Liverpool. A city jam-packed with culture and diversity, brimming with pride as the birthplace of the Fab Four, the founders of the beat generation. A pilgrimage to the city is a must for any self-respecting, card-carrying Beatles fan, and it doesn't disappoint!
Enough copy has been written about The Beatles Story, the history has been chronicled in minute detail both online and in print for all to see. With that in mind, I'd like to introduce you to the Liverpool I know and where my Beatles-fan credentials were created...
From the moment you arrive in Liverpool, you are hit by the fumes of real nostalgia, it seems that everywhere you look there are road signs and place names that you know.
Penny Lane? Strawberry Fields? Yes! They're all here and all very close together.
But maybe the most evocative of all is a trip to the graveyard of St Peter's Parish Church in Woolton. Look out for the tombstone of John Rigby, as it's also the resting place of Eleanor Rigby. Close by is a stone bearing the 'McKenzie' name. So, I defy anyone to not go away humming Father McKenzie, writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear, no one comes near…
While you're up in that neck of the woods, about ten minutes away from Woolton is 'Mendips' at 251 Menlove Avenue, the house where John Lennon lived with Uncle George and Aunt Mimi from 1945 to 1963.
Yoko Ono Lennon bought the house in 2002 and immediately gifted it to the National Trust who restored it to its full 1950s glory. If you want to view inside the house, the National Trust runs a combined minibus tour of 'Mendips' and 20 Forthlin Road, the childhood home of Paul McCartney. Visit the National Trust website for more details about the Beatles' homes.
Liverpool and the Beatles belong squarely together. And back in the city centre, there's so much more to do to keep that Beatles vibe alive. Now, remember poor old Eleanor Rigby? She has her own statue set on Stanley Street, known as the loveliest statue in Liverpool; it's dedicated to 'All the lonely people' and depicts her sat alone on a city bench.
Also, down at the Albert Dock there is a museum dedicated to the story of The Beatles, and don't forget The Cavern Club in Mathew Street. There are frequent live music nights here, and it's opposite the site of the enchanting bronze statue called 'Four Lads Who Shook The World'.
If you have time, the Liverpool Duck Tour is a must. Known as The Yellow Duckmarine, the tour compacts the history of the city into an hour-long trip of both the waterfront and the city sights, including both cathedrals, and then launches into the river Mersey at the end! The vehicles are authentic WWII amphibious landing craft, a real case of 'seeing is believing' on this one. If you want to know more just check out the website at The Yellow Duckmarine.
Liverpool. It really does shake your world!
Note from Sue:
My only exposure to Liverpool todate was a short stopover for a conference,so I don't feel in any way qualified to write about Liverpool and the Beatles.
Fortunately, I met Sheila Smith, card-carrying Liverpudlian, hobby-broadcaster and consummate Beatles fan, who offered to share some of her favourite places and point out some must-sees for anyone on their first city break, exploring Liverpool and the Beatles heritage. This article, and the images, are all hers - and I'm very grateful to Sheila for sharing. If you'd like to contact Sheila you can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org.