Tuesday, 13 September 2016

The Magical Mystery Tour is waiting to take you away

On my last day in Liverpool I'd booked to take the Magical Mystery Tour, a 2 hour coach tour showing key locations in the Beatles lives and from their music. It collects at Albert Dock, and was obviously very busy with it being Beatleweek! We started by going to the Dingle where Ringo grew up, then on to Penny Lane where we got out to take pictures of the road sign, then on to George's childhood home, Brian Epstein's childhood home, Strawberry Fields, John's Aunt Mimi's house and finally to Paul's childhood home, before being driven back into the city centre and dropped off by Mathew Street where the Cavern is located. It was a good tour, but also very whistle stop. If you happen to be sitting at the opposite window to where something is located it's tough luck, you won't really see it. We got off the coach at the Penny Lane sign, George's home as it's down a little lane, Strawberry Fields to take photos of the gate, and at Paul's home as again it's down a little street. I did enjoy it as it was enough for me, I didn't feel like it missed anything out and I really appreciated the spiel the guide gave as it was very thorough and I did learn things I didn't already know. It was also great really getting a feel for where they grew up and where things were in relation to each other, seeing places you've only read about and seeing it all in context. My only real annoyance was how quickly we'd whizzed through the Ringo section, I hadn't even got to see his Admiral Grove home at all, but I was very aware of how quickly we got to it at the beginning of the tour. So afterwards when we were dropped off at the Cavern I went onto Google maps and saw it was only a 40 minute walk away - perfectly doable!

Brian Epstein's childhood home

Paul McCartney's childhood home

I explored Mathew Street and the Cavern, and marveled to myself that I'd basically walked past it on Saturday without even realising (the Saturday was my one non-Beatle day just exploring Liverpool in general). There's obviously a lot of Beatle related things down there, mostly shops and bars. I spent ages reading the outside wall of the Cavern, as each brick is engraved with the name of a band/artist who's played there. I also went down into the Cavern, feeling a buzz of excitement heading down those famous steps and picturing the black and white images of the Cavern girls doing the same all of those years ago. The actual Cavern is tiny, and there was a live band playing Beatles tracks down there. They were actually quite good! I explored all of the shops, before making my way back to the Dingle area.

The bricks outside The Cavern are engraved with all of the bands and artists to have played there through the years.
Got excited seeing this Donovan display inside the Cavern!

It was quite a simple walk to Admiral Grove, and whilst I fully realise I could probably of taken a bus I felt I got a better feel for the place by walking there. It's really not that far, and I'd recommend the trek. I even couldn't help but imagine a young Ringo possibly taking the same route :)

It's a little awkward because obviously it's a real residential area where people still live today and I was careful of being respectful about that. When we were stopped at George's old home on the coach tour, people live there today yet fans were plucking flowers right out of their hanging baskets and looking right in the windows. It's just disrespectful and unnecessary, there's no need to be a dick about it.

Ringo was born in 9 Madryn Street - actually born there in that house (it's the 5th front door down). It's quite sad seeing it as the entire street is boarded up. Even the street sign is gone, I probably wouldn't of even realised which street it was without the help of Google maps. There was talk of demolishing the houses for a long time, but they're due to be renovated now so at least it'll remain standing. I do feel incredibly bitter that John and Paul's houses were bought by the National Trust, but people were happy to see the house Ringo was born in get turned to dust. Having gone through my entire life as a Ringo fan being told how unimportant and disposable Ringo is I can't help but take that personally! Show him some respect!

Literally across the street - literally - is Admiral Grove where Ringo and his mum Elsie moved to when Ringo was 5 years old. Ringo's dad left when he was three, and Elsie felt their three bedroom house was too big and expensive for just the two of them so moved to the two bedroom house across the street where Ringo lived until he was 23. 10 Admiral Grove is still very much standing and being lived in. In fact it's so unsuspecting I actually walked straight past it without realising and had to go back!

It's the pink and white one

Literally across the street is the Empress pub. And when I say across the street, it's probably about 20 or so steps from the front door of 10 Admiral Grove to the front door of the pub. This pub became a bit of a monument of Ringo's childhood to him, and it's easy to see why being there and seeing it tower over the surrounding houses. It's where Elsie worked as a barmaid throughout Ringo's childhood, and was later photographed and put on the cover of Ringo's first solo album Sentimental Journey which he recorded inspired by his mum (it's made up of her favourite songs. His family even appear superimposed on the windows of the Empress on the album cover).

Obviously it's just houses and I didn't want to be a weirdo and stand around for too long so it was just a quick walk round, but honestly it was probably my favourite part of the whole trip and I'm so glad I did it. Ringo means so much to me and it meant a lot being able to see these things in the flesh and put everything I've read about into perspective.

After I walked back I only had an hour and a half until my train back home, and as I felt I'd seen everything I'd wanted to I rested my aching feet at Costa for the remainder (seriously my poor feet! I hadn't made the wisest decision with my footwear as I'm too vain to be practical!) I really enjoyed my trip so much though, and am already planning further travels in the not too distant future!

I vlogged my entire trip, so if you're keen to see everything in live action you can check that out here! :)
Also if you want to see larger images of anything, they're all on my Flickr.


  1. I love learning more about Ringo Starr from your blog posts. He use to be my favorite Beatle when I was little- probably because of the kids show Shining Times Station. I should try and listen to his first solo album. My absolute favorite Japanese artist YUKI has a song named "Sentimental Journey" (I walked down the aisle to it) and I can only assume she got the name from Ringo. I would love to hear what inspired the song.

    I agree with you about the weirdness of people touring other people's homes. If you've heard about the Amityville Horror franchise, there is still the actual home that the movies are based off of on Long Island. My Grandma lives near it and I get asked if I ever visited it from friends. The answer is no because I hear that it goes on market frequently- probably not because it is haunted but because of fans snooping around.

    1. Ah that really makes my day, I love being able to share about Ringo to people! Sentimental Journey is an album of American standards from the 40s/50s that his mum used to listen to when he was growing up, it's really good and suits Ringo's voice really well I think.

      I remember reading about the Amityville Horror after I first saw the movie, I agree I think it'd be hell trying to live in such a famous house! People seem to have no boundaries over things like that, the theory of living in such a house would definitely be better than the reality!

  2. Oh I would love to go on this tour! I love the surreal feeling of being where so much history was made. That's too sad about Ringo's home, maybe one day some people will come to their senses and preserve it!

    1. It's so weird seeing that these places are real and not just photographs! I hope you get to go some day! I really hope they do keep Ringo's home, it'd be such a shame if they completely change it. It's such a piece of history and just as relevant as Paul and John's homes which are preserved.

  3. I'm not the biggest fan of The Beatles (sorry!) but I'd still love to go on this tour because I love history and this looks so interesting. It must be cool to live in these places but then again I bet the locals are so blase about it - apart from when crazy fans are looking through the windows haha! x

    Josie | Sick Chick Chic

  4. The Cavern Club is not the same club that the Beatles played in. It was shut and turned in to a car park. The club that you see is really the New Cavern Club very close by and really a replica. Enjoyed your post. Keep on loving The Boys.


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