I’m sure it’s a point of contention for many of the locals, but it’s pretty much impossible to visit Liverpool without being sucked into some aspect of Beatles lore.
Luckily, this wasn’t a problem for me, as my traveling group fully embraced Beatlemania. Of course, Liverpool has a lot to offer outside of the old homesteads of the Fab Four, including a fascinating history (what town in England doesn’t?).
We wanted to get a healthy dose of both, and opted to take the highly rated Fab Four Taxi Tour. We were absolutely not disappointed. The tour satisfied our need to see the Beatles-related hot spots, while also giving us fabulous insight into the city.
Most Beatles-related tours involve buses. Big, overcrowded buses filled to the brim with tourists snapping photos and reminiscing about which record they bought first. It’s kitschy, loud, and a bit overwhelming.
The Fab Four Taxi Tour, on the other hand, is intimate. It’s you, a few (hopefully well-chosen) friends, and the cab driver. This gives you a freedom that you can’t get elsewhere. The cabby will drive you to all of the spots seen on the big bus tours, but he’ll put forth the extra effort to make sure that your experience is enjoyable and personal.
Just to give you an idea, one of the stops on our tour, Strawberry Fields, had a tour bus already there when we pulled up. The sidewalk was teeming with tourists, making it impossible to get to the gate. Our cabby immediately switched the order of venues and instead took us to see Eleanor Rigby’s grave first, just so that we could go back to Strawberry Fields when it was less crowded.
Stops also included the childhood homes of John, Paul, George and Ringo, the maternity ward where John was born, LIPA (Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts, based in Paul’s old school) and Penny Lane, among others!
We also had the opportunity to go to a few spots the tour buses do not go. Many of the buses will drive past the church that houses Eleanor Rigby’s grave, and casually mention the spot where John and Paul first met. But, in the sanctity of our own group of five, we were able to enter the church grounds and walk among the grave stones.
Then, we trekked across the street to the spot where John and Paul first met, making history and beginning down a path that would change the face of music forever. We had the privilege of listening as our cabby retold the story with such notable passion that he became teary-eyed. Powerful stuff. We could tell that he was not just giving these tours to make a few bucks — he was truly passionate about the subject.
Outside of the amazing Beatles-centric locations and stories, our cab driver also made sure to stop and point out several architectural and historical spots in Liverpool that are not exclusive to The Beatles. This gave us a great overview of the city as a whole, especially since we were only there for two days. Once we finished the Fab Four tour we felt no need to take any other walking or driving tours that went into the city’s history.
The most telling review, I think, came from one of our companions, who grew up in nearby Lancaster and is not a particular fan of Liverpool or The Beatles. Despite this, he loved the tour!
It was a great experience, and an adventure worth taking if you find yourself in Liverpool!