Now that the Beatles are into their 50th anniversary as a band with global success, it's time to honor the numerous tours you can take in Liverpool on how Beatlemania got started. It's amazing all the choices that are presently offered.
Nowadays you can you go on a big bus around Liverpool, or sign-up for the mini bus tour, take advantage of taxi tours, and of course go on a private tour with your own personal guide. In the City Centre there’s even all exclusive Beatles-themed hotel called the Hard Days Night Hotel, named after their ground-breaking film.
Thanks to the internet you now have wealth information at your fingertips regarding any and all Beatles tours. Liverpool definitely welcomes you to all its bustling Beatles points of interest. Every year in mid-to-late August is the International Beatleweek. There are concerts and other activities going all over. It’s a Beatles fan dream come true.
For those planning a trip to Liverpool immediately or sometime in the future, here are five different ways to see the sights, hear the sounds, and learn the history of John, Paul, George and Ringo’s hometown where it all got started.
Beatles Magical Mystery Tour - Group Bus Tour
"The Magical Mystery Tour is coming to take you away, coming to take you away." This is ideal for those liking big bus tours with many other people on board. It's one of the most popular ways to visit the Beatle sights. Your qualified Beatles tour guide will play their lively music, in addition to giving commentary on each drive-by sight and stop along the way. This colorful bus is fashioned after the "Magical Mystery Tour" TV special of the Fab Four's road trip, along with some other travelers.
You will of course drive-by and see the homes of John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Stops will be made at the legendary Strawberry Field and Penny Lane landmarks made famous in their titled songs. Another highlight is St. Peter’s Church plaque where John met Paul on that fateful day and the rest is history. The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour lasts two hours. There are two tours daily, one at 11:30 a.m. and the other at 2 p.m. "The magical mystery tour is waiting to take you away, waiting to take you away!"
National Trust - The Beatles Childhood Homes - Mini Bus Tour
This is the only way Beatle fans and tourists will be able to go inside the National Trust designated childhood homes of Paul McCartney and John Lennon. There are no tours inside the former homes of George Harrison and Ringo Starr as they are presently occupied by current residents. Every other Beatles tour will certainly take you by their homes, but no one is allowed inside except for this tour company.
The National Trust is more or less the equivalent of the National Park Service in the U.S. They both oversee homes, gardens, cemeteries, and forest reserves. Park Rangers take care and maintain the NPS properties, while the National Trust hires live-in employees to take care of Paul's and John's homes (as well as other estates). Each of their homes is refurbished to its 1950s interior. The late '50s were a time when John and Paul first became acquainted. Later they began playing professionally while writing songs at home that would eventually become classics.
This is a chance to relive those magical times in their lives. The National Trust custodian will give you a tour, lecture, and answer your questions. Each tour is only allowed to take up to 15 people in their official mini bus. Depending on the time of year there are 3-4 tours that run Wednesday through Sunday, and on Monday bank holidays.
The Beatles Fab Four Taxi Tour
They're rated number one for Beatle Tours within Liverpool, according to TripAdvisor's ranking. Hands down the Beatles Fab Four Taxi Tour is fast becoming the most popular, highly decorated, and beloved way to see the Beatle sights all over Liverpool.
If you aren't interested in any big bus tours, this is the best alternative as it is a personal tour. You'll ride in one of the famous English black cabs featuring a title of a Beatle song around the city and suburbs of Liverpool. One of their guides, Debbie, is a Blue Badge Guide for Liverpool. It's the UK's official and professional designation for tour guiding.
The Fab Four Taxi Tour is personalized just the way you want it for your friends and family. It's almost similar to hiring your very own private tour guide. You'll definitely stop for picture-taking and learn more regarding the Beatles homes, the famous sites of Strawberry Field, Penny Lane (including the barber shop and roundabout), and Eleanor Rigby's grave just to name a few.
Jackie Spencer Beatles Guide - Private Chauffeur Driven Tours
She's considered Liverpool's preeminent tour guide and Beatles expert since 1995. Jackie is a born and raised Liverpudlian. She was even born in the same hospital as Paul McCartney. Industry-wise Jackie is well qualified in her field by holding the coveted Blue Badge that's accepted by travel organizations globally.
Jackie Spencer BeatleGuide is one of Liverpool's few that's officially recognized. One thing that must be noted, anyone in Liverpool can say they are a tour guide and take you around the city to the Beatles sites. Jackie is of course is the real deal.
Before the plethora of Beatles bus and taxi tours that would eventually come along, she was doing her own taxi tours. Now she has elevated her service to luxury executive vehicles, a Mercedes MPV. Jackie gives you the tour, while someone else chauffeurs you around. Along the way you can enjoy Beatles music, films, and photos making your tour experience much more rewarding.
Her private tours range in the standard 3-hour that takes you to South Liverpool where Penny Lane and Strawberry Field are located, up to an all-day excursion to other points of interest. You'll even find other tour choices offered where you can walk around and take public transportation like the four lads did in the early days.
Magical History Tour - Private Tour Guide: Colin Unwin
He's been a Beatles fan since their very early days in 1962 living in Manchester. Now he gives his own private tours to friends, family, and those who become acquainted with his Beatle Maniac fan site. Colin Unwin offers one extraordinary advantage with his Beatle tours over all the others.
He was the part-time custodian for the National Trust childhood homes of Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Even though you won't get to go inside, unless you go on a separate excursion, Colin can tell you all about them since he had to stay many a nights there. You can ask questions and get a better insight into their childhood homes. Obviously other tour guides have been to John and Paul's homes, but none have lived in them.
It was Colin, a former Guinness Book of British Hit Singles Editor, and author David Roberts who created the "The Unofficial Beatles Liverpool iPhone App." It features more than 60 Beatle-related locations covering a 12-mile area around the famous city on the banks of the River Mersey. The app takes you on your own Magical Mystery Tour to Penny Lane, Strawberry Field, The Cavern Club, statues, plaques, homes, pubs, and some interactive visitor attractions dedicated to the Fab Four.
Be sure to read Colin's e-book " I've Just Seen a Place I Can't Forget: Walking in the Footsteps of The Beatles ." This will give you an excellent idea of what his tour will be like. He may be under the radar compared to other Beatle tour operators; Colin's Magical History Tour is right up there with the very best. For more information you can contact him at Beatle Maniac.