One of my favorite bands, to no one’s surprise, is The Beatles.
I generally enjoy British rock in general, but The Beatles remain the classic standard by which all others are measured. When I realized my stay in Manchester meant Liverpool would be just a fast train ride away, I knew I had to make the time to take a day trip there.
A day-return ticket to Liverpool runs about 20 pounds, depending on the time of day you choose to head out and back. Avoiding rush hour can shave the price of the ticket. I opted for an “anytime return” ticket because I wasn’t sure how much I’d accomplish in Liverpool or how much time it would all take, and that was under $30 U.S. The train itself was easily accessible, and the jaunt through the northern countryside toward the Irish Sea pleasant.
Upon arrival at Liverpool Lime Street station, I chose to take a taxi to Albert Dock, a series of buildings along the Mersey River heading to the Irish Sea that have been renovated into museums and shops. It’s also where the Beatles Story is housed.
At first glance, the line for admittance looked long, but I discovered it was comprised of two school groups. Once they were dealt with, it didn’t take long at all to get my ticket and audio guide. The museum is well laid out, chronologically, and the audio tour (which comes with the price of the ticket) allows visitors to listen to short audio clips at each station that tell more of the story of The Beatles. The guide also offers special videos and images along the way.
The Beatles Story features numerous artifacts that belonged to the band or to locations they frequented. George Harrison’s and Paul McCartney’s first guitars show up first, and then we see the front door to the club they played in Hamburg as they got their start, the offices of the Mersey Beat newspaper, and a reconstruction of The Cavern, the pub/club at which the band played the most in Liverpool. The club stage has been moved into the exhibit so the original can be viewed. The audio commentary tells visitors that the stage also hosted the Kinks and other British bands, which I thought was cool.
Visitors wind through Abbey Road Studios, see the Magical Mystery Tour bus, and end in a recreation of John Lennon’s white New York apartment. Along the way, of course, there’s music. I sat and listened to “Imagine” as it played in Lennon’s space at the end, and I remembered performing the tune myself. It remains, for me, an anthem of peace in a troubled world, and it was a song I needed to hear today.
After a stop in the gift shop, I went up on the dock itself to find lunch, and I did: Fish chips, because why not? And afterward, I meandered toward the Mersey Maritime Museum and the International Slavery Museum both of which are housed in the same dock building opposite the Beatles Story.
I have a fascination with the Titanic story, and I spent most of my time in the Maritime Museum going through the Liverpool side of that story. White Star Line, the company that launched the Titanic, was based in Liverpool, and the Museum contains numerous artifacts from the White Star Line and from the Titanic itself. It’s well worth the trip for anyone interested in that bit of history.
After a walk through the shops and along the water, my afternoon was waning and so was my patience, so I went back to Lime Street Station and headed back to Manchester.
Liverpool was a fun stop.