We all live in a yellow submarine, yellow submarine, yellow submarine… You must have found yourself humming this song at least once in your life and if you haven’t, I guess I just made you do it right now. No matter what sort of music you’re into, you’ve certainly come across the Beatles and the artists they’ve influenced, i.e. the whole music industry. An artsy traveller myself, I felt like it was almost a duty to visit the band’s birthplace – Liverpool. I couldn’t choose a better travel companion than the Monica to my Rachel (yes, we love F.R.I.E.N.D.S), my best friend who was also celebrating her birthday at the time. Girls time is the best time!
Armed with Beatles T-shirts, a comprehensive Beatles playlist, a long to-do list and umbrellas, we started our pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I call it that with no exaggeration intended, as for any true Beatles fan, this place is sacred and the vibes it gives you are soul-shaking. No matter where you turn, there’s a Beatles related story waiting to be unravelled.
First stop: Beatles Magical Mystery Tour
This is the bus of our dreams. Starting from Albert Dock, it offers a two-hour long psychedelic trip following the steps of the Fab Four. You’ll visit memorable places such as their childhood homes, the places that inspired our favourite songs – Penny Lane and Strawberry Field and the St Peter’s Church Hall – where John Lennon and Paul McCartney met for the first time. And how lucky we are that they did…
The ride ends at the Cavern Club on Mathew Street. Here’s where you’re transported back in time to February 1961, when the Beatles performed for the first time. Right there. Just close your eyes and imagine. For us, it was a transcendental moment and I bet it will be for you too. This legendary place has live music every day, on three stages located in the Cavern Club, the Live Lounge and in the Cavern Pub. Every year in August, the Cavern is also hosting the International Beatleweek Festival celebrating our beloved group, with bands from all over the world coming to pay their tribute.
Second Stop: Magical Beatles Museum
A few steps away from the famous club, still on Mathew Street, there’s another place you cannot miss –The Magical Beatles Museum. A huge collection of extremely valuable memorabilia will unfold before your eyes. Drum kits, personal letters, George Harrison’s Futurama guitar, a harmonica used by Lennon, war medals that he wore for Sergeant Pepper album, lots of costumes and of course merchandise, they’re all there to impress you. Everything you’ll see there belonged at some point in time to the band and the effect this has on their fans is purely amazing and out-of-this-world. These objects instantly create a deep connection between yourself and the people you have admired for your whole life. It feels like they are closer to you, as if they are still living through the items you see in this place.
Third stop: Mendips and 20 Forthlin Road
Alright, this is probably the most emotional stop. If the Beatles Magical Bus only allows you to see the exterior of the Fab Four’s childhood homes, this tour offers you the chance to actually step inside Lennon and McCartney’s cribs. The experience is breath-taking for every fan, as you get to actually see, smell, touch and even hear the energy that these places have – Beatles-powered energy. It’s a step closer towards a more intimate experience that takes the legends off the stage and reveals the faces of more humane characters, allowing you to take a glimpse of their early life.
Fourth Stop: The Titanic Exhibit
Apart from the Beatles, my best friend and I have also always been fascinated by another Liverpool-related story: The Titanic. We’ve made it a tradition since we were in high school to watch the Titanic together every year in February. It has never been only about the movie, as we’ve also read a lot about the real story of the tragic event and decided that visiting Liverpool was a great way to deepen our knowledge about the famous ship. It turned out that the Merseyside Maritime Museum has an impressive exhibit called Titanic and Liverpool: the untold story, featuring items such as a survivor’s apron, White Star Line emblems, a survivor’s lifejacket, letters from passengers, lifeboat thole pins and the builder’s model of the Titanic, built in 1910. The exhibit takes you through an emotional journey among the remains of the wreck and the memory of those who have and those who have not survived the terrible incident.
More cool things to do in Liverpool
Fifth and last stop: World Museum
This post promised to be a guide to Liverpool and no respectable guide would miss the Natural History Centre. Although we went to Liverpool for the Beatles and for the Titanic Story, the scientists in us woke up when they heard about natural history. The World museum is an immense collection of treasures across the world, as the first floor is all about world cultures, which a serious traveller should not miss. The Ancient Egypt Gallery is one of the most impressive I have ever seen, with thousands of artifacts, and of course mummies and their coffins. There are also live creatures to admire in the Aquarium and Bug House, along with long dead ones in the Dinosaurs Gallery.
And if you are tired of this planet, you can take a quick trip to outer space in the museum’s planetarium. People say that the best things in life don’t come for free, but this museum has free entry, so there’s the exception to their rule.
Whether you go there for the music, for the Beatles, for the Titanic or for any other thing that attracted you to Liverpool in the first place, never forget to:
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace.
P.S. Important Tip for F.R.I.E.N.D.S. fans: The Central Perk Café replica is PERMANENTLY closed.
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