One of the biggest things I was looking forward to while planning our trip to London was seeing some Beatles sights. I researched where we could go besides the obvious Abbey Road, and everyone I talked to said if you really want to get the Beatles experience, you have to take a day trip to Liverpool. It is the holy grail for fans of the Fab 4. Alas, we were Day Trippers (“Sunday drivers, yeah”) to the land of Liverpool.
The Beatles & Liverpool – Magical Mystery Tour, Beatles Story Museum & Cavern Club
We booked our tour through Golden Tours, whom we also went through to get our tickets and transport to the WB Studio Tour (which you can read about here). Once again, the tour was great and everything went smoothly.
We met at the Euston train station at 6:30am where we were greeted by a Golden Tours representative who gave us our train tickets as well as passes into the Beatles Story and voucher to take the Magical Mystery Bus Tour around Liverpool. Our train left at 7:07am and we gazed upon the landscape while singing along with Sgt. Pepper (well I was, who knows what Anthony was listening to), as we made our way from London to Liverpool, approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes away.
Upon our arrival, we wandered down to the Albert Dock, an icon of Liverpool. After looking in some shops and just taking in the quaintness of it all, we stopped into this little restaurant called Dockland’s Fish and Chips. There we got some meat pies and chips (fries), which were delicious. The owner was also super friendly and we talked to him while our food was being prepared.
The Beatles Story
After we ate, we walked over to The Beatles Story. This is a permanent exhibit that gives you a behind the scenes look at the life and times of the greatest band of all time (it’s ok if you don’t agree. You’re entitled to your wrong opinion). Upon arrival, after you present the nice people at the counter with your ticket, you are given a headset to accompany you as you move along through the exhibit. I learned that the audio guide is even narrated by John’s sister, Julia. How neat!
The exhibit is wonderful. Not only do you learn about the timeline of the band, but you also learn about each member separately; from their childhood to their solo careers after the band broke up. There are clothes that they wore on display and even real sheet music from their time in the studio. They have a replica of Abbey Road Studios, the Cavern Club and more. I mean, it really is so immersive, you can feel the passion that went into creating this for the fans. Even Anthony, who went to Liverpool not a fan of The Beatles (I know, how did I date him for 8 years?!) left with a whole new appreciation and interest in them. And that was just after we finished the exhibit. We still had a whole tour around Liverpool to go on!
Ending the exhibit, they have a cafe and a gift shop. The gift shop is great and has some really interesting souvenirs that you probably won’t be able to find on Amazon or in your local FYE. Anthony was such a fan that he even bought himself an awesome Sgt. Pepper hoodie and wore it the rest of our vacation (and this is why I kept dating him for 8 years… I knew I could convert him eventually).
Magical Mystery Tour
When we finished with The Beatles Story, we had some time to kill, so we walked around the other side of Albert Dock. There is a ferris wheel, as well as some food trucks. We went to one truck that sold soft serve ice cream. It was cold outside, so probably not the best choice, but it was delicious.
We had to redeem our voucher for a ticket before we could get on the bus. Aboard the bus (with about 20 other people, maybe more), we learned some history of Liverpool. Apparently a lot of musical talent came out of there besides The Beatles, which was really interesting.
The bus tour was amazing. I’m not usually a fan of the group tourist stops, where you pile out get your pictures and pile back in, but given the time that we had, this one was really well done. We saw sights like Penny Lane and the area of Smithdown Place where many lines in the song are referenced. I think I cried. Actually, I know I cried. Being in all of those places that Paul was inspired by when he wrote that song.
Strawberry Fields was another stop along the way, and the story that goes along with how that song came to be was probably my favorite. John would always hang around the then Children’s home and gaze upon the children. His aunt didn’t like him doing so, and when they fought over it John would say, “what are they going to do, hang me?” Which is where the line “nothing to get hung about” came from.
We also got to visit the houses of Paul and George. While we couldn’t go in, we were able to walk right up to them. They look like they haven’t aged a day. We also drove up to John’s house that he grew up in as well as passed by Ringo’s street. While driving, we learned some more Beatles history and fun facts and sang along to some hits. It truly was a Magical Mystery Tour.
The tour bus dropped us off at Matthew Street, possibly the most famous street in all of Liverpool. It is home of the world famous Cavern Club. Not only did The Beatles play at the Cavern Club, but hundreds of other well known bands did too, and are still playing to this day. There is a whole brick wall of fame dedicated to the bands that have played there.
We walked down Matthew Street taking in all of the history before going into the Cavern Club, with the intention of getting a beer. You go down a few flights of stairs and you are completely underground in, well, a cavern. There was live music going by a guy who was playing non other than Beatles covers. To hear the songs, drink the beer, dance and sing along, it’s easy to transport yourself back to when everyone was sweating and rubbing up on each other, dancing to the young Beatles live sets. It helped that it was pretty crowded when we got in there ourselves. But what an amazing experience.
After leaving the Cavern Club, we got a quick bite to eat at one of the pubs before our 2 hour ride back to London. Our final stop was to have one last beer in the same pub that The Beatles drank at hundreds of times while they were playing on Matthew Street, The Grapes.
We walked back to Lime Street station to board our train with happy bellies, music and history filled minds, and (for me) bucket list checks! This day trip really made me love and appreciate my favorite band in the world more than I already had.
So, have you been to Liverpool? I’m sure it’s a wonderful place to set out and explore at your own pace. I’d love to go back with more time. What places can you recommend for then? Also, who is your favorite Beatle (I don’t want to know if you aren’t a fan)? Mine is Paul <3
Speaking of Paul, did you see his Carpool Karaoke episode with James Corden? If you haven’t, you simply must watch it. It will bring tears of happiness to your eyes (or maybe that was just me). He even goes back to some of the places that I mentioned earlier (and yes, I was screaming, “we were there!”). I’d have died if we were then the same time it was being filmed. Anyway, you can watch it here if you’re interested!
For more recommendations, be sure to check out my recommended 48 hour London itinerary below.
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