To the fans, Liverpool is synonymous with football and the Beatles – both attract people from far and wide to this wonderful city. Our home for the past half-decade or so, Liverpool has certainly carved a space for itself in our hearts. The more we explore and discover this city, the more we are in awe. One of our such quests led us to Beatles attractions in Liverpool. Of course, even before we landed here, we knew about the Beatles. But it was only after becoming Liverpudlians that we discovered the details of the connection. So in this blog, we attempt to take you through the top Beatles attractions in Liverpool. Let’s get on with it, shall we?
#1 Mathew Street – The Birthplace of Beatles
Located in the city centre, Mathew Street draws people from all over the world for its Beatles connection. It is here on Mathew street that the Beatles flourished as a band, thanks to their performance in the Cavern Club. Mathew Street is one of the most lively and happening streets in Liverpool even today. If you love to experience vibrant nightlife in Liverpool, head to Mathew Street. You’ll find numerous shops and attractions connected to Beatles all along this street.
John Lennon’s Statue
When you enter Mathew Street from North John Street, one of the first things you notice is the John Lennon statue on the left-hand side. You might even mistake him for a real person at the first glance as he is standing there leaning on the wall, gazing at you nonchalantly. A popular selfie point, this is a great spot to click a pic with the most famous Beatles. Every time we go there, we can’t resist the urge to click a pic with John. So you can imagine the thrill of a fan coming from another corner of the world taking a pic with Lennon.
Wall of Fame
Beatles was (still is) a big deal. Cavern Club got an iconic stature thanks to them. After the Beatles, everyone wanted to perform at the club. Apart from the Beatles themselves (as a band and individually), prominent bands and artists such as Elton John, Queen, Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Cilla Black, Rod Stewart, and many more performed there. It was a matter of prestige to perform at the Cavern. Just by the John Lennon statue, you can see the wall of fame depicting the names of all those who performed at Cavern. It’s the who’s who of the music world…
Cavern Club and Beatles Mania
Cavern Club is undoubtedly the most famous club in the world, thanks to Beatles mania. It was here that the Beatles performed 292 times between 1961 and 63. Although an iconic space, Cavern club has had its ups and downs. Originally started in 1957, the club was closed and opened a few times before the site was demolished to make way for an underground railway system. However, the Club reopened in the 1980s (albeit at a nearby spot) and has been entertaining music lovers ever since.
The Cavern Club features the ‘Live Lounge’, which is a replica of the original. They’ve used as many of the old bricks as possible to create the new lounge. Furthermore, the Cavern Club Beatles (comprising of Adam Hastings, Tony Coburn, Paul Jones & Chris Sharrock) perform here on Fridays and Saturdays. The band was formed in 2011 and these four lookalikes of the original Beatles are the club’s resident Beatles tribute band playing the original band’s hit numbers every weekend. Click here to book tickets to see them in action.
Further along the street, you’ll see the Beatles Museum. Run by former Beatle member Pete Best and his brother, this is considered the most unique and authentic museum of the band. It boasts of the largest Beatles collection in the world. As this is run by a former band member, it has its charm and it is a must-see if you are a Beatles fan. You can buy tickets here.
The Grapes was the only traditional pub on Mathew Street during the times of the Beatles. In fact, it is still the only traditional pub on the street. This pub became popular as the place where Beatles ate during their performances at the Cavern. Beatles used to visit the Grapes to enjoy a meal or two as they took a break during their performance. The pub still has a traditional feel and charm to it. A must-see/visit place for a Beatles fan.
Other Beatles Attractions
As you walk along Mathew Street, you’ll find numerous attractions connected to the Beatles. The Beatles shop with the Beatles statue funded by the fans from across the world, a café named Strawberry Fields, a shop named Sgt. Peppers are some of the many attractions you’ll see here.
Elanor Rigby Statue
Elanor Rigby is a famous song by the Beatles. There is a statue just off Mathew Street (at Stanley Street) made by Tommy Steele. It is said to be one of the costliest statues (at £4000 in 1982) in Liverpool. The statue is dedicated to all the lonely people and depicts a woman with a handbag on her lap, a shopping bag on her right, and a copy of the newspaper Liverpool Echo on her left, seated on a bench. A milk bottle pops from the shopping bag, and a sparrow and a piece of bread are on the newspaper. The woman is depicted as looking down at the sparrow (although when we went to see it, the newspaper and sparrow were missing!)
#2 Strawberry Field – Not Just Another Beatles Song
Perhaps Beatles fans world over is most familiar with the iconic red gate of Strawberry Field. The red gate belongs to Strawberry Field, a site immortalised by John Lennon in The Beatles hit, ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’. A former children’s home run by Salvation Army, Strawberry Field was special to Lennon. He spent a lot of time at the gardens there in his childhood. The site is open to the public for the first time recently and you can see for yourself why the place was special for John Lennon. Although the garden and cafe are free to enter, you’ll need a ticket to see an interactive exhibition set up there. It is a must-see site for any Beatles fan for sure.
#3 John Lennon’s Childhood Home – An Iconic Beatles Site
251 Menlove Avenue or Mendips as it is popularly known is an iconic site for any Beatles fan. This is the childhood home of John Lennon. He lived here with his aunt Mimi from 1946 to 1963. Although his aunt sold the house in the 60s, Yoko Ono bought it and donated it to National Trust. Now it is maintained by National Trust. It is possible to visit the house and take a tour by purchasing tickets. (Mendips is currently closed for renovation and hence not open to the public. Check here to find out the opening details and plan your visit)
#4 No 20, Forthlin Road – Another Beatles Attraction
Not far away from Mendips is No 20, Forthlin Road, the childhood home of another Beatles, Paul McCartney. This property is also managed by National Trust and it is possible to combine the visit of both Lennon’s and McCartney’s homes. According to National Trust, the Beatles wrote and composed most of their early songs at 20 Forthlin Road. Both the houses are in South Liverpool and can be visited easily.
#5 St. Peter’s Church, Woolton – Where the Beatles Duo Met
It is said that the most iconic meeting in the history of rock n roll music happened in 1957 at the church hall of St. Peter’s Church, Woolton, Liverpool. It was during a church fete where John Lennon’s band Quarrymen were playing that a common friend introduced John and Paul to one another. That led to Paul joining John’s band and eventually to the formation of the Beatles.
It is interesting that in the cemetery of the church, we can see the grave of Elanor Rigby. It is said that Paul got the name from the tombstone of the cemetery.
A Personal Experience
We met a gentleman at the premises of the church hall and he said that his cousin was at the fete when John and Paul met. He shared a few tales from the old days – how times have changed. Although he was born in the area he moved to Lancashire in the early 1990s and this was the first time he came back to the spot since then. He told us how difficult things were then – as his house wasn’t in the city limits those days he was born at his home, even though the hospital was just a couple of miles away. He also said how the locals didn’t think Beatles a big phenomenon back then. For them, they were like four local lads.
When we told him that another acquaintance we met earlier that day told us about an 18-yr old boy from South Korea travelling abroad for the first time who came to Liverpool in search of the place where John and Paul met the first time, he was taken aback. He told us that back then they wouldn’t have believed such things would happen. We told him even after all these years, Beatlemania is very much alive all over the world. Such is the power of music.
#6 Penny Lane – Immortalised by the Beatles
Any Beatles fan would be familiar with Penny Lane – thanks to the iconic song. There is much to see around Penny Lane – the barbershop and the bus shelter mentioned in the song are still there. Although there have been some changes over time, they are a reminder that it is not just a song.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney used to board bus to Liverpool city centre from the Penny Lane bus station and hence they spent a lot of time there. The song talks about the sights around the site and shows how important those memories were for them. Just across the bus shelter is a church (St Barnabas) where Paul McCartney used to sing as a choir boy.
At the other end of Penny Lane is a signboard with Paul’s signature on it. Paul signed on the signboard in 2018 when he visited Penny Lane while doing a Carpool Karaoke with James Corden. He also visited the barbershop and shared some anecdotes during the show. Do check out the video here, if you haven’t seen it yet (you can see him signing the board around 2.49 in the video).
#7 Casbah Coffee Club – The Birthplace of Beatles
This is a true hidden gem for Beatles fans. Set up by former Beatles’ drummer Pete Best’s mother Mona Best in 1959, the Casbah Coffee Club is where the Beatles took birth. It was here that the band came together and performed as Beatles for the first time. John, Paul, George, Pete, and Stuart even helped Mona to set up the club. The basement walls were painted by the Beatles and you can still see it as it was back then.
Although everyone knows about Cavern Club, only a few know about Casbah, which is a shame. This is an iconic site not only because the band’s true beginning was from here but also because nothing has changed from those days. The Casbah Club is perhaps the only site connected with Beatles that has preserved its original form. It is a must-see for any Beatles fan.
The upper floor of the Casbah Coffee Club is being refurbished as a Beatles-themed hotel. It is expected to open by March 2020. Isn’t that exciting? You can stay at a Beatles-themed hotel at a place frequented by the band and enjoy the most authentic site associated with the Beatles!
A friend of the Best family we met at the premises of Casbah Coffee Club was kind enough to give us the details of the proposed hotel. Although we would’ve loved to chat up and know more, we didn’t want to intrude and overstay our welcome. So, we left as soon as we got a few pics and video of the place.
#8 The Beatles Story – A Permanent Exhibition
Another unmissable attraction connected with the Beatles is the Beatles Story in the Royal Albert Dock. This is the largest Beatles-themed exhibition in the world and maps the band’s journey from start to end. You can see the recreated Casbah Coffee Club, Cavern Club, and Abbey Studio among others in this exhibition. Apart from that, you will see personal items such as George Harrison’s guitar and John Lennon’s glasses here. All in all, it is a must-see attraction connected with the Beatles in Liverpool. You can book your Beatles Story tickets here.
#9 Magical Mystery Tour/ Pvt Taxi Tours
You can enjoy a two-hour bus tour of Beatles in Liverpool if you opt for the Magical Mystery Tour by Cavern Club. The tour runs from Monday to Sunday at 11 am and 2 pm. Adult ticket prices cost £19.95 and a group ticket for 10 costs you £179.55 (Prices may vary) If you wish to go on the bus tour, you can book your tickets here.
If you are travelling from London, you can opt for Evan Evans package day trips by train which includes the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour ticket. Or you can opt for the Golden Tours package day trips to Liverpool from London by train with a Beatles Magical Mystery Tour ticket. Apart from these, the My Bus package day trips & overnight breaks from London to Liverpool by train also include the Magical Mystery Tour.
#10 Beatles Statue, Waterfront
Even if you are a casual visitor to Liverpool, you can click a pic with the Beatles, thanks to the Beatles Statue at the Waterfront. This larger-than-life statue of the Fab Four is a popular photo point for anyone visiting the city. As it is located near the Three Graces, it is easily accessible too. You might have to wait a bit for your turn to click a pic with the most famous band in the world – the place is usually thronged by visitors.
Cavern Club erected the statue in 2015 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ final public performance in Liverpool (at Empire Theatre). Paul McCartney visited the site in 2018 and clicked pics with his statue (and a group of surprised fans!).
The statues are interesting and there are several details in the attention to detail, such as an ‘L8’ on the bottom of Ringo’s shoe and the acorns in John’s hand. Also featured on George Harrison’s belt is the Gayatri Mantra to showcase their Indian connection.
More To See
This is not a conclusive list as there are many more sites connected to Beatles in Liverpool. The childhood homes of George Harrison & Ringo Starr, Beatles-themed shops and cafes, Liverpool John Lennon Airport are some other sites that showcase the Beatles’ connection to Liverpool. We have discovered more about this iconic band during our stay here and it has only increased our appreciation of their achievement – it is no exaggeration that these four lads took the world by storm.
From what we have seen and understood, we feel that as the time passes by, more people will come to Liverpool drawn by the magical music of the Beatles. As music has a universal language, we will not be surprised if we bump into a Beatles fan from a far corner of the world on our walk through the Liverpool city centre. The Beatles mania is still very much alive and we see glimpses of it everywhere around this lovely city that we call home.
Check out our vlog on these attractions here.
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