We planned a few days in Liverpool because I am a huge Beatles fan and somehow have never been to Liverpool. What I didn’t know when we decided when to go was that it was International Beatles Week!
The Cavern Club, one the many places in Liverpool claiming to be the birth place of the Beatles, has Beatles cover bands from over 20 countries playing every day on their three stages during Beatles Week. It was really awesome to see so many people so happy, bonding over their love of the Beatles. Our favorites were the Bonding Sixties from Argentina and Zac Coombs from Australia. Zac actually played Rocky Racoon, one of my favorite Beatles songs and very underrated, on request and killed it.
Limited tours are offered of the childhood homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney through the National Trust. Luckily, we were able to book tickets for it. Our bus driver took a small group of us to the homes for guided tours inside.
We started at Mendips, where John Lennon lived with his aunt Mimi after his parents divorce. He actually had a really hard childhood. His dad was gone most of his early childhood and after the divorce basically tried to kidnap him. Luckily his mom’s friend saw them get on a train and told her. Then when he was a teenager, his mother was hit by a car and killed crossing the road in front of Mendips after a visit.
The house is a typical, nondescript Liverpool home. It felt so normal. The enclosed front porch, seen in the second picture, had great acoustics and that’s where many of the first Beatles songs were born. Unfortunately, you can’t take pictures inside either house but you can see some photos on the National Trust website.
After our guided tour inside, we got back on the bus and headed just a mile away to 20 Forthlin Road, Paul McCartney’s house. Paul also had tragedy in his childhood; his mom died of breast cancer when he was just 14. The shared grief of losing their mothers young was one of the early bonds between John and Paul. The house is a small townhouse, and like John’s house, no photos are allowed inside. But if you’ve seen Paul McCartney on Carpool Karaoke, you’ve seen the inside of the house. Many of the Beatles early hits were written inside this house as well, including I Saw Her Standing There.
We also did a private Beatles Tour of Liverpool. We met our black cab driver around 9 am and spent the next three hours seeing Liverpool like John, Paul, George, and Ringo would have.
We started by visiting Ringo’s childhood homes. He lived in the house with the red door in his early childhood, until his family moved down the street to the while house with the pink trim.
His old neighborhood also has a beautiful Ringo mural.
Our next stop was the famous Penny Lane. The street signs are now painted on, because fans kept stealing the actual signs. When Paul was on Carpool Karaoke he signed one of the painted on Penny Lane signs, and now it has a protective cover over it.
When Paul wrote Penny Lane, it was a competitive response to John Lennon’s Strawberry Fields. Paul wrote Penny Lane about his neighborhood, starting with the bus stop he used to take, beneath the blue suburban skies. From there, you can see the barber showing photographs and the bank from the song (the bank is now a doctor office).
Our next stop was Strawberry Fields. Originally a strawberry farm, it became an orphanage that sat behind Mendips, where John grew up. Being in his backyard and full of children to play with had a major influence on him growing up. It’s currently a Salvation Army with a great Beatles gift shop.
We stopped by the church where John was kicked out of choir. While he waited for his friends to get out of choir, he would hang out in the cemetery, smoking and drinking. And being inspired while looking at all the lonely people.
We stopped by the school where John first started The Quarry Men, as well as the nearby hall where he met Paul McCartney.
We skipped John’s and Paul’s houses on this tour, since we saw them the day before, and headed to our final stop at George’s house. Someone currently lives there and it is very overgrown and hard to see. Our guide showed us a picture of what it was like when George lived there. Apparently his mum would bring the fans tea while they waited for a glimpse of George.
The next day we headed to the Beatles Story. It’s basically a museum dedicated to the Beatles, but almost everything is a replica. There were very few original items and it was very redundant after the previous two tours. If you only had time to check out one Beatles thing in Liverpool, this would be a nice comprehensive option. But I liked experiencing the Beatles’ Liverpool better.
And, of course, we had to end our four days of Beatlemania with a visit to the Beatles sculpture.
It was so wonderful to see Liverpool, and especially all the bands at the Cavern Club for Beatles Week. I loved hearing some of my favorite Beatles songs played live, including A Day in the Life, Yellow Submarine, all of Abbey Road, and Rocky Racoon. It was also a nice reminder of how much I love live music.
Are you also a Beatles fan? Let me know your favorite song and if you ever plan on going to Liverpool for International Beatles Week. I’d love to go back every year if I could!
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