Liverpool had a reputation for being the blue collar city where the Beatles were born and raised. On a recent trip to the British Isles, I had the opportunity to go visit and truth be told, I wasn’t really all that excited. Sure, I like the Beatles’ songs. They are catchy and fun to sing along to. As a Generation X’er, however, I really didn’t know or care much about the band, let alone have any interest in seeing the place where they were born. However, Liverpool has become an exciting tourist destination by embracing the Beatles and providing visitors with first class experience that turned this Gen Xer into a full blown fan of the Beatles and Liverpool. No longer just an industrial town, Liverpool now has so much more to offer.
We went to Liverpool via cruise ship and the first thing that struck me were the wonderful amenities their port has to offer. In the last decade, Liverpool invested in their infrastructure, making their city a very desirable location for cruise ships. The cruise port is new and upgraded so passengers can just disembark and walk to the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour museum or Matthew Street. There were several visitors guides right there to help us with maps and directions, although everything is really close.
We opted to do a Beatles tour that I wasn’t all that enthusiastic about, but ended up loving. The tour guide knew everything about the Beatles and told us stories that made us feel like we were hearing them from a family member. We got to drive down Penny Lane, see Strawberry Fields and hear the back story to many of the most famous songs. By just driving around the city, many lyrics made more sense as they had to do with things the Fab Four grew up around. By the end of the tour, I was a full fledged fan. I finally understood the mania that surrounded the Beatles.
In addition to the tour, a must see is the Magical Mystery Tour. This Beatles experience museum is right down by the waterfront and provides all the Beatles trivia one could ask for. Photos, memorabilia, music…..it is all there. One can spend hours soaking up everything Beatles.
Another “can’t miss” is Matthews Street. This is a long, cobble stone street, with bars, restaurants and souvenir shops, is closed off to cars. The main attraction is the Cavern where the Beatles got their start. “Cavern” is a perfect description for this pub that sits several flights of stairs below the street. They offer live music, cold beer and some great memorabilia for all the famous singers that have played there.
In addition to all the Beatles history, this city is full of beautiful architecture, theaters, restaurants and museums. No longer just an industrial port city, Liverpool has stepped up their game. I left wanting more.