I took my 23 year old daughter, who is a Beatles fanatic, for a weekend in Liverpool and surrounds to see and understand where it all began. We both had an excellent weekend and loved Liverpool. We’d booked a nice hotel in Wallasey as it was good value and close to a station on the Wirral Line which has a good, cheap and frequent service into the city which saved us using the car. So first stop on the way was a detour off the motorway to Hulme Hall in Port Sunlight where the main Beatles line up first played 50 years ago. There is a plaque by the entrance to this effect. After hotel check- in and taking the train into the city centre we spent the afternoon in the two museums – firstly the Museum of Liverpool, which is free and has a short 360 degree AV show of the Liverpool link with the group. It also has many exhibits and interactive stuff of not only the Fab Four but other Liverpool artists. The Museum looked to have lots of other interesting content and we would have stayed longer but we had to move on to the Beatles Story. I‘d avoided going there previously as I’d heard it was a bit tacky for the money but we both thought it was excellent and well presented, with the story told in a timeline with good reconstructions and loads of exhibits and factual info (although I spotted a few inaccuracies).The four areas at the end dedicated to each member with videos etc was a good way to end. Could have spent a fortune in the shop but it was a little on the expensive side so moved on. No time for the Pier Head exhibition this time.
We headed over to Mathew Street and thought an afternoon drink in the Hard Day’s Night hotel might be in order – they have some nice pictures on the wall but otherwise not too impressed. After a visit to the Beatles shop (much cheaper than the Beatles Story)and some photos with the Lennon statue and the Wall of Fame we paid £2 to go into the reconstructed Cavern and spent about an hour there listening to some live music (lots of Beatle stuff) with a couple of beers. Although not the original it still has an authentic feel and you can see it must have been great in the 60’s. A quick look at the Eleanor Rigby statue in Stanley St then got some food and went back to the hotel. The Grapes was heaving with early evening drinkers so gave that a miss. Ye Cracke and the Philharmonic were also just a bit too far to visit too after a long day.
Sunday was a day visiting the suburb sites starting with the Paul and John childhood homes. These can only be seen from the inside as part of a National Trust tour from Jury’s Inn. As NT members we saved on the tour price (you still have to pay £8 for the mini-bus ) and although the full entrance of £20 may seem like a lot, I can’t remember spending a more interesting 2 and a half hours. There is a maximum of 15 on each tour and we spent about an hour in each house. It was just like stepping back in time with the houses lovingly restored to 1950’s glory along with loads of artefacts relating to their time there. Best thing though were the two guides, husband and wife Colin and Sylvia (Hall?) who both provided wonderful insight and anecdotes of the house and the people living there which you wouldn’t get anywhere else . They both help to look after the properties and have a great love in what they do and this comes over in their guided tours. Not to be missed.
On return to Jury’s Inn we had a quick look around Albert Dock and then headed off by car to Penny Lane to see the bus shelter, barber shop, bank, St Barnabas church etc. Just around the corner is Newcastle Road where John first lived then it was off to Strawberry Field (note not Fields). Final stop of the afternoon and weekend was St Peter’s Church and hall. The hall (opposite the church) has a plaque showing this was where Paul first met John in 1957 and the churchyard has graves of Eleanor Rigby (and a John McKenzie almost next to it) and George Smith, John’s uncle who looked after him in Menlove Avenue . Liverpool manager Bob Paisley is also buried close-by. There is a school now where the field was where the Quarrymen played on that day. Note a useful YouTube video shows you where the graves can be found if you’re doing this on your own. We only found out late about the Casbah Club in West Derby for which you need to book a tour so this we’ll do on our next visit. Our excellent weekend ended with 4 hours of Beatles music making our homeward motorway journey down south more bearable.. One thing we both agreed on was that away from the music side we both found Liverpool a lovely welcoming city and vowed to return to see the non Beatles sites at a future date. Thanks to Matt, Alf, Munchkim and others who provided great info for our trip.