It's a kind of adv, I know... but interesting to read
(sorry, no links, it was emailed to me)
Untitled DocumentRef: The Independent
There's no mystery about this magical tour, which will take you around the
world of the 20th century's greatest band. But there are lots of surprises
By Simon Calder, Tom Templeton and Laura Dixon
First stop, Liverpool
Yes. The best way to get to the birthplace of the Beatles is to fly into the
airport, soon-to-be named after John Lennon, who was shot 21 years ago.
Earlier this year, Yoko Ono announced that the airport would be renamed after
her late husband when the new £32m terminal is completed next spring. The
logo for Liverpool John Lennon Airport includes the artist's self-portrait
with the words "above us only sky", taken from Lennon's hit "Imagine".
The no-frills airline easyJet (0870 6000 000; www.easyJet.com)
northern- England base at the airport, but the only UK destination is
Belfast. And you can't fly in from Miami Beach, BOAC. But from Luton, there
are daily flights on Euroceltic Airways (08700 400 100; www.Euroceltic.com).
The airport itself is close to the Mersey estuary, in the suburb of Speke.
Speaking of Speke, isn't there a Paul connection?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. You can experience a day in the life of the young Paul
McCartney by visiting the house he grew up in on 20 Forthlin Road in Speke.
This was the very place where Paul was living when he met John Lennon, and
the pair spent many an afternoon skiving off school to write such gems as
"Love Me Do" and "I Saw Her Standing There" in the parlour of this small
terraced house. It's accessible via Speke Hall (0151 427 7231), which owns
the property. John Birt, former director-general of the BBC, spotted that the
house was up for sale in 1995 and suggested the National Trust should
preserve it as a monument to rock'n'roll. It has now been restored and
entrance costs £5.50 for adults, £2.50 if you're a National Trust member.
Rail travel to Liverpool - a hard day's night?
That all depends on how Virgin Trains (08457 222 333; www.virgin.com/trains),
the main operator of long-distance services to Liverpool, is performing. In
theory, the trip from London should take three hours. Take the one after
9.09, and you may be able to find a Virgin Value ticket to ride as cheap as
£20 return. From Birmingham, reckon on two hours and £12. First NorthWestern
and Central Trains also serve Liverpool. Three minutes before arriving at
Lime Street station, the train will pass under a modest bridge; this is Penny
There, beneath the blue suburban skies, stands one of the most celebrated
streets in the world. Paul McCartney's song gives a haunting sense of a
long-lost England, where the banker's motorcar is worthy of note, when men
still called at the barber for a shave, and hourglasses and portraits of the
Queen were conventional possessions.
Most of the song's action - the shelter in the middle of the roundabout, the
bank - takes place across the main road. The Sergeant Pepper Bistro in the
middle of the roundabout is a more recent impostor, a curious combo of Greek
taverna and theme restaurant.
"Penny Lane" was the first significant Beatles single to fail to go straight
to the top of the charts, kept off the No 1 spot in March 1967 by Engelbert
Humperdinck's "Please Release Me".
Let's spend the night together
Right plan, wrong band, wrong time. The £8m Hard Day's Night Hotel
0870 444 1964) will not open until 2003. It
should be worth waiting all of the day and all of the night: the 120 rooms
will be located in a Grade II-listed building, with basement access to the
Cavern club - the reincarnation of the club where the boys first got
themselves noticed. Like the band, the hotel will have four stars. Twin rooms
will be available for £60 a night, with penthouse apartments going for £160.
If you can't wait that long, try the Adelphi Britannia (Ranelagh Place,
Liverpool L3 5UL; 0151 709 7200), as featured in one of the more oppressive
TV docu-soaps. There is a standby rate of £50 a night for a double room, £40
for a single. At the Gateacre Hall Hotel (0151 428 6322), £50 will get you a
basic double for the night, with an executive room costing around £80. For a
little more expense and authenticity, head for Woolton, Lennon's childhood
neighbourhood, and the Woolton Redbourne (0151 421 1500). A double can be had
for £70, but the best suites will set you back £160 a night.
If you're going for the experience more than the accommodation, the Home
Leigh Guest House (0151 734 2216) will put you up for £15 to £20 a night. A
short bus ride will get you to Penny Lane or the Strawberry Field children's
home, now run by the Salvation Army. According to Home Leigh's manager,
Margery Bridge, it can get busy at this time of year, although she's "not
sure if it's because of Lennon's anniversary or the football". Whatever your
motive, book a couple of weeks in advance.
On a tight budget, the finest place to stay is the fab and friendly Embassie
Youth Hostel, 1 Falkner Square, Liverpool L8 7NU (0151 707 1089), located in
a beautiful Georgian square. Dorm beds cost £10 per night, and there are
nightly videos such as Magical Mystery Tour and The Rutles. But if you're
trying to impress a sweetheart and you bring her here, you're gonna lose that
The best destination for a day-tripper?
The Beatles Story at the Albert Dock (0151 709 1963; www.beatlesstory.co.uk),
which does a pretty good job of telling the tale of the greatest band on
earth. It's open eight, sorry, seven days a week, from 10am, £7.95 for
adults, £5.95 concessions.
What about Abbey Road?
Wrong city. You'll need to jump back on the train to London. Number 3, Abbey
Road, as if anyone needs reminding, is where the Beatles recorded their first
hit, "Love Me Do", in 1962. In fact, they continued to record here, in Studio
2, even after the band set up their own label, Apple. At first sight, this
leafy lane in St John's Wood, north London, is a surprising choice for
stardom. Abbey Road is barely a mile long.
Of course, it's not just the studio that fans flock to see. The zebra
crossing is the most celebrated pedestrian span in the world. At 11am on 8
August 1969, the photographer Iain Macmillan climbed a stepladder set up in
the middle of Abbey Road as eight be-flared legs strode across in formation.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Getting there: take the Jubilee Line to St John's Wood. From the station,
cross Finchley Road and walk down Grove End Road untill you see the crossing.
Bus 139, which begins in Trafalgar Square, and bus 189, from Oxford Circus,
run the length of Abbey Road. Organised tours: the Original London Walks
(020-7624 3978) run tours of Beatles' locations in the capital, culminating
outside the studios at Abbey Road. There is no public access to the studios.
Roll up for the mystery tour
Back in Liverpool, the Magical Mystery Tour sets off from Albert Dock several
times daily, in a 52-seater coach that is a close approximation to the one
used in the Beatles film. For £10.95, you get a riveting two-hour tour,
accompanied by appropriate music, of the Liverpool that the Beatles knew -
including, poignantly, George's boyhood home. With plenty of people planning
pilgrimages, you should book ahead on 0151 709 3285.
Any good places to party?
When I was young, oh, so much younger than today, the Beatles played nearly
300 times at the Cavern club between 1961 and 1963. It was then
unceremoniously destroyed and replaced by a tacky shopping complex called the
Cavern Walks. But cheap and cheerful nightlife is thriving in Liverpool,
notably at the Casablanca on Hope Street, the city's smokiest and best. Owned
by ex-dockers and with an unusual Art Deco interior, it's a 10-minute walk
from the Cavern district, and it is even free to get in.
For more ideas, call the helpful Liverpool Tourist Information (0151 709
No, I meant where was 'Help' filmed?
The Beatles' second movie was filmed in a wide range of locations, including
the Bahamas, where the band stayed at the Graycliff Hotel
001 242 322 2796) in Nassau. Prices for
five-star service range from £130 to £200 during the low season, which ends
on 21 December, up to £270 until next May.
From there, they flew to Miami Beach and the Deauville Hotel (001 305 865
Here, in August 1964, the Beatles recorded their
second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, watched by an estimated 73 million
people. The hotel has been recently renovated at a cost of £9m. Rooms can
cost as little as £70 if you book well in advance. Ocean-facing suites go for
Was this their first trip to America?
No. George, the youngest member of the band, had been to stay at his sister
Louise's home in the small town of Benton, Illinois. Thirty-two years later,
the house was scheduled to be pulled down to make way for a parking lot, but
after vociferous local protest, it was reprieved and taken over by three
couples who turned it into the Hard Day's Nite B&B (00 1 618 438 2328; www.harddaysnitebnb.com).
The room that George slept in was turned into a
museum. Benton is at one end of the Route 57 axis that leads to Graceland,
Elvis's home in Memphis, Tennessee.
The Plaza Hotel in New York (www.stayinnewyorkcity.com;
001 212 759 3000) was
the first stop for the Beatles on their 1964 tour. It stands on the corner of
Fifth Avenue and 59th Street, 13 blocks away from the Dakota building where
Lennon was shot and Yoko still lives. Opposite, in Central Park, an area has
been named Strawberry Fields in remembrance of the singer. The gardens are
maintained by Yoko Ono in memory of John. Trees and shrubs have been donated
by many countries as a gesture to world peace, and there is a beautiful
"Imagine" mosaic on the path.
Is rock'n'roll here to stay?
It is in Cleveland. The Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame and Museum (001 888 7647625; www.rockhall.com)
inducted all four "Beatles" into its Hall of Fame in 1988,
observing the rule that you can only enter 25 years after your first album
release. Just opened here is Lennon: His Life and Work collection, made up
from a massive loan of objects from Yoko Ono. You can see the bed made from
two church pews from their New York apartment; handwritten lyrics for
"Imagine" and "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"; and the white tuxedo worn by
John in the Magical Mystery Tour film which was made while they were
discovering the mysteries of the Orient.
Rishikesh in India was put firmly on the map after Lennon attended Maharishi
Mahesh Yogi's transcendental meditation seminar there in 1968. The Glass
House of the Ganges (00 91 11 461 6145) is 23km away but has a superb
position overlooking the Ganges river from a rocky outcrop. There are just 12
rooms, with suites at £45 a night excluding taxes.
By 1969, the honeymoon was over...
But for John and Yoko it was just beginning. From Liverpool, easyJet can fly
you to Amsterdam and the Hilton Hotel (www.hilton.com;
00 31 20 710 6005) -
scene of the 1969 bed-in. Room 902, where John and Yoko faced the world's
media and called for peace, can be yours for £500 a night. If talking in bed
for a week isn't your idea of a holiday, simple doubles cost £170, but
there's no breakfast. John and Yoko's second love-in that year took place in
a corner suite of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel (001 514 861 3511) in Montreal in
1969. It was here that Give Peace a Chance was recorded. The two-bedroom
suite can be booked today for around £350. Just ask for room 1742.
One-bedroom suites go for £150, and £70 will get you a simple double.
Any other Canadian connections?
Just opened at the Provincial Museum of Alberta in Edmonton (001 780 4539100; www.pma.edmonton.ab.ca),
The Beatles! Backstage and Behind the Scenes. This
is an exhibition of newly discovered photos from the Beatles' 1964 visit to
North America. After 37 years, these images were uncovered in the CBS photo
archive and are on view for the first time, until 1 April 2002. Also, until
13 January, the museum plays host to an exhibition called Linda McCartney's
Sixties - Portrait of an Era.
What does Yoko think of it all?
The only museum the Japanese artist has officially endorsed is the John
Lennon Museum (00 81 48 6010009; www.taisei.co.jp/museum)
in Saitan City, on
the outskirts of Tokyo. It opened on 9 October 2000, the 60th anniversary of
John's birthday. For an entrance fee of £8.50 for adults and £5.70 for
children, you get to watch a short film about Lennon's life before entering
nine "zones" in which you find a collection of his belongings, musical
instruments and costumes. Perhaps most mesmerising are the scrawled lyric
manuscripts to classics such as "Woman" and "Nowhere Man".
Liverpool Pictorial www.liverpoolpictorial.co.uk
Send a MersE postcard www.liverpoolpictorial.co.uk/postcards
"Because there wasn't any reason left to keep it all inside"
- Paul McCartney, 1982