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Day Tripping With the Beatles

When you grow up a Beatles fan you learn all the names. Not John, Paul, George and Ringo (that goes without saying), but Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields and The Cavern Club and Elenor Rigby and all the rest. Those names are in Liverpool. And that’s where I found myself yesterday.

Some people go to Disney World for their dreams to come true. I have a hard time wrapping my head around that. But walking in the footsteps of those who came before? Standing in a spot where a legend was literally born? Yes, please. And Liverpool delivers.

There’s much more to this city than The Beatles, and I’d love to write about my experiences with all of the museums and exploring the waterfront more. But we had a seven hour window to work with, and a lifetime of assumptions to work through. So it was all about The Fab Four on this trip. If I were to go again, and I hope I do, I’d stay for at least a long weekend for a more immersive Liverpool experience. There’s just so much to see you’ll need the time.

If you’re a Beatles fan with limited time, I’d recommend the itinerary we created on the fly. Go to The Beatles Story for an immersive self-paced walk through the lives of John, Paul, George and Ringo (that’s the accepted order of names, it messes up everything to jumble them). Wear the headsets and listen to the stories and music, it’s a great launching point for a day with The Beatles.

Right down the street is the boarding spot for the Magical Mystery Tour, a fabulously fun tour on a bright yellow coach bus. Highly informative stories about what you’re seeing or, importantly, about to see sprinkled with Beatles songs that had many on the bus singing along. That “about to see” part is key, because when driving up a street it’s helpful to know what to look for. Our guide was excellent and prepped us for the turn onto Penny Lane and the drive-by of Elenor Rigby’s grave so we were collectively ready for the moment. Just enough stops for pictures along the way to satiate the Beatles fan checklist without losing momentum. I’ve done a few bus tours in my day, most do the job of informing on the fly well, some not so well. This one is exceptional.

The tour ended down the street from The Cavern Club, and included a ticket to get in. Perfect way to end the day? Not so fast; there was still one more thing to do before the sun set. My daughter and I walked briskly down to the waterfront for a picture with Ringo, Paul, George and John (See? Doesn’t flow the same). Liverpool is well aware of the positive contribution their four lads have made on the city and erected statues of each of them together looking west. There are other statues of them individually sprinkled in the city but I’m partial to the band together.

To cap off a Fab day we made our way back to The Cavern Club, deep down several the flights of stairs to the place where they took off. And this place didn’t disappoint. Great music playing on that stage we all know. The arched Cavern walls enclose you, immersive and reflective all at once. You’re literally there, wrapped up in that place you would see in black and white images, now a living monument to the past and a vibrant and exciting bar. The Cavern Club has a pulse, and it’s strong. I had no idea this place deep underground would be the highlight of my day, but it surely was. I’d go again any time at all.

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