The original Beatles Tour of Liverpool takes you on a trip through the hometown of the Fab Four spanning everything including icons from their most famous songs to their childhood homes. If Google Maps married The Beatles Chronicle Handbook, this tour would be their prodigious love child. Hosted by highly knowledgeable local tour guides with authentic Scouse accents who let you in on all the little known Beatles facts as well as places you need to know about the city so that you can know where to visit on your own even after the tour ends. From the choicest Beatles oriented pubs (Lennon’s Bar on Matthew Street) to the neighborhoods best worth getting lost in to historical information about specific structures: the result is a tour of fascinating trivia and some downright impressive happenings. From the art school that Lennon attended to Strawberry Fields and the story behind it. Want to see the Barber Shop mentioned in Penny Lane? It’s still standing and you’ll get to see it. How about the Cavern Club where the Beatles got their start? Yup, they’ll show you the “fake” Cavern Club which is just a few steps away from the original and was created to look exactly as the original looked in all its sweaty, loud and claustrophobic glory (with a Beatles cover band playing, of course!)
One of the sightings that stuck out in my mind was the childhood home of Ringo Starr. Located in what’s known as “the dingle” area of Liverpool, the area is terribly dilapidated yet somehow charming in it’s own right. Even back then “the dingle” was one of the poorest areas of Liverpool. I could just imagine an adorable little Richard (Ringo) playing in the street, clueless that he would one day be a multimillionaire and play drums in one of the most famous bands in the universe. The dingle is sadly set to be torn down, I believe there are some legal wranglings going on and hopefully the city will do the right thing and leave the dingle alone and free to stand for all future visiting Beatles fans to see and contemplate.
Other interesting stops included the side alley near Hope Street where John Lennon supposedly knocked up his future ex-wife Cynthia, the street where John Lennon’s dear mother Julia was hit by a car and tragically killed when John was only seventeen years old, the council estates where George Harrison grew up, the school that Brian Epstein attended in his formative years and so much more. One of my favorite sites was the graveyard where Eleanor Rigby is buried. The actual Eleanor Rigby was born in 1895 and lived in Liverpool, possibly in the suburb of Woolton, where she married a man named Thomas Woods. She died on 10 October 1939 at age 44. Little did Mrs. Rigby know in life that her name in death would be associated with an iconic yet haunting song. Interesting to note that Paul McCartney claimed that he came up with the names Eleanor Rigby and Father MacKenzie (who is buried in the same graveyard) completely by accident, despite the fact that he used to practice with the band only a few steps away at the St. Peter’s Parish Church.
One of the things I was most impressed by was our host, Ian Crabtree’s speedy recall of an encyclopedic Beatles historical and cultural memory. Any time we drove by a major landmark Ian would be ready to dish some trivia related to the place. I was tempted to just throw the most random of trivia out there to see if Ian could tie them into actual sightings. If you have even mild to major appreciation for Beatles trivia and the occasional macabre and want to cover a lot of ground in a short period of time give Beatles Tours a call. With daily tours and several tour style options to choose from, If you’re not completely amused send me the bill and I’ll send you a map and a compass. Fair enough?