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Liverpool Beatles Story, Childhood Homes, Magical Mystery Tour?

My husband and I are in our early 60's and big Beatles fans. We are spending one June night in Liverpool at the Hard Days Night hotel, arriving by car. We will get into town in time for lunch and I've bought tickets for the 2:15 tour of their childhood homes. Should we go the The Beatles Story Museum and take the Magical Mystery Tour bus the next day as well, or is that too much overlapping information? We will drive to the Lake District when we are done and we will be spending the next 3 nights there, as part of our 3 week vacation. Thanks for your input!

Posted by
272 posts

In 2015, I did all three and enjoyed each. The National Trust tour of the homes gets you into John and Paul's boyhood homes, but doesn't discuss the sights along the way and doesn't show you George and Ringo's homes. The MMT lets you see all of the homes (but you can't go inside John and Paul's) and shows you Penny Lane, the Strawberry Fields gate, and a few other sights. Plus you get a free entry to the reconstructed Cavern.

The Beatles Story Museum is a bit touristy, but lots of fun with a number of exhibits and Beatles music playing throughout. It's also fun to see the great variety and age range of fans. I loved hearing young teens from Scandinavia singing along to Yellow Submarine. If I remember right, the Museum ticket is good for 24 hours, so you drop in a bit one afternoon late and go back earlier the next day.

There is a little overlap, but not too much for most Beatles fans.

The other nearby Liverpool museums are worth some time if you have any left after visiting Beatles sights.

Posted by
11294 posts

I didn't do the Magical Mystery Tour, but did the other two. I agree with the comments above. The information you get on the tour of the childhood homes is mostly limited to John and Paul's early life (with comments on other aspects of course - but only stray comments). The Beatles Story is particularly strong on the pre-fame years, so unless you've studied these extensively, you're bound to learn something new.

Your childhood homes tour will get you back to central Liverpool by about 5 PM; see if any of the waterfront museums (about a 10 minute walk from where the tour ends, and free to enter) have evening hours the day you will be there. Or, you could start seeing the Beatles Story; your ticket is good for two days, and includes entrance to both sections (Albert Dock and Pier Head). Be warned; the section at Pier Head includes an inane Fab 4D Experience; that's 12 minutes of my life I'll never get back! However, that section also has temporary exhibits; mine was an interesting one on the British Invasion.

If you want more details of my time in Liverpool (I had four nights and it was great!), here's my trip report: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/uk-trip-report-glasgow-manchester-liverpool-in-september-2016

Posted by
3122 posts

I can recommend the Magical Mystery Tour. As the others have said, it takes you all around Liverpool and provides a mix of info on the Beatles, Brian Epstein, other people they knew, and lots of "places I remember all my life, though some have changed." Your bus ticket also gets you free entry to the rebuilt Cavern Club. Tour guide and bus driver very friendly and informative. I would say the best thing about it was that every single person seemed to be having the time of their life -- so many smiles and so much enthusiasm!

Lucky you, overnight in Hard Day's Night Hotel! It's totally fab!

Posted by
919 posts

Ellen,
I've been watching the mini series about Cilla Black "Cilla" that our DC area PBS station is showing on the weekends. It's interesting to see the Beatles as background characters rather than being the focus of a story. If you haven't seen the show, I'd say it's worth a watch! Although be sure to put the captioning on. The accents are fast and furious in this one. Have a fun trip!

Posted by
139 posts

We did the childhood homes tour (amazing for me) and then did a Fab Four Taxi tour, just us and the driver/guide, so we could tell him to skip the part where you go look at the outside of the homes you've already been inside of.

Posted by
1329 posts

I am a huge Beatles fan and I've done all 3. The National Trust tour is fascinating, you get inside John and Paul's homes but also get an interesting view into WW II Liverpool. My guide took us around in a van and played some Beatles music along the way. He also had a good sense of British humor, teasing me for asking for the bathroom at the Jury's Inn Hotel before the trip.

The Magical Mystery Tour was also a lot of fun. Beatles music playing from start to finish and the tour leader asked a series of trivia questions. As a spoiler, you might want to look up the first state visited by a Beatle. It went to Strawberry Field, Penny Lane, George's house, and Paul's house. You can't go into any of them. It'll drive by Ringo's house and the pub used on the cover of the Sentimental Journey album.

The Beatles Story museum is quite expensive at 16 GBP. To make the most of it, you'll want to listen to every second of the audio guide which is included in admission. There's an extended session on the audio guide from 1965-1967 and there is a Pan Am jet exhibit which has seats to commemorate the Beatles going to America. This is a good place to sit down and listen to the audio guide describe the years from Beatlemania to Sgt. Pepper.

The first two tours are a must, the Beatles Story is nice, but ok to skip.