THE BEATLES’ STORY, IN ALBERT DOCK, LIVERPOOL
If you’re a fan of The Beatles, a trip to the UNESCO listed city of Liverpool is a must. The perfect place to start your trip would be The Beatles’ Story, on Albert Dock. We hadn’t been inside since our first day trip out of Stoke together, back in 2002. Things have changed drastically since then, and if anything, the place seems to have become even more popular!
Upon entry, you’ll be handed an audio guide, narrated by John Lennon’s sister Julia. They are very informative indeed. However, we did think they were a bit quiet. This was the case especially with the Beatles music playing in the background as we moved from room to room. The way it is all set out is very impressive indeed, going from scene to scene as the story of The Beatles unfolded.
Priceless artefacts of rock and roll history
It starts with family histories, and the future Fab Four’s introductions to music. One of the highlights is George Harrison’s first ever guitar. A display about the fete where John and Paul met, as John performed with the Quarry Men, includes the basic instruments used on that day. When we say basic, we mean it – they include a washboard! Some are original, whilst others are copies. Other recreations include The Casbah, (featuring original paintwork by John), the Star Club in Hamburg, the Mersey Beat office (featuring a humorous story by John about the origins of The Beatles), and the music shop where they used to get their instruments from.
This leads to Matthew Street, where iconic clubs The Grapes and The Cavern are recreated from the outside. In fact, The Cavern has a superb full-scale recreation of the inside. It took us back to the day Scott’s band performed live at the real one. The bar at the back, where Cilla Black once helped out, is present, and there is plenty of information around the room as well as a video to watch, in here. Memorabilia includes an actual ticket from The Beatles’ last performance there back in 1963.
The changing scenes whisk you on a whirlwind journey through their careers
From here, you’ll enter into NEMS record shop, where Brian Epstein was the owner, for a display about the manager of the group. Then, Abbey Road Studios, where the studio has been mocked up, with recreations of the instruments the group used. You’ll hear the story of the band struggling to get a record deal on the back of a demo disc they made (Hello Little Girl) and impressively, they have this valuable record on display.
The Beatlemania room highlights the loud screams that accompanied the band’s every move. Don’t miss the wide range of sometimes hilarious merchandise that was on offer. A mock-up of the interior of a plane led us to the success in America, before an area dedicated to some of their successful records. You’ll see the Eleanor Rigby grave from the Free As A Bird video, exact copies of the brightly coloured Sergeant Pepper’s uniforms, a mellotron which could well be the one used on Strawberry Fields Forever, a Magical Mystery Tour bus, and of course, a Yellow Submarine, which you can run around the inside of.
Only eight years together, but they did work eight days a week
The break-up of the band comes next, a reminder that the band were actually only together for eight years. We find this a shocking fact when you consider their roughly 200 classic songs. A large room contains four sections, each devoted to one member of the band. We started with Paul, then John (where you’ll see the round spectacles he wore as he wrote Imagine), then George, and finally Ringo. In the centre of the room is the drumkit Ringo played at the Concert for George.
A photography exhibition dedicated to John Lennon leads to the highlight of the collection, a recreation of the famed White Room. Pride of place goes to the actual white piano that Imagine was written on. A new part for 2018 is about their trips to India with the Maharishi. This concluded the audio tour, though the original gates from Strawberry Fields are on display outside the exit. As well as a cafe, there was an education space which is pretty cool. It features a walking piano, so we had fun playing Hey Jude on there before leaving via the shop. We thought it was busy when we went in, but the queue was out of the door by now, proof of the fact that you should aim to get there early to avoid the worst of the crowds.
Don’t miss The Beatles’ Story, and the city of Liverpool too
Overall, The Beatles’ Story is a well-told run through of the all-too-short career of the world’s greatest band. It will delight fans of the group, whilst also providing a sensory experience to wow even those who have never got into The Beatles. Liverpool is a city that really must be visited. If you’re a Beatles fan, there is no better place to ‘come together’. Even if, like us, you’ve been before, you should ‘get back’ and see what has changed. For our full city guide to Liverpool, click here.
Are you a Beatles fan? Are there any other attractions around the world devoted to a musical act we should know about?