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  1. #1

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    A Beatlemaniacs trip report of London and Liverpool

    Just so you know, this isn't a typical trip report of someone who visited London. This is a trip report of a Beatles freak (who also loves Disney) who went out of her way to find every Beatles things there is to see. I have been dreaming of this trip since I was 13 (in 1990) and started saving over 2 years ago (to help me get through an awful divorce). I was traveling with my mom, who is also a big Beatles fan, but not nearly like me.

    Days 1 and 2
    June 7-8 2010

    My mom and I had never traveled outside of North America before, so we weren't too sure what all to expect. We left St. Louis for Chicago and then from Chicago (and a meal at Chilli's) we boarded our plane for London. I was really dreading the 8 hour flights, but I have to say that it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. On this flight, we each had our own televisions on the seat in front of us with a touch screen. We were able to pick what movies or TV shows we wanted to watch. I picked Alvin and the Chipmunks 2. My plans for sleeping on the flight did not happen. I was WAY too excited.

    We landed at 6am (their time) and stood in a VERY long line at customs. I was so giddy, it wasn't even funny. I happily told the lady that we were there "on holiday." And we were welcomed into jolly England!

    After getting our bags, we took the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station, which was near our hotel. We were staying at the Royal Cambridge on Sussex. During the time we were there, my mom and I lovingly called this hotel, "The Royal Dump." Since it was 9am, we couldn't check into the hotel yet. We were told that there was a secure place that we could store our bags. Yeah...that was just an open area under the stairs. We took out anything we thought would be valuable and decided to make our way out into England. Our first Beatles tour was at 11am.



    We walked around the Paddington area and took a bunch of "tourist" type photos.


    Here I am in a real red phone booth! (I basically have the same photo of me like this at EPCOT, but this was the REAL thing!)

    Then we got on the Tube and went to Marylebone Station, where our first tour was meeting. I have to stop and say that the London Tube was extremely easy to use. The map was easy to read and understand. It is very smiliar to the "the L" in Chicago (which I have a little experience using from going there for the Fest for Beatles fans). We were about an hour early, but this gave us time to walk around that area and stop for tea and a muffin (lemonade chiller for me).

    The tour we went on was Richard Porter's Walking Beatles Tour. This particular one was called "In my Life." If you are a Beatles fan, the Richard Porter walking Tours are a MUST! Having said this, don't expect Richard himself to stay off his memorized script. He doesn't appear to be a very personable guy and got flustered when I tried asking questions. He does have his script down pat. He also walks really fast.

    We saw SO many neat Beatles things. Here are some of my favorites.

    The alleyway where George Harrison felll while being chased by girls at the beginning of "A Hard Day's Night."


    What once was the Apple boutique buidling.

    In the middle of the tour, it started to pour down rain. My mom and I were not prepared for rain and needless to say, the dumb Americans got soaked to the bone!

    The tour ended at Abbey Road Studios and the Abbey Road Crossing. While I was walking across the famous zebra crossing I started to cry a little. I had dreamed of walkingn across that street for most of my life and it was finally happening. I was there. It was more emotional for me that I accomplished such a big goal in my life than anything else. But it was a surreal moment for sure.

    Abbey Road crossing. It is MUCH smaller in person that it looked on the album cover. The photos of me crossing it this day didn't turn out, but I had another chance the next day.

    I also made sure to bring my Sharpie marker and wrote on the Abbey Road Studios wall.


    The tour was offical over, but I decided that I wanted to find Paul McCartney's London home. I went left when I should have went right and got frustrated that I couldn't find it. But I knew I had another day to look at a map and figure it out. So mom and I (still soaked) went and bought a few souviners at the Beatles Coffee Shop at the Tube Stations and decided to offically check into our hotel.

    The hotel itself was run-down. The carpet was worn and it could use a new coat of paint. Our room reminded me of a dorm room at college. It was small. The bathroom had the smallest shower I have ever seen! My mom never could get the toilet to flush (more on that later) and none of the plugs worked in the room. The pillows were so lumpy!

    We changed out of our wet clothes and I realized that we had been awake for over 24 hours straight and I was really exhausted! I took an hour nap and felt better when I woke up. We decided to go eat some KFC down the road and then go shopping on Oxford Street.

    There is a Disney Store on Oxford Street that I wanted to find as well as HMV music. I loved how the Disney Store was "London" themed.


    I bought a Snow White pin from the Disney Store. We did a lot of window shopping and heard Big Ben go off. Mom (who didn't take that nap) was now getting tired and we had put in a full day. So we got back on the tube and had our first night at the Royal Dump.
    WDW: 1981, 1986, 2008, 2012
    DLR: 1999, 2009
    DLP: 2010

    Like the Beatles? Check out my blog Meet the Beatles for Real
    http://meetthebeatlesforreal.blogspot.com/

  2. #2

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    Re: A Beatlemaniacs trip report of London and Liverpool

    Thank You, I will be forwarding the link to my wife who is also a huge Beatles fan!
    "Happiness is a Low Water Level"


    "Creating magical memories and making Managers cry since 1955!"


  3. #3

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    Re: A Beatlemaniacs trip report of London and Liverpool

    Great TR so far!


  4. #4

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    Re: A Beatlemaniacs trip report of London and Liverpool

    Can't wait to see some Beatles stuff when we make it to London someday.

    I've heard that getting a photo on the Abbey Road crosswalk is actually not very easy due to traffic, etc.


  5. #5

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    Re: A Beatlemaniacs trip report of London and Liverpool

    Thanks everyone for reading so far! Yes...Abbey Road isn't easy to get your photo taken on because it is a normal, busy street. However, the people in their cars seemed to be patient enough about it, as long as you were quick. There was a report that just 2 days before our trip, someone had gotten hit on Abbey Road. yikes!

    Day 3
    June 9, 2010

    When we woke up, we went and had breakfast at the hotel. For a dumpy hotel, we were very pleased with the breakfast. It wasn't fancy, but there was a nice selection.

    Our first order of business was to go to Buckingham Palace. Now I know most people go there because of the Queen and all. I wanted to see it because I wanted to see the front gate that I had seen so many photos of from when the Beatles won the MBE in 1965. So we got there and walked around for about an hour. It was neat to see the guards and the fountains and everything with the palace.



    The next thing planned was to go to the Hard Rock Cafe and take a tour of the "The Vault." In case you don't know, The London Hard Rock Cafe is the first one ever. And across the street from the resturant is a shop that has a vault in the basement. This was originally where the Queen kept her jewels and where Princess Diana got ready for her royal wedding. But now the Hard Rock Cafe owns it and has some of their most treasured Rock and Roll items on display. The tour is free and I was excited about see John Lennon's army jacket. However, I had no idea exactly where thie Hard Rock was from where we were. We asked a very nice British gentleman who informed us that we were on the opposite side of the park from it. So we walked through Green Park (I think) and found it on the other side of the street. We finally made it! We went in to inquire about "The Vault" and were told that it was going to be opened at 11:30am. We had about 45 mintues, so we walked across the street again and looked at some war memorial things at the park.


    This one sort of reminded us to the VietNam memorial in D.C. because names were carved in it. But it also was a water fountain at the same time. Sort of neat.


    While we were looking around, these offical looking men on horses came galloping by. We thought that was pretty neat!

    We made our way back to the Hard Rock to be informed that "The Vault" was closed for the day because they were going to be interviewing a singer down there for a TV special. We were really disappointed and said something about how we had read about "The Vault" in a travel magazine and came from the U.S. to see it. But oh well...such is life. We will still eat at the Hard Rock. But it didn't open until noon. So my mom bought a pin and we went over to the resturant to wait. While we were standing in a small line waiting, a waitress came up to us and asked if we were the Americans that wanted to see the Vault. We said, yes, we were. She said that she was going to get the manager. The manager came to us and told us that she felt so bad that we came from the United States and couldn't see inside the Vault. The singer hadn't shown up yet, and she said that she could take us on a very quick tour if we'd like. We couldn't believe it!! So we got personally escorted down there and got the chance to look around and take photos for about 10 minutes. It was amazing!!!


    Going in! I am so happy!


    John Lennon's famous army jacket! Amazing!!

    But let me tell you, the kindness of the London Hard Rock Cafe didn't end there. We went back into the resturant section and were quickly seated. Our waiter's name was Ash and he sat down and asked us if we were Beatles fans (because of our t-shirts). Come to find out, HE is a huge fan himself. He sat down with us after taking our order and told us the whole story about how the Hard Rock Cafe came to be and how The Beatles fit into the story. I loved every second of hearing what he said. The upstairs section of the resturant was closed because of that singer, however, Ash gave us special permission to go up there because he wanted us to see Eric Clapton's guitar (the first memorblia ever). So after our delicious meal, we went up to the bar section and even though roadies were setting up for a concert, we had permission to get up on the stage and get close up looks at things. Needless to say, I HIGHLY recommend the Hard Rock Cafe in London! Not only it is rich in Rock and Roll history and has awesome food, but the staff there are so amazing and nice.

    I think this is an awful photo, but it is the only one of my mom and I together on the trip.

    After all that excitement, we got on one of the double decker red buses to meet Richard Porter again for the 2nd (and last) Beatles tour. This tour was the "Magical Mystery Tour" and I personally liked it better than the tour the day before. Highlights from this walking tour were:


    The Gentlemen's room from the John Lennon skit on "Not only but also."


    Walking down the beginning of "Swinging London" Carnaby Street.


    And....the Apple studios building where the Beatles performed on the rooftop!

    The tour once again ended at Abbey Road. But my mom and I ditched the tour group and went off to find Paul McCartney's house. And we were a success!!

    Here I am standing outside Paul McCartney's London home.

    Then we went back to Abbey Road to take the pictures we didn't take before.

    Oh my gosh! I am walking across Abbey Road!!!


    I am not too sure what we did after this. I would guess that we ate somewhere and I know we went to sleep really early because we had to be at the train station the next morning at 6:30am for the train to Liverpool. More about that during my next part of this really long trip report.

    Sara S.
    WDW: 1981, 1986, 2008, 2012
    DLR: 1999, 2009
    DLP: 2010

    Like the Beatles? Check out my blog Meet the Beatles for Real
    http://meetthebeatlesforreal.blogspot.com/

  6. #6

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    Re: A Beatlemaniacs trip report of London and Liverpool

    I liked it, yeah, yeah, yeah!

    Thank you!

    Looking forward to Liverpool!

  7. #7

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    Re: A Beatlemaniacs trip report of London and Liverpool

    This is a really good report, I am a huge Beatles fan. I like your mom's shirt, George is my favorite Beatle.

  8. #8

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    Re: A Beatlemaniacs trip report of London and Liverpool

    Thanks to everyone who has been reading so far. It has been a fun trip report to write! My favorite Beatle is John and my mom's is Ringo.

    Day 4
    June 10, 2010

    At some point in the middle of the night, I used the bathroom. Little did I know that when I flushed, I was flooding the tiny room. So when my mom opened the door in the morning, she was shocked to find herself standing in ankle deep water. We were going to spend one night in Liverpool and then return to the "Royal Cambridge" for another night before going to Disneyland Paris. So we informed the front desk of the flood in the bathroom and they seemed like they could care less. We left some of our luggage behind the stairs so that we didn't have to carry but just an overnight bag with us. I still can't believe their "secure area" is under the stairs in the wide open.

    Anyhow....our travel agent at home had gotten us a great deal. We were booked for the train to Liverpool, one night at the Hard Day's Night hotel, tickets to the Beatles museum and a ride on the Magical Mystery Tour. So we got to the train station super early and boarded the Virgin Train. Now many people have asked me what the train in England was like compared to here in the States. I ride the Amtrack about twice a year, so I am somewhere experienced with the Amtrack. In many ways, the train in England is just like the Amtrack. They have a snack bar, the seats are the same size, etc. The difference I noticed is that there were a LOT less stops along the way and the train never went through a town where people had to stop and wait for the train to go by.

    We made it into Liverpool in about 2 hours and took a taxi to our hotel. Let me tell you that the Hard Day's Night hotel is amazing! It is a beautiful hotel with all of the aminities you ever need. The bathtub is HUGE and so relaxing! We went from a hotel with a leaking toliet to luxury! Of course it is decorated in Beatles photos and we spent some time exploring the hotel.

    Living in style in the hotel room!

    Standing on the main staircase.

    Another great thing about the Hard Day's Night hotel, is that it is located close to most of the Beatles things you will want to see in Liverpool. So we walked to the Albert Dock to see the Beatles Museum.


    The museum, called "The Beatles story" is nice. It has some great artifacts in it. However, I found that I didn't need the headphones to listen to the information. I have won three Beatles trivia contests....not to brag, but I knew the information. Still I had fun in the museum messing around!

    Here I am acting out the "Don't push the button" scene from the movie Yellow Submarine.

    After the museum, which took about an hour and a half. You are thrown into a large Beatles gift shop. Yippie! I tried not to spend too much there, but I was a like a kid in a candy shop. Next we had brunch at the "Ha ha Cafe." Don't allow the name to fool you. It wasn't a great place. The service was awful. THe food wasn't bad, but we waited FOREVER to get it.

    Next we took a shuttle over to a different part of the Albert Dock because our ticket to the Beatles museum included The Beatles FAB4-D movie and the White Feather exhibit. The 15 minutue movies wasn't anything speical. It was sort of like what you might see at Disney, but not as cool. It was cute, but if it wasn't included in my price of the ticket, I woudln't have bothered.

    The White Feather Exhibit was AMAZING! It was items that belonged to Julian Lennon that his father gave him. WOW! I was in awe of everything there.

    I couldn't stop staring at this jacket. I have millions of photos of John Lennon wearing it and there it was right in front of me!!

    My mom finally pried me away from the White Feather because we were booked to go on the Magical Mystery Tour. This was a tour bus that looked like the one from the movie. It drove you around Liverpool and was a typically "look to the left and see such and such..." type tour. A private Beatles taxi tour would have been better, but this would do.

    We rode down Penny Lane and I took this photo of the Barbershop that is mentioned in the song!


    We also saw Strawberry Fields


    And George Harrison's childhood home (Where we got to get out of the bus)


    The tour was 2 hours long and we saw a lot of neat places that if you are a Beatles fan, you have read about in biographies. It was so neat to put the actual place with the name.

    The tour ended on Mathew Street (home of the Cavern Club).


    We walked around Mathew Street for awhile, just taking it all in. And then we decided to go down, down, down, down into the Cavern Club. A John Lennon impersonator was performing and surprisingly he was REALLY good!! This was my favorite part of my entire trip. Sitting in the Cavern Club with a drink, surrounded by people from all over the world who are Beatles fans. We were all singing Beatles song after song and just having a great time. I guess I felt like I was part of a community, but I just felt so comfortable and that I belonged there. That is a feeling I have only experienced a few places in my life (Disneyland being another time).



    My mom with a glass of wine at the Cavern Club (when my Dad saw this photo when we got home, he said it looked like she had already had a few. Haha!)


    The John Lennon performer who entertained us for the evening.

    I am not sure what time it was when we left, but it was starting to get dark. The hotel was right around the corner and so was a Subway! I started singing "Five pound...five pound footlongs..." but they didn't have such a deal. We got a sub to go and asked them for a cup of ice. They had no idea why we wanted ice! In England they dont' seem to use ice in their soft drinks. I dont' get it personally. We went back to the room and enjoyed our wonderful tub with the towel warmer and the cozy bed. ahhhh....

    One more full day in Liverpool (my mom's favorite day of the trip) to report on.

    Thanks for reading!
    Sara S.
    WDW: 1981, 1986, 2008, 2012
    DLR: 1999, 2009
    DLP: 2010

    Like the Beatles? Check out my blog Meet the Beatles for Real
    http://meetthebeatlesforreal.blogspot.com/

  9. #9

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    Re: A Beatlemaniacs trip report of London and Liverpool

    Very good pics, Does Strawberry Fields still have an orphanage there?

  10. #10

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    Re: A Beatlemaniacs trip report of London and Liverpool

    Quote Originally Posted by Sulley86 View Post
    Very good pics, Does Strawberry Fields still have an orphanage there?
    Our tour guide said that it had an orphange there until recently. Yoko used to donate gifts to it every Christmas. However, the tour guide said that the Salvation Army has bought the building once again and that it most likely will be re-opened as a place for children.
    WDW: 1981, 1986, 2008, 2012
    DLR: 1999, 2009
    DLP: 2010

    Like the Beatles? Check out my blog Meet the Beatles for Real
    http://meetthebeatlesforreal.blogspot.com/

  11. #11

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    Re: A Beatlemaniacs trip report of London and Liverpool

    Day 5
    June 11, 2010

    The plan for this day was to go on the Beatles tours that I had book ahead of time. The bad part about the day was that we had to check out of the Hard Day's Night hotel and lug our bags around with us this entire time.

    I had booked many months in advance the National Trust Tour which takes you inside John Lennon and Paul McCartney's childhood homes. This is a tour that fills up quickly. If you plan on going to Liverpool, it is worth your while to go, but just book it several months in advance. We walked to the Jury Inn Hotel to meet up with the tour group. While I was in the loo, my mom spoke with someone whom she thought was the tour guide. He wasn't the guide but he was a taxi driver named Billy who will come into play later in our trip.

    Our first stop was Mendips, John Lennon's home until 1964. John is my favorite Beatle and I have read every possible biography about him. Being at the home that I had read so much about was really special to me. You are no allowed to take any photographs inside of the house. But it was really neat to go inside each of the rooms and hear about them. It is all decorated just as it had been in the late 1950's when John was a teenager.

    Here I am standing outside of John's house.

    We spent an hour there and heard a lot of interesting stories from the custodian (the tour guide who actually lives on the property and is responsible for the upkeep). Then we went just a few streets over to the house where Paul McCartney lived from the mid 1950's until 1964. The tour guide of Paul's house's name was John and he looked like he could have been Paul McCartney's cousin. Once again, you aren't allowed to take photographs inside (they even take your camera from you). What was neat about Paul McCartney's house is that there are photographs take by Mike McCartney (Paul's brother) of Paul inside of the house. So you might see a photo of Paul sitting at the piano hanging above the piano! It was sort of cool! It was also neat to hear how songs such as "I saw her standing there" were written in that very house.

    Here I am outside of Paul's house with John the custodian.

    We spent about an hour at Paul's home and then it was time to return back to our original spot. We had reservations for a tour of the Cashbah Club before we were to head back to London. Only we weren't sure how we were going to get to the Cashbah Club because it was near the area where we were dropped off. It is on the outskirts of Liverpool.

    Billy the taxi driver my mom spoke to eariler gave my mom his phone number. First we ate lunch at a pizza place that was near the Jurry Inn (delicious I might add!!!) then called to see if this guy, Billy, could take us to the Casbah. He came to get us and come to find out, Billy is a HUGE Beatles fan and is actually really excited to talk to some fans from the States. He had just returned from a trip to Florida himself and we had a nice time talking about The Beatles and comparing England and the States. Billy said that he had a surprise for us along our way to the Casbah Club. He said that it was a place that most of the tours overlook. He stopped outside of a red door that had a sign that said that it was the place where the Quarrymen recorded their first album!!! My mom is a big fan of the Quarrymen (The Beatles before they were The Beatles...) and she was especially excited to see this because she had read about it in the book called "The Quarrymen."



    He then took us to the Casbah Coffee Club. When I tried to pay him his fair, he told me to hold onto it until he came back to get us and I could just pay him for the entire trip then! I couldn't believe the kindness of this totaly stranger. I don't think any cabbie in the U.S. would refuse payment!

    We were met outside of the Casbah by none other than Roag Best. Roag is brother to Pete Best (Beatles first drummer) and Neil Aspinall's son. Without getting into a long drawn out history of the Beatles, I will say that the Casbah Club was the first main Club The Beatles performed in. It was Mona Best (Pete's mom) who owned the club and John, Paul, George, Pete and Stu helped Mona paint and decorate the inside of the club. It had been owned by the Best family all of these years and was just kept as a storage building until a few years ago. Everything has remained exactly as it was in the early 1960's. Nothing has been removed or re-done. It is really an amazing piece of Beatles history.


    This was the first stage at the Casbah (so small!!!). The rainbow ceiling was painted by Paul McCartney and the brown ceiling by George Harrison.


    Here is where John Lennon carved his name into the wood. Mona Best was pretty ticked off at him about doing this.


    Cynthia Lennon painted this shadow of John Lennon on one of the walls.


    John Lennon and Stu Stutcliff painted these stars on the ceiling.


    The Spider Room (2nd stage). John Lennon carved his name again in the wall and in the ceiling there is an indentation from where Rory Storm (band Ringo was in) hit his head!

    Needless to say, the Casbah Coffee Club was one of the main highlights of the day! It was almost like stepping back to 1960-1961.

    Billy came and picked us up and dropped us off at the Lime Street Train station. I bought some candy for my boyfriend's son. He asked me to bring him back some candy from England.


    We were confused because our return train ticket didn't have a time of departure on it. We asked one of the conductors and we were surprised when he told us that we just were to get on the train that heads back to London. They leave every 45 mintues and to just get on one of them. So we got on the next train and were back in London before we knew it.

    We sadly went back to the Royal Cambridge Hotel. They gave us our old room again and we hoped on the way to it that they had fixed the broken toliet. When we opened up the room, we saw that it had someone else's luggage and personal items in it. Come to find out, the hotel basically forgot that we were returning. Even though we had already paid for the night and had kept our big suitcases there, they only had one room left. It was a very tiny room with just a twin sized bed. We took it because what choices did we have? We just weren't very happy....

    We spent the rest of the evening walking around the gift shops in the Paddington area. We picked up our London souveniers (I got myself a small stuffed Paddington Bear because I just HAD to!), had a "Smarties McFreeze" and checked email and an internet cafe. Then we headed back to the dump of a hotel and tried to sleep (which really didn't happen).

    Overall....I really loved England! The people there are SOOOOO nice and friendly. It truly was a trip of a lifetime for me.

    If you haven't already, feel free to read my trip report of Disneyland Paris, which is the next (and last) part of my trip. Thanks to everyone who has read this report!!

    Sara S.
    WDW: 1981, 1986, 2008, 2012
    DLR: 1999, 2009
    DLP: 2010

    Like the Beatles? Check out my blog Meet the Beatles for Real
    http://meetthebeatlesforreal.blogspot.com/

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