I have always felt like I have old soul and this is often reflected in my musical choices. Since I was a young girl, I’ve absolutely loved the Beatles’ music. Being raised by a music teacher, I was listening to the Beatles, Huey Lewis, Tower of Power, and the likes while others were still listening to kids pop. When we moved to England I knew I had to make a pilgrimage of sorts to Liverpool to see where it all began for the greatest band in history. And when my dad came for a trip this summer, I knew it was the perfect time. Who better to experience the mecca of Beatledom with than the one who introduced me to them in the first place.
Below I’ll share an itinerary for the best Liverpool Beatles day possible.
Before the day: book your trip on the Magical Mystery Tour run by the Cavern Club and departing from the Albert Docks where the Beatles Story museum is also located. Book an early afternoon time so you have time to do the museum and also enjoy a walk afterward.
Good Day Sunshine! After breakfast (get it included in your hotel for convenience), walk over to the Beatles Story museum. It opens at 0900 in the summer time and 1000 in the off peak times. (NB: If you stay at the Albert Docks like we did, you’ll be conveniently located next to everything you could need for your Beatles day.)
The museum isn’t small, but it can get cramped in areas as the rooms aren’t terribly wide. Getting in early will give you more time without the masses of people all trying to vie for space to read signs, look at displays, and take photos, all while they linger listening to their audioguides (included in the price of your ticket).
If you don’t know much about the history of the Beatles, you’ll learn it all here at the Beatles Story. And if you are a musical history buff, I’m sure you’ll still find you learn a thing or two whilst you enjoy the beautiful recreations of historical locations throughout the Beatles’ lives.
Give yourself at least two or three hours here so you don’t feel rushed and another 30-45 minutes for the Beatles Fab 4 gift shop as you exit. (There is so much that you’ll have trouble deciding what you want to take home to remember this glorious day!)
Take a break between the two main events to eat Something. The Beatles Story has a cafe at the end of the tour where you can purchase small items to eat. Otherwise, there are a couple food trucks/buses outside at the docks where you can grab a quick bite to eat. We decided hotdogs sounded good but learned quickly we had made a grave mistake. Apparently, in Liverpool, or at least at this particular hot dog stand, a chili dog does not equal the meaty chili topping on a dog you’d expect, but in fact, to my horror, meant sweet sticky chili sauce that one usually eats with lumpia or egg rolls. And on top of that was cold shredded cheddar cheese. I’ve never been more horrified by a hot dog in my entire life. I did however, try to eat it as we paid good money and were on a short time line. So I stress, do NOT order a chili dog at the Albert Docks, instead, treat yourself to a plain dog or better yet, eat inside at the cafe.
Above, clockwise from left: Penny Lane sign, Paul McCartney’s Childhood home, the gates to Strawberry Fields.
It’s time for the Magical Mystery Tour and the Long and Winding Road to all the most important and famous Beatles locations. At least fifteen or twenty minutes before your scheduled tour time, head to the MMT office (located next door to the Beatles Fab 4 Store). Here you’ll check in, show your reservation confirmation and receive your tickets. Then you walk over to the big yellow bus painted just like the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour bus and queue for your seat. If you care about which location on the bus you are going to sit, get there early. While you can see things on with side of the bus, it did seem that a lot of the main attractions were out the left hand windows, so sit on that side if you can . But really, you get off at the most important stops anyway, so you’re not missing too much if you’re sat on the right.
The tour lasts approximately three hours and takes you all over Liverpool to the most important places in John, Paul, George, and Ringo’s time there. You see each of the houses they were either born or raised in, Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields and a plethora of other interesting locations. In addition to the information he was sharing, our tour guide played classic Beatles’ songs which made me happy and wistful at the same time. It was definitely a time I’ll remember forever.
The tour ends around the corner from the famed Cavern Club where the Beatles played an astounding 292 times. It’s still quite a busy place and even in the middle of the afternoon on a Wednesday, you’ll find it packed with people listening to live music, having drinks and just generally enjoying being in a place filled with so much musical history. Photos of famous acts throughout the ages cover the wall and the colorfully backed stage the Beatles played on is still front and center when you walk in. I could have spent a lot more time there if I had been prepared for the sheer maximum volume of music and was able to find a seat. Nevertheless, it was a great short visit. I was able to snag a few photos and a souvenir t-shirt and vacate the underground club before my eardrums ruptured. (“If it’s too loud you’re too old?”… I think I’m too old.)
When you’re done in the Cavern club, you can walk down Matthew street to see other iconic venues, eat at one of the many restaurants, or take a photo with John Lennon’s statue.
After you’ve had your fill, walk about 10 minutes down Brunswick street to the waterfront where you’ll locate the Fab Four cast in Bronze. Snap a picture with them and then walk along the water’s edge back toward the Albert Docks. If your timing is right you’ll see a beautiful sunset over the River Mersey.
If you decided not to eat on Matthew Street, there are plenty of restaurants at the Albert Docks to satisfy any craving. We ate at a pirate themed restaurant called The Smuggler’s Cove that was served up a feast for the eyes and the stomach. A dinner on the water in Liverpool is the perfect way to end your Beatles filled day.
Is there anything Beatles related in Liverpool I missed? Let me know in the comments!