In this feature, we go on a tour of 47 Beatles locations in Liverpool and Wirral. In 2018 I created a video featuring 38 locations, with English and Japanese subtitles and no voiceover. I decided to make a new version of the video using the format of my AVZINE channel, launched in September 2020.
I was inspired by the Beatles in my childhood and loved Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields. Through my research, I’ve learned a lot about the Beatles and the places they are associated with. I intend to do a feature about the Beatles in Hamburg. I’ve also created an audio-only podcast version of the feature in German, with original Beatles songs. It’s available exclusively to my students.
I have included a few of the photos in this article but to see all the pictures, please watch the video. As I always request, please click the ‘like’ button, subscribe to the channel and click the ‘bell’ button for notifications.
A tour of 47 Beatles locations in Liverpool and Wirral
The familiar double decker open top tour buses will take you around most of the important sights in Liverpool.
The Magical Mystery Tour is a specialised two hour Beatles tour.
And for a personalised Beatles tour you can take one of the Fab Four Taxis. The driver will share lots of knowledge and there’s a recorded commentary in several different languages.
Our tour begins at the airport, 7.5 miles or 12 kilometres south of the city centre. In 2001 it was named Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
1. John Lennon Statue, Liverpool John Lennon Airport terminal
The new terminal opened in 2002. Inside the terminal, there’s a statue of John Lennon by Tom Murphy. The nearby plaque reminds us EU funding helped to finance the terminal and the nearby business park.
2. The Yellow Submarine
The Yellow Submarine stands in front of the terminal. It used to be on the waterfront and was originally constructed by shipbuilding apprentices from Cammell Laird for the International Garden Festival that was held in 1984. The song ‘Yellow Submarine’ was released in 1966, the film came out in 1968.
3. The old airport terminal
The old airport terminal was opened in 1938. In 1964 thousands of fans welcomed the Beatles after their US tour. Today, you can stay here, as it’s the Crowne Plaza Liverpool John Lennon Airport Hotel.
4. The 85 bus
We are now at Liverpool South Parkway station. The 86 is a local bus operated by private company Stagecoach. In the 1950s Liverpool had its own municipal buses. They were painted in a distinctive green livery that was part of the character of the city. The 86 passes close to Paul’s house. He took the 86 to school every day. It’s said that riding on the bus influenced his songwriting.
There were adverts on buses for the ‘Double Fantasy’ exhibition which was on at the Museum of Liverpool during 2018 and19. We’ll take the 86 along Mather Avenue. Paul’s house is to the left. We’ll go there later.
5. The Sergeant Pepper Bistro
We get off near the Sergeant Pepper Bistro. This building was the ‘shelter in the middle of the roundabout’ in the song ‘Penny Lane’. An extra floor was added when it became the Bistro. Unfortunately, it’s been closed for a few years. Paul, John and George often met at this former bus shelter.
6. Penny Lane
‘Penny Lane’ was released in February 1967 as a double A-side single with ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’. There was controversy in 2020 when the sign was spray painted and the word ‘racist’ was written above it. The graffiti artist should have checked his facts. The name has no connection with slave-ship owner James Penny. A muddy lane out in the countryside would in any case not be named after a prominent trader in the city.
The song was written as a tribute to Penny Lane, but now Penny Lane is famous because of the song, which captivated me as a child.
In June 2018, Paul returned to Penny Lane for the Late Late Show with James Corden and wrote his autograph on the sign painted on the wall further down Penny Lane.
7. Strawberry Field gates
We’ll stop at the Strawberry Field gates, on Beaconsfield Road, not far from the house where John Lennon lived with his aunt Mimi. Fans from all over the world visit the gates and write messages. The gates are actually replica of the real ones. In the song, John remembers his childhood and this song too inspired me very much as a child.
Since 2020 it’s possible to step through the red gates and into the famous site. The visitors centre has an exhibition and many other attractions. It’s owned and run by the Salvation Army.
8. Calderstones Park
Not many people know that in Calderstones Park, there is a Japanese garden. Calderstones Park has many associations with the Beatles in their early years. I wonder if John ever imagined that one day he would marry a woman from Japan.
9. The Eleanor Rigby gravestone
We continue to St Peter’s Church the village of Woolton. Here we find the famous gravestone inscribed with the name ‘Eleanor Rigby’. The name may have inspired the famous song. Paul McCartney explains more in an interesting and spooky story. Try Googling it.
10. St Peter’s Church, Woolton.
In 1957, John and Paul met for the first time at a village fête behind St Peter’s Church.
11. Number 9 Madryn Street
We’ll head into the city centre and on the way, we’ll visit the Welsh Streets area. Ringo Starr was born at 9 Madryn Street. The house, as well as most of the Welsh Streets district, was to have been demolished. Beatles fans came here and wrote messages on the façade. But there was a change of plan. The Welsh Streets district was renovated and today the house looks almost new.
12. Number 10 Admiral Grove
Ringo Starr’s family moved to number 10 Admiral Grove, just a short distance from 9 Madryn Street. Ringo lived here until he became famous in 1963.
13. Number 12 Arnold Grove
In 1943, George Harrison was born at 12 Arnold Grove, a small terraced house in Wavertree. His family later moved to a house in Speke.
14. Liverpool town hall
Next, we return to the city centre. In 1964, the Beatles stood on the balcony of the town hall in front of thousands of screaming fans. 20 years later they were awarded the Freedom of the City. Inside the lobby, you’ll find a plaque bearing the names of the Fab Four. Sadly John wasn’t there to experience the honour.
Now we’ll walk up through Liverpool’s Creative Quarter not far from the University.
15. Number 3 Gambier Terrace
John Lennon lived at 3 Gambier Terrace in 1960 with former Beatles bassist Stuart Sutcliffe and others including artist Margaret Chapman. They were all students at the nearby Liverpool College of Art.
16. Falkner Street
Historic Falkner Street was built in the early to mid 19th century and it often features in historical dramas. Beatles manager Brian Epstein lived on Falkner Street and he owned the ground floor flat at 36 Falkner Street. He offered it to John Lennon and his first wife Cynthia. They lived here from 1962 to 1963.
17. The Liverpool Institute
A short distance away is Mount Street where we come across a distinctive Roman-style portico. On it are the words ‘Liverpool Institute and School of Art 1825’. Paul McCartney and George Harrison went to the Liverpool Institute when it was a boys’ grammar school. Today it’s the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts, co-founded by Paul McCartney and Mark Featherstone-Witty. Initial funding for the Institute was provided through Liverpool City Challenge, The European Union and the private sector.
18. The Cracke Pub
The Beatles often visited Ye Cracke pub on Rice Street. It’s filled with Beatles memorabilia and has a quaint, homely atmosphere inside.
19. The Philharmonic Dining Rooms
The Philharmonic Hall is on Hope Street. Diagonally opposite is the Philharmonic pub and it’s one of the biggest and most magnificent pubs in the city. In June 2018 Paul gave a surprise concert inside the pub for the Late Late Show with James Corden. I wish I’d been there!
20. Former Liverpool Maternity Hospital
John Lennon was born on the 9th of October 1940 in the former Liverpool Maternity Hospital. There’s an interesting plaque next to the entrance. It’s now a university residence.
21. 4 Rodney Street
Brian Epstein was born at 4 Rodney Street. A beautifully designed plaque provides information about his life and tragic death at the age of 32.
22. The Blue Angel Night Club
In the 1960s the Beatles and other famous bands played at the Blue Angel Night Club. It’s on Seel Street in Chinatown.
23. The Jacaranda
The Jacaranda is a legendary music venue closely associated with the rise of Merseybeat in the 1960s. It was opened by The Beatles’ first manager Allan Williams in 1958. The Jacaranda Twitter profile says that it’s “A re-imagining of the first place The Beatles ever played. Gig venue, Bar, Club and Vinyl Record store.”
From here, we’ll walk down to the Pier Head. It should take about 15 minutes.
24. The Museum of Liverpool
In the Museum of Liverpool, you can learn about the city where the Beatles grew up. The Double Fantasy exhibition was on here from 2018 to 2019. The Museum of Liverpool tells the story of Liverpool and it’s a major attraction in the city. It received funding from various sources, including the EU’s European Regional Development Fund and opened in 2011.
25. The British Music Experience
At the British Music Experience, you can find out all about British pop music including many other famous Liverpool bands who are perhaps overshadowed by the omnipresent Beatles.
26. The Beatles Statue
The Beatles Statue was designed by Andrew Edwards and is probably Liverpool’s number one selfie opportunity. The four larger than life figures were unveiled in December 2015, fifty years after the Beatles’ final show in the city
27. The site of The Tower Ballroom
On the other side of the Mersey in New Brighton, we visit the site of the Tower Ballroom. On top of the building once stood the tallest tower in Britain. It was taken down around 1919 and in 1969, the building was damaged by fire and pulled down. The Beatles played here 27 times between 1961 and 1963.
28. New Brighton Pier
The Beatles gave just one concert on New Brighton Pier, which was built in the mid-19th century and sadly demolished in the early 1970s.
29. The MV Royal Iris
The MV Royal Iris was built in 1950 and served as one of the Mersey ferries. In the 1960s, the Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers played on Cavern cruises on the Mersey. Plans to turn it into a floating night club came to nothing and in 2019 she lay by the Thames in Woolwich, London, taking in water.
30. The Grosvenor Ballroom
The Beatles played at many venues on the Wirral, including the Grosvenor Ballroom in Liscard, not far from New Brighton. The hall looks the same as it did in the early sixties. It’s used for dances and community events.
31. The Apollo Roller Rink
The Beatles made one appearance at the Apollo Roller Rink in Moreton, not far from the sea. It was in 1962 and promoted by the Beatles’ poster artist Tony Booth. It’s now a dancing school.
32. The Majestic Ballroom
The Majestic Ballroom, Birkenhead played an important role in the Merseyside music scene during the 1960s. The Beatles played here on 17 occasions between 1961 and 1963. The building was later used as a Chinese restaurant.
33. The Victoria Hall
Paul often came to the area near The Victoria Hall, Higher Bebington visiting relatives.The Beatles played here on the 4th of August 1962.
34. Hulme Hall, Port Sunlight
Many tourists come to the model village of Port Sunlight for its art gallery and beautiful houses. Port Sunlight was built in the late 19th century by the wealthy soap manufacturer Lord Leverhulme for his employees. In Hulme Hall on the 18th of August 1962, the Beatles played their first concert with Ringo Starr as drummer.
We’ll take the train back to Liverpool city centre and we’ll go to the Cavern Quarter.
35. The Eleanor Rigby Statue
The Eleanor Rigby statue is in Stanley Street not far from Mathew Street. It was created by singer and artist Tommy Steele and presented to Liverpool in 1982.
36. Mathew Street
Mathew Street is dedicated to the Beatles, as well as other famous Liverpool stars including Cilla Black. In the evening and at weekends the street is full of people.
37. The Hard Day’s Night Hotel
The Hard Days Night Hotel is a Beatles theme hotel. The £8 million project was awarded an EU grant of £2.3 million and opened in 2004. High up on the façade, there are some slightly comical statues of the Beatles. The John Lennon statue is the best one.
38. The John Lennon Statue, Mathew Street
The statue of John Lennon on Mathew Street portrays him as a young man wearing a leather jacket. Many people from all over the world stop to have their photo taken next to John.
39. The Cavern Club
Between 1961 and 1963, the Beatles played in the Cavern Club 292 times. This isn’t the original Cavern Club. The building it was in was unfortunately demolished. This new Cavern Club is a very good reproduction of the original.
40. The Grapes Pub, Mathew Street
Before they went on stage, the Beatles often went to the Grapes Pub further down Mathew Street.
41. Four Lads Who Shook the World’
Mounted high on a wall on Mathew Street is the artwork named ‘Four Lads Who Shook the World’. It was created by Arthur Dooley. John Lennon is represented as a baby.
42. The Magical History Museum
The Magical History Museum contains a gigantic collection of Beatles memorabilia on three floors. It commemorates not just the Fab Four but drummer Pete Best who was replaced by Ringo Starr and bass guitarist Stuart Sutcliffe who died in Hamburg at the age of 21.
43. The Casbah Coffee Club
Now we’ll travel three and a half miles or five and a half kilometres from the city centre to the suburb of West Derby. In the cellar of a large house on the road named Haymans Green is the Casbah Coffee Club. Here, Paul, John, George and Pete Best played their first concerts. It’s full of fascinating photographs and memorabilia that transport you back to the late 1950s and early 1960s.The Casbah Coffee Club was owned and run by Pete Best’s mother Mona. It’s back to the city centre now for the final section of the tour.
44. The Beatles Story
The Beatles Story in the Albert Dock is about the remarkable success story of the Fab Four and it’s an award-winning attraction. The White Room is striking and memorable.
45. The European Peace Monument or The John Lennon Peace Monument
The European Peace Monument or The John Lennon Peace Monument was given to the people of Europe on the occasion of John Lennon’s 70th birthday. It was commissioned by the Global Peace Initiative and designed by artist Lauren Voiers when she was only 19. It was unveiled in Chevasse Park near the Hilton Hotel on the 9th of October 2010. Later it was moved to its present site in front of Jury’s Inn Hotel.
We’re going to take the National Trust minibus to visit the Beatles’ childhood homes. To get your ticket to ride, you’ll need to book in advance.
46. Number 20 Forthlin Road
Paul McCartney lived with his family at 20 Forthlin Road, Allerton from 1955 till 1964. The interior of the small terraced house is decorated with furniture and memorabilia from the 1950s. It’s easy to imagine Paul and his family sitting in the front room having a sing-song. Photos of the interior are not allowed.
47. Number 251 Menlove Avenue
We continue to the last Beatles location on the tour, number 251 Menlove Avenue, Woolton, where John Lennon lived with his Aunt Mimi. It’s quite a large semi-detached house with gardens front and rear. The house is a time capsule of the early 1960s and please note photography is not permitted.
On our long and winding tour of 47 Beatles locations in Liverpool and Wirral, we’ve coincidentally covered a distance of around 47 miles as the crow flies. and that’s about or 75 kilometres,
If you’re interested in a shorter tour, you can come on one of my Liverpool Photo Walks.
Please watch the video, click the ‘like’ button, post a comment and subscribe to my AVZINE channel for more on the subject of cities and journeys, including a feature on the Beatles in Hamburg.
So it’s Auf Wiedersehen from me and I’ll leave you with these words by an unnamed writer on the John Lennon Peace Movement website:
“John Lennon taught us to stand up for what we believe in and dream big. He protested for peace, and many people listened. This is why John Lennon will be remembered as a peace activist. His legendary ideas will be remembered forever as long as we all shall live.”