the Dean’s door and climb Wren’s famous geometric staircase. Once at the top, the guests will enter the library. They will then be met by the Dean of St. Paul’s who will take them on a tour.

Dinner will be laid on at a nearby restaurant, after which the guests will have the chance to delve into an especially curated collection of more than 22,000 books - from timeless classics to upcoming releases.

Prospective visitors may want to double check the terms and conditions ahead of booking, however. Applicants must be bookworms, the press release says, and must observe library-style regulations. There’s no eating or drinking in the library and conversations must be softly spoken.

And there’s one other minor inconvenience - the lack of en suite facilities. There are no showers and it’s a short walk down a corridor from the hidden library to the nearest toilet.

Breakfast will be on offer the following morning, before the visitors will climb to the top of the cathedral’s dome.

Booklovers will spend the night for just $9 for two people, including dinner and breakfast. - Jordan Pettitt/Press Association/AP
Booklovers will spend the night for just $9 for two people, including dinner and breakfast. - Jordan Pettitt/Press Association/AP

Sandra Lynes Timbrell, director of visitor engagement at St. Paul’s, said in the release: “The recently restored library at St Paul’s has long been a secret gem of the cathedral – cleverly concealed by the ingenious architecture of Christopher Wren. Some very fortunate guests will now get the chance to delve deeper into the history and wonder of St Paul’s with this truly one of a kind stay.”

The opportunity is the latest in a spate of unusual offerings from the accommodation lettings platform, including the chance to spend a night in Santa’s cabin, Shrek’s swamp, Barbie’s DreamHouse and the Moulin Rouge.

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