By Peter Naldrett, author of Days Out Underground.
The anniversary of the iconic Abbey Road album has seen a surge in Beatles programming on the TV and radio this week. One of the best ways to get involved with Beatles history is to enjoy a trip to the stunning Beatles Story in Liverpool’s historic Albert Dock. With a subterranean element recreating the famous Cavern Club, it’s one of my favourite Days Out Underground.
Occupying the Britannia Vaults in the basement of the dock building, Liverpool’s world class Beatles attraction provides a link between the city’s industrial past and the musical history it’s well known for. Leave the posh eateries at street level and descend the stairs to embark on an underground magical mystery tour about Liverpool’s most famous sons. Getting tickets online beforehand could save you from a queue at the door and secure the all-important audio guide around your neck a little faster. The experience benefits so much from the electronic guide, which not only has a wide range of spoken information but also shows pictures and plays a selection of videos. It plays a pivotal role in introducing the story of the Beatles to you, starting with the school days of the original four – John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best, who was famously replaced by Ringo Starr. But don’t rely on the headphones entirely for this visit. There are so many other things to see and listen to, you’ll want to discuss them with other people in your group. There’s far too much to warrant going around in silence.
Save plenty of time for the large room at the end of the story, when the post-1970 careers of The Beatles are put centre stage. Their achievements are relayed through displays, music and videos. Each of the Fab Four have their own seated area where you can relax and indulge in McCartney belting out Live and Let Die, Lennon’s political protests, Harrison’s wonderful My Sweet Lord and Starr narrating Thomas The Tank Engine. Solo career moments you may have forgotten about are also explored here, including Ringo Starr’s movie appearance in The Magic Christian and Paul McCartney’s film, Give My Regards to Broad Street.
At the end of The Beatles Story, the Fab4 Café is a great place to reflect on what you’ve just seen and maybe enjoy a Beatles-themed bun with a drink. Large murals on the wall remind you exactly where you are. Before you exit to street-level, the Fab4 Store has a huge range of souvenirs, from T-shirts and Christmas decorations to bags and bears.
Spending a weekend in Liverpool is an ideal way to immerse yourself in Beatles culture. If you have not been there for a few years, it’s worth a visit to see how this great northern city has been transformed. Make sure you pose for a photograph with the Beatles in the statue close to the Mersey in front of the Liver Building.
Other Days Out Underground you may like: