All you need is Liverpool love
Imbued with a vibrant history and music scene, Liverpool is enjoying an outing like no other, thanks to its most famous product, the Beatles
There is no shortage of tales and trivia when it comes to one of the UK’s most spirited cities, Liverpool. Sit down for a pint of stout at a local pub with whimsical names like Hound’s Head and Scouse Goose, and the friendly locals will feed you with stories galore, pivoting around the bustling port town by the River Mersey. The city in the northwest of the country has tonnes of ‘Liverpoolisms’ that will be thrown your way. Did you know that RMS Titanic was registered in Liverpool and so carried the city’s name on her stern? Then there is a pair of 18-foot tall, copper Liver Bird statues that crown the Royal Liver building by the portside. Locals believe that the mythical Liver Birds are a female and male pair, which go by the names Bella and Bertie. Bella looks to the sea, watching for the seamen to return safely home, while Bertie looks into the city, making sure the pubs are open. Of all the tales, though, the most fascinating one—that has all the elements of a potboiler—has a quartet of ‘mop-topped’ Liverpudlian young men as its protagonists. They went on to rule the world of rock amid a global hysteria that sprung forth in the 1960s and one that lasts to this day. We’re talking about the Beatles.
Of fields and lanes
For most people who travel by air to Liverpool, ‘Beatlemania’ will have them in its grip the minute their flight touches down at the airport. Named in honour of John Lennon,it is a great introduction to Liverpool with the doodle of Lennon’s face serving as its trademark, and piped muzak playing the band's greatest hits on a loop.One of the most popular Beatles-centric things to do when in Liverpool is to sign up for the daily, two-hour-long Magical Mystery coach tour (borrowed from the 1967 album of the same name), which starts at the Albert Dock and takes in all the places such as Strawberry Field and Penny Lane, among others associated with Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. For the uninitiated, Strawberry Field, the former Salvation Army children’s home in the suburb of Woolton, has great significance to the band. For, it is behind the home in a thickly wooded area that Lennon, who lived nearby, used to play with his friends. It is also the inspiration behind the Beatles’ 1967 hit single, Strawberry Fields Forever.Another important stop on the tour takes visitors down McCartney’s memory lane, literally. Penny Lane, not very far from Strawberry Field, is the iconic road that gave birth to the idea behind another 1967 hit single, Penny Lane, in whose lyrics McCartney talks of the sights and characters he recalled from his upbringing in gritty, suburban Liverpool of the 1950s.
In the dock
The Albert Dock today is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a landmark that has seen the most amount of redevelopment. Here is where former derelict warehouses and condemned buildings were given a new lease of life during the city’s resurgence in the new millennium, post its gross neglect in the 70s and 80s. One such building houses the most important of all Beatles-related must-visits.As the world’s largest exhibition dedicated entirely to the Fab Four, the Beatles Story houses unique paraphernalia, instruments, and stories about the group. The band is brought to life through a series of permanent and temporary exhibitions, including Abbey Road, the early days at the Casbah Coffee Club, and the iconic Cavern Club where they got their first break.
Walk down art street
A short walk from Albert Dock, at Pier Head, lies one of the city’s newest Beatles-themed street art attractions. In December 2015, statues of the Fab Four were donated by the Cavern Club to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the band’s last gig played in Liverpool, which took place at the hallowed Empire Theatre located on the corner of Lime Street and London Road. Sculpted by Andrew Edwards and weighing 1.2 tonnes, each bronze statue has a hidden symbol. McCartney’s statue carries a camera in honour of his late wife, photographer Linda Eastman, while Ringo Starr’s has the number ‘8’ printed on the sole of his shoe, which references L8, his childhood postcode in Liverpool. Celebrating the great Indophile that he was, Harrison has a few Sanskrit words inscribed on the belt of his coat. But the most poignant of all is Lennon’s statue, which has two acorns held in the hand. Apparently, after marrying Yoko Ono in 1969, the couple sent a pair of acorns to leaders across the world asking that the “living sculptures” be planted as a symbol of world peace. Amen to that.
That Yellow Submarine
For the lovers of both street art and the Beatles, Liverpool is a virtual fantasy land. Not to be missed is the metal sculpture of the Yellow Submarine that can be found outside the Liverpool John Lennon Airport after it was moved there from its former home at the entrance to Albert Dock. Inspired by the song of the same name on the band’s 1966 album Revolver, the 51-ft long, life-size submarine is painted a cheery yellow—the perfect backdrop for those post- or pre-flight airport selfies.
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