First of all – to get you in the right mood:
We celebrated Derek’s birthday a few weeks ago. For the Saturday before his birthday we took a train up to Liverpool – a place that’s been on our bucket list since we moved here. My dad listened to the Beatles all the time while I was growing up and I, like so many others, love their music. However, I’ve recently come to realize there’s much more music than what I know from my dad. I mostly just know #1 hits and early years music. It’s time I educate myself on the music of their later years!
My inept knowledge of the Beatles’ music aside, our overall takeaway from Liverpool is that one day, bookended by two 2 hour train rides, was not quite enough. Liverpool is has enough to see in its own right, never mind all the Beatles related sites.
From the train station we headed straight to the Albert Dock (a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of all of the maritime history that’s happened here) where there are lots of things to see and do.When planning for this day trip I hummed and hawed about whether to go to The Beatles Story – a museum about the history of the Beatles, or a two hour Magical Mystery Tour to see some of the Beatles’ boyhood homes. I knew we didn’t have time to do both. You can also go inside Lennon and McCartney’s homes, but those tours are separate from the bus tour that would have taken us around. We decided on The Beatles Story and while we enjoyed it, I still wonder if we made the right decision! The grass is always greener. It was, however, nice to get a comprehensive understanding of how the four boys met, got their start, their first managers, their tour to America, Beatlemania, and what each Beatle did after the band dissolved. (Am I the last person to find out Ringo Starr is the narrator for Thomas the Tank Engine? Hilarious!)
Inside a replica of the Cavern Club.
Eleanor Rigby’s [replica] gravestone. McCartney says the name is made up; he was searching for a name that “sounded natural.” Although there is an Eleanor Rigby buried in a Liverpool graveyard…
Following our tour of The Beatles Story, we walked around the dock a bit before heading into the Museum of Liverpool. There was more on the Beatles there, but we also read a bit about Liverpool FC, some history of the docks, and about other artists that have come from Liverpool.We meandered our way over to second section of The Beatles Story – a 4D presentation and few small galleries. One that I really appreciated is The Hidden Gallery, full of photographs of the band that were only recently found in the photographer’s attic.
At this point it was getting fairly late and we still had a 2 hour train ride to get home. On our way back we walked past the Cavern Club.
The next day we celebrated Derek’s 30th! If you’re traveling to Liverpool:
We really just scratched the tip of the iceberg (a terrible cliché to use here considering where the Titanic set sail!) when it comes to things to do.
There’s several more free museums (the Tate Liverpool, other National Museums), tours of the Beatles’ homes and other sites (Abbey Road, Strawberry Fields), and more to the UNESCO World Heritage site. I also think it would have been nice to take a ferry ride to the other side of the Mersey. Alas, we made our decision to sleep in our own beds.
The Beatles Story wasn’t terribly [young] child friendly, but it was pretty stroller friendly (once you’re inside it’s all on one level), which we appreciated.
The city is walkable if you’re only going to the docks and things in the city center, but if you want to see some of the other Beatles sites (Casbah Coffee Club, etc.) you’ll need to have a car or take a tour.
Jimmy Fallon’s Beatles impressions (start at 1:04 if you’d like):
And this because it cracked me up:
P.S. That cake pictured turned out beautifully, even if it’s not the most visually beautiful cake I’ve ever made. The cake recipe is one that has been really consistent for me – never dry and stays nice for days, the peanut butter frosting recipe from here was so dreamy and fluffy and much better than one I’ve made previously. I also chopped up some Reese’s and put them between layers. Heaven!
Now excuse me while I go educate myself more on Beatles music!