Now that Apple has been granted rights for selling songs from The Beatles in the iTunes store and Abbey Road has now gained its right to be deemed a national British Heritage spot, isn’t it about time we took a road trip to the place where all this pop-rock mahem started? Liverpool’s where it’s at.
Liverpool doesn’t start or end with The Beatles, even if the band’s heritage sights bring in masses of tourists to this northern city every year. Liverpool was the European Capital of Culture in 2008 and to get ready, the city gave all its old buildings face lifts, cleared out abandoned warehouses to make room for fancy loft apartments and chic stores and trendy cafés.
Today it quietly rivals Manchester for northern capital, but if you ask a Liverpool local, there is no competition. Here are five classic sights for any Liverpool virgin with a liking for The Beatles to take in.
Hard Day’s Night Hotel
If you think this classic spot is going to be your solution to finding a cheap hotel in Liverpool, think again. 110 rooms and two luxury suites, this hotel is stuck in the 1950’s, outfitted in Beatles-era décor. Visit the hotel lounge for your afternoon spot of tea. You’ll recognize works on the wall by famous Beatles photographers and Klaus Voorman.
The Cavern Club
This night club, which opened in 1957, has seen more famous British musicians than any other. The Cavern Club was where Brian Epstein first heard the group play during their regular lunchtime show in 1961. It began as a jazz club in the basement of a fruit packing factory and has seen the likes of Elton John, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Who, Queen and John Lee Hooker before their fame days. It’s located on Matthew Street.
Paul and John’s family homes
Paul McCartney (20 Forthlan Road) and John Lennon’s (Mendips) homes growing up are now owned by the National Trust. For a mere £18 you can gain entrance to both these historical houses trapped in retro style. Check out Lennon’s bedroom, stand in the spot where the band’s earliest songs were composed and sit at the kitchen table where Paul used to enjoy his own cup of afternoon tea.
Penny Lane & Strawberry Fields
There’s no mystery behind these legendary songs. Penny Lane Junction was where the fab-four met up before heading into the city centre. Not unlike Abbey Road, it’s not crazy to see tourists getting their photo taken with this street sign, known to be the most stolen street sign in the north-west. Strawberry Field was a Salvation Army Children’s home in a suburb of Liverpool during the band’s early years, today it is a church and prayer room. The famous iron gates still remain.
Beatles Story Museum
The city’s most popular museum won’t shed light on any juicy details from the band but it is a warehouse of cool memorabilia which is worth seeing. This includes a full-sized replica of the Cavern Club dated to the 1960s as well as the Abbey Road studio where the band’s first singles were recorded. George’s first guitar, in rough condition, is there to inspire any broke musician to never give up.
From London it’s a mere 4 hour drive to Liverpool, a perfect destination for a weekend getaway or road trip. Hire a car and get your closest friends together, create a Beatles mix-tape and get on your way! Any other Beatles’ spots you’d recommend?
Imgs: Hotel: asifforlife / Cavern: duncanh1 / House: jenniferboyer / Penny Lane: quasproduction / Museum: wiki, Flickr cc.