Liverpool's Cavern Club is where the 'Fab Four' got their start. (©The Cavern Club)
Religion, football and music—the holy trinity in Liverpool. No other topics arouse quite as much passion in the city as these do. Located in northwest England, in the county of Merseyside, Liverpool is a thriving metropolitan city.
Home to a seaport that was Britain’s trading gateway to the world in the 18th century, the docks were busy with new immigrants arriving by ship. As the city’s ambitions grew, so did its skyline with the famous landmarks ‘The Three Graces’: the Cunard Building, Liver Building and Port of Liverpool Building. With new communities came new places of worship: the Roman Catholic Cathedral was meant to be 60 feet higher than St Peter’s in the Vatican City, Rome—but was halted by the outbreak of World War II.
For a sight that is just as sacred to Liverpudlians as its churches, visit one of the soccer grounds—the most popular spectator sport in the country. The best-known ground, Anfield, is home to Liverpool FC, and Everton FC’s Goodison Park is the UK’s oldest purpose-built soccer stadium. It’s usually difficult to get a ticket for a match (the season runs from August to early May) but why not book a stadium tour of either venue. There, you can see the clubs’ history on show, as well as visiting the teams’ dressing rooms.
Liverpool has recently taken centre stage and become Britain’s most popular filming location outside London. Recent films shot in the city include Harry Potter spin-off “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and “Sherlock Holmes”.
While A-list names are now regulars on these streets, there are four that excite Liverpudlians and visitors: John, Paul, George and Ringo. The “Fab Four” may be Liverpool’s gift to the world, but the group are a gift for the city’s tourism – so much so that Beatles fans who make a pilgrimage here add £82 million a year to Liverpool’s economy.
Thanks to the National Trust, you can experience a day in the life of the band’s members by visiting their 1950s homes: John Lennon’s on Menlove Avenue, known as "Mendips", and Paul McCartney’s house on Forthlin Road. Sit on McCartney’s bed, go into the room where “She Loves You” was written, and stand on the spot where The Beatles rehearsed. The guides will entertain you with little-known anecdotes.
The Beatles Story
This is the world’s largest permanent exhibition devoted to The Beatles, is a holy grail for fans. Located at the historic Albert Dock, the main exhibition takes you on a magical history tour from the early days when the band were known as the Quarrymen, to their dizzying heights of fame and into their solo careers. Items on display range from John Lennon’s glasses to George Harrison’s first guitar.
Some older Liverpudlians may have seen the band perform at the Cavern Club, where they played more than 300 times in their early days. The look and feel of the venue has been retained, and you might be able to catch a tribute band here.
The British Music Experience
More than just the Fab Four attractions, this new permanent exhibition (from 9 March) is dedicated to the history of popular music in Britain. Starting in 1945 and finishing at the present day, the display shows how rock, pop, dance and other genres have influenced British culture. Release your inner rock god in the Gibson Music Room filled with guitars, which you can strum like a superstar, learn dance moves from different eras or sing your heart out in the vocal booths.
Sir Peter Blake, famed for creating iconic album covers including The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and Oasis’s “Definitely, Maybe,” is a patron of the experience. “I am delighted to be able to support the British Music Experience in their task to archive, celebrate and collect the nation’s popular music heritage for generations to come and Liverpool is of course a fitting city to call its home,” Blake said.
Liverpool is an easy trip from London: direct trains take about 2 hours 15 minutes from Euston station.