‘Liverpool is famous for many things, but none more so than for being the home of the biggest band in the world: The Beatles…’
Liverpool has a ton of Beatles attractions, from childhood homes, music venues, museums and a whole lot of statues. Given the selection, it can be difficult to work out where to spend your time. This is my guide to a Beatles bucket list that can be achieved in 48 hours in Liverpool.
The Beatles Story
This museum is the world’s largest space dedicated to telling the story of the biggest band on the planet. The main exhibition leads you through the early years of the individual band members. The audio guide is narrated by John’s sister, Julia, which gives it such a personal touch.
You can visit a replica of the Cavern Club, although you can visit the real thing in the city centre. The museum also has an onsite coffee shop and a gift shop to spend all your money. There are actually 2 Fab4 Cafes; one in the main museum and the other at the Mersey Ferry Terminal.
Museum of Liverpool
The Museum isn’t technically a Beatles attraction, so to speak. It does cover the history of Liverpool, though, so you know they’re in there. There’s a fantastic section of the building dedicated to The Beatles, and other musicians from the city, (such as Holly Johnson of Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Cilla Black, for example) and the displays are well put together and full of great information. The Museum of Liverpool is free to enter and bloody massive.
It was in this very building I found out, when exiting the music exhibition, that David Morrisey was born right next to my husband. He went on to become an evil Governor and killed many people while simultaneously fighting zombies. And my husband grew up to become a Doctor. Just sayin’…
This clearly has nothing to do with The Beatles, but it’s one of the many pieces of utterly useless information I pick up on my travels. You’re welcome.
Beatles Bus Tour
There are various options to explore for seeing the main Beatles sites throughout the city. One of the main offerings is the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour. Plus, this one has a really colourful bus and you can’t really ask for much more than that, can you? Exactly.
Departing from their offices in Albert Dock, this two-hour long tour will whizz you around all the major Beatles attractions. Some of the stops include Strawberry Fields, Penny Lane and the childhood homes of John Lennon and Ringo Star. One of the best stops is the church at St Peter’s where Paul was introduced to the existing members of The Quarrymen in July of 1957.
Run by the famous Cavern Club, the tour also gains you free entry to the iconic bar and music venue. There are numerous stops on the tour, so plenty of photo-taking opportunities. A guide is present to take you through the main talking points and there’s plenty of Beatles tunes to sing along to while you’re there.
Every Beatles (and non-Beatles fan, although I see no reason why they’d be reading this…) will know about the band’s affiliation to the world-famous club on Matthew Street. The Cavern Club is a compact venue, but it’s full of life. The red neon sign on the exterior is full of neon promises of music and good times and it rarely ever fails to deliver.
First opening its doors in 1957, the Cavern lived and thrived on the UK music scene well before, and well after, its most famous performers. First playing in the venue as The Quarrymen before changing their name to The Beatles, John, Paul, George and Pete played the venue almost 300 times in the early 60s.
It was at their final gig in 1963 (after replacing Best with Starr in 1962) that they performed in front of the legendary producer, Brian Epstein. And the rest, they say, is history.
In another riveting piece of Liverpool history, the late Cilla Black used to work as a coat check at the club. Who knew you could squeeze so many famous people into one little space??
The Cavern has its own ‘house Beatles’ act who regularly play live gigs. It’s literally the closest thing you’ll ever get to the real thing, and you already know all the words, anyway…
John Lennon @ The Cavern
If you’ve been inside the Cavern Club, it’s difficult not to have noticed the statue of John Lennon that stands just outside. Lennon leans cheekily against the wall, dressed in jeans, t-shirt and jacket. He’s extremely popular with tourists. He is pretty Instagrammable, tbh.
Statues @ Pierhead
No visit to Liverpool can be complete without paying a visit to the boys themselves and getting your photo taken on the banks of the River Mersey. The statues are fairly new to the Pierhead, having been presented to the city of Liverpool by the Cavern Club.
The Fab Four statues were installed to celebrate the last concert the band ever played, which was, rather fittingly, at the Empire Theatre in their hometown. The bronze statues were designed by local artist, Andy Edwards, and show the guys jauntily strolling along the waterfront. Unlike the recent statue of Christiano Ronaldo, the likeness of these statues leaves in no doubt who they are.
Yes, Liverpool loves a Beatles themed statue. And who could possibly blame them? Musician, Tommy Steele created the statue of Eleanor Rigby. Steele offered to create the piece as a tribute to the band after playing a gig in Liverpool. His fee was 3p. And it was well worth every single penny.
Eleanor sits on her own, with her bag, on a bench in Stanley Street, reading a copy of the Liverpool Echo. The accompanying plaque gives a shout out to ‘all the lonely people’. It’s actually quite a sad sight, tbh. I just wanted to give her a hug. I didn’t, obviously. There were other people around.
It’s not known for sure if the song was inspired by a real-life person known to the band. However, there just happens to be a woman with the same name buried in the churchyard at St Peter’s. As coincidences go, that’s a pretty big one. It’s not like the song was called ‘Janet Smith’ or anything. I’m not sure how many E Rigby’s are in the phone book, but I’m guessing it ‘ain’t many.
The Peace Monument
The John Lennon-inspired peace monument is on the King’s Dock, next to Jury’s. This artwork lives in hope of spreading the late Beatle’s message of peace. It features a symbolic white feather in the mouth of a dove, a Salvador Dali-esque guitar, saxophone and piano keyboard. It’s an interesting spectacle. Even more so if you manage to catch all its colours glittering in the sunshine.
Casbah Coffee Club
This venue was also played by the band, although the Cavern gets all the fame where The Beatles are concerned, They started out as The Quarrymen, playing the Casbah when they could. It was actually the Mother of then-drummer Pete Best, Mona, who opened the club for local kids.
Lennon’s first wife, Cynthia, helped to give the place a fresh coat of paint before it opened. She also added a silhouette of John, which is still in place today. Paul McCartney is quoted as saying Casbah was like their home. This is where they honed their craft as a band before moving across the city to the Cavern.
What are your favourite Beatles sights in Liverpool? Or have you visited Beatles attractions on any of your other travels??
*Thanks to Karen and Craig for their inspiration for this post. And obviously to The Beatles… *