If your family is into the Fab Four, celebrate John Lennon's birthday by making your passion the goal of a fun family vacation in Great Britain.
October 9, 2010 would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday, and commemorations and memorials to his life and The Beatles have sprouted up around the world. Perhaps most important to the music legend and peace activist himself would be the knowledge that the much anticipated Peace Monument in Lennon’s hometown of Liverpool, England will finally open. Additionally, the city will host special events and music performances through year’s end to mark the occasion.
Lennon’s home country of Great Britain is proud to note that 2010 is a huge year for Beatles fans: It’s been 50 years since the band was formed, 40 years since they split up, 70 years since Lennon was born and 30 years since he was assassinated.
If a quick trip across the pond isn’t in the cards for this fall, there are lots of permanent Beatles experiences that your family can check out any time. VisitBritain, the national tourism board for England, Scotland and Wales, has pulled together this list of their top 10 Beatles Attractions.
1) Peace Monument, Liverpool
A global peace monument, entitled ‘Peace and Harmony’, created by US artist Lauren Voiers, will be gifted to the people of Europe to mark what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday. The 18-foot-tall monument was unveiled by Lennon’s eldest son Julian, who asked the artist to incorporate a white feather into the design, saying: “One of the things my father said to me was that should he pass away, if there was some way of letting me know he was going to be ok, it was by, in some shape or form, presenting me with a white feather.”
2) John Lennon’s Childhood Home, Liverpool
The National Trust offers a joint tour of the childhood homes of John Lennon (Mendips) and Paul McCartney (20 Forthlin Road). This is a unique, once in a lifetime opportunity to see John and Paul’s humble beginnings and where The Beatles met and composed many of their early songs.
3) Magical Mystery Tour, Liverpool
All aboard the Magical Mystery Bus for a tour which takes in the places that inspired some of the Beatles’ most famous songs like “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Field.” The tour finishes at the legendary Cavern Club where you can present your ticket for an exclusive souvenir from your trip.
4) The Cavern Club, Liverpool
The Cavern Club opened as a jazz club in 1957 and is where the Beatles were discovered by Brian Epstein, on November 9, 1961. The Beatles went on to perform here another 291 times in the early 1960s, propelling the Cavern Club into the worldwide spotlight and making it one of the most famous clubs in the U.K. While the club is open for regular performances, special Lennon tribute shows will take place until December 8, 2010.
5) Hard Day’s Night Hotel, Liverpool
This themed hotel in the heart of Liverpool is the perfect place for any Beatles enthusiast to rest their head after a day’s sightseeing. Housed in a landmark building, all rooms feature a selection of original Beatles artwork. Die-hard Lennon fans may choose to book the ‘Lennon Suite’ which features a white baby grand piano.
6) The Beatles Story, Liverpool
Located in Liverpool’s famed Albert Dock area, this interactive museum follows the Fab Four from their early beginnings to global Beatlemania. The Beatles Story exhibit space recently tripled in size.
7) Abbey Road & Abbey Road Studios, London
One of the most photographed spots in all of London has to be the cross-walk or ‘zebra crossing’ (as the Brits call it) on Abbey Road. While the exact crossing is a busy intersection today, fans from all over the world still flock to the site just a few blocks away from St John’s Wood Tube station.
8) Beatles Walks, London
Another great way to see The Beatles’ London is by taking a walking tour. Two of the best are from London Walks. If mobility is an issue, or you’re keen to cover a bit more ground, Access All Areas rock tours, offer a range of great Beatles options in both London and Liverpool. Another fun touring option with younger or older family members is the The Original London Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Bus which zooms by many of the Beatles’ old stomping grounds.
9) The Hard Rock CafÃ©, London
Take a free tour of the Hard Rock CafÃ© at 150 Old Park Lane (the nearest tube station is Hyde Park Corner). The vault in the basement has John Lennon’s original handwritten lyrics to “Imagine” and “Instant Karma” and the glasses and jacket which he wore during a Beatles concert in New York.
10) The London Beatles Store, London
Located at 231 Baker Street, this is a popular spot for picking up a range of unique souvenirs. A few blocks down the road at 94 Baker Street, fans can see the Blue English Heritage plaque for John Lennon which sits above the spot where the Beatle’s retail shop, Apple Boutique, used to stand.
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