Liverpool’s most famous export – Beatle spots around the city

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Liverpool’s most famous export?

Last week I spent a couple of days in Liverpool. Ok, not as exotic or glamorous as many of the places I’ve been over the past few years, but it was an outing all the same.

Liverpool, of course, is the birthplace of the Beatles, and the city doesn’t let you forget it for one solitary second. You can pay homage to the city’s most famous export with various tours, from Beatle walking tours in the centre, Beatle taxi tours, Magical Mystery Bus tours and even a tour of both Lennon and McCartney’s childhood homes. You can also stay in a Beatle-themed hotel called Hard Day’s Night.

However I was on a shoestring budget and anyway I’m not keen on being herded around on tours. Instead I opted to track down a few spots on my own.

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You’re never far away from a marketing opportunity…

The Beatles story Museum

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The most famous Beatle spot is the Beatles Story museum on the Albert dock. It costs a massive £16.95 to get in, but they do have an amazing array of memorabilia and it includes a very detailed audio guide. The museum has reproduced the Cavern club, the Casbah, Abbey Road studios and other places from Beatle history and you can walk from room to room learning about it.

Unfortunately they do let too many people in at the same time; I arrived around the same time as a whole pile of French language students and the rooms were very crowded with teenagers taking selfies and chattering, so much so that I skipped over a couple of rooms just to get ahead of them.

Cavern Club

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This version of the Cavern is from the Beatles story museum…

The famous club where the Beatles played.   The Cavern was in Matthew street.

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The club was demolished long ago, however they have built a replica Cavern a few doors along from where the Cavern once stood, using many of the original bricks. I didn’t go in; the whole of Matthew street was awash with bars; there was a Lennon bar, Rubber Soul pub, Cavern pub and Cavern club. Notice a theme going on?

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Cilla Black, the Cavern’s famous former hat-check girl, shows where the Cavern used to be

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Cilla looks out over Matthew street

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The next day I was keen to find what treasures I could unearth in suburban Liverpool and so I headed out on the bus to the leafy Woolton area. I found the 75 bus very useful for this; not only does it go to Woolton itself but it passes by Penny Lane and also within walking distance of Strawberry Fields and Mendips (John Lennon’s childhood home).

Penny Lane
I saw Penny lane from the bus but didn’t get off for it. There isn’t much to see or do there, apart from taking a selfie with the road sign (well secured down these days to stop people stealing them). Plus I hadn’t had the foresight to buy a one-day bus ticket, so knew that if I got off and then got back on I’d have to pay again.

Strawberry Fields

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Strawberry fields forever

Strawberry Fields (supposedly inspiration for the song Strawberry Fields Forever) is a former Salvation Army home where Lennon would go as a child for annual summer fetes (John Lennon’s aunt recalled him getting very excited when he heard the Salvation Army band start up, urging her to hurry up so they didn’t miss anything).

The home has long since closed and all that remains is the big red gates (replica gates; they ship all over the world should you feel like purchasing a replica strawberry field gates for you own home).

Mendips

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Mendips: John Lennon’s childhood home.  Working class hero? You’ve never seen so many parks and privet hedges in one neighbourhood

John Lennon’s childhood home is just around the corner from the gates. You can go inside but only as part of a tour. The home, along with Paul McCartney’s, are owned by the National Trust and the only way to go inside is to book a tour. It costs £25 and they pick you up in a minibus and take you to both homes (because it is a suburban neighbourhood and they don’t want hoards of people turning up at all hours annoying the neighbours). However there’s nothing to stop you from just looking at the outside, and that’s free.

Just as I arrived at Mendips a huge bunch of people turned up in a minibus. This was a recurring them on my trip; I spent ages tracking down a place only to find a bus tour turn up at the same time. It’s like they were taunting me saying ‘see, you should have taken a tour’.

Grave of Eleanor Rigby

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St Peter’s church in Woolton

After this I headed on down to Woolton village and St Peter’s church, where you can find the grave of Eleanor Rigby, presumed to be the inspiration for the song of the same name.

And Finally, when you’ve had enough Beatles…

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This is Billy Fury, another famous Liverpool export of the 1960s

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Liverpool has the oldest Chinatown in Europe

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The Albert dock is a great place to spend an afternoon. There’s a Tate gallery and a Maritime museum there (I went in the Tate; good display of Roy Lichtenstein).

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The Georgian quarter is nice for a walk around, particularly if you appreciate Georgian architecture.  Originally a place for rich people to live it fell into disrepair and only recently started to become a sought after area once again

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I came across a bit of street art on these derelict buildings

 

 

 

 

5 replies »

  1. Hello Sarah. I have fond memories of Liverpool from my time in the North. Ironically, the money spent on it was mainly from European Funding and you can just guess how Liverpool voted in the Brexit election. That aside, I guess you cannot blame them for exploiting every penny out of their favourite sons. I am envious of the Elenor Rigby gravestone, I would like to see that. See you when I get back xx

    • I didn’t know it was European money used to regenerate the city but it doesn’t surprise me; it’s always funny how the people who had most to gain from staying in Europe were the most staunch Brexiteers, like Cornwall or the Brits down on the Costa del Sol. No I’d go to Liverpool again; it seemed a fun place.
      Enjoy your holiday; speak when you get back xx

  2. Liverpool voted with a clear majority tor remain in the EU, so i don’t know why both comments seem to infer that it voted leave;

    • I didn’t know how Liverpool voted; you’re right that Liverpool itself voted 58% to stay (I just checked). I was just saying that when people voted to leave often they were the very people who had gained a lot from the EU.

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