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UK ready to celebrate Beatles’ 50th anniversary

Maybe it was fate but a wildcat dock workers strike in Liverpool, England, delayed my ferry to Dublin, Ireland, by a couple of days.

I was grounded in the UK and decided to make the best if it. After all I was at ground zero, the place where “Beatlemania” was born.

There was a small but rapidly developing Beatles-themed tourism niche so I spent the next few days learning more about the guys with the hair in their eyes.

Flash forward into a new century and quite a few years later and my son a huge Beatles fan is trying to talk me into a trip back to explore their roots and history.

Cleveland, Ohio’s, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame wasn’t good enough. He wants to stand on the same ground where it all started. He’s a persuasive person and quite a salesman so we decided to research a music themed trip to the UK.

Today Liverpool, England, (www.visitliverpool.com/music/50-years-of-the-beatles) has been ramping up to throw a big party this year celebrating the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Beatles.

There’s a big lineup of events and attractions that are associated with the Beatles and that’s only the beginning.

In fact, 2012 is a big year for England for many reasons besides the Olympics. It is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens, the 60th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II to the throne (the Silver Jubilee) and the 100-year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, whose owner, the White Star Line, was based in Liverpool…time for a short journey over the pond to jolly ole England!

On Aug. 18, 1962, Ringo Starr made his first appearance as the Beatles official drummer at Hulme Hall in the village of Port Sunlight, Wirral. The four members of the band had a two-hour rehearsal before taking to the stage as the headline act in the local Horticultural Society’s 17th annual dance.

On that night the Fab Four were born … the rest is history.

The Beatles — John, Paul, George and Ringo — then took the charts by storm in 1962 with their first official release, “Love Me Do,” quickly followed by “Please Please Me” and “From Me to You.”

Beatlemania soon swept across the globe as the Fab Four recorded a staggering 12 studio albums, 13 EPs and 22 singles from 1962 to 1970. It is estimated they have sold over one billion records worldwide.

Today, the Beatles continue to influence many musicians and artists as well as attracting a new generation of fans. In recognition, Liverpool has created an exciting and diverse program of events including performances from the renowned Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, exclusive anniversary concerts at the Cavern Club and a very special “50 Years of The Beatles” Mathew Street Festival.

There’s a fantastic range of Beatles attractions to visit in Liverpool. Non-negotiable is a trip to the award-winning Beatles Story, a brilliant tour through the lives of The Beatles with fascinating memorabilia with insights from friends and family along the way.

The Beatles Story is located at both Albert Dock and at the Pier Head Ferry Terminal, which is home to their special Elvis and Us exhibition and the immersive Fab 4D theatre experience.

The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour is another must for all music fans. This two-hour live guided coach tour takes you to all the Beatles Liverpool sites including Penny Lane, Strawberry Field as well as their birthplaces and schools.

You’ll be kept entertained by a fully qualified Beatles guide as you discover the truly remarkable story of the boys who were to become the world’s best known musicians and you’ll hear some Fab Four tunes along the way.

The Magical Mystery Tour conveniently concludes in the Cavern Club on Mathew Street, which is open seven days a week. Still a popular live music venue today, why not stay and enjoy the unique atmosphere with a pint or two, or alternatively pop into the Cavern Pub by the World Capital of Pop Wall of Fame, which depicts all 54 of city’s number 1 hit records.

Beatles fans must also schedule time to visit Mendips and 20 Forthlin Road, the childhood homes of Lennon and McCartney, now managed by the National Trust.

This combined tour takes you to both homes, and is your only opportunity to see where The Beatles met, composed and rehearsed many of their earliest songs.

There’s a very good chance that after our virtual search a real tour will be planned. The travel plans are looking like a circle southern England trip with some hub and spoke day from jolly old London town and a couple of nights in Liverpool.

We’ll use London for our base of operations for local touring then venture out into the countryside on day trips. The excellent Britrail system will whisk us into the Cotswold’s, a little of Shakespeare’s Strafford upon Avon, the university towns of Oxford and Cambridge and perhaps Portsmouth.

Traveling cross country to Liverpool over on the Irish Sea coast is a different issue. Distance and travel time is still a challenge to my youthful travel planner but we’ll sort through the math.

This English west end extension will require at least a one or two overnight stay over Liverpool.

We’ve got the map out and are looking at other sites and attractions on our potential return route from Liverpool to London. It seems that our family getaway will bloom into a two week plus getaway to the British Isles.

But just imagine what a summer learning experience this will be! Education on location brings it all together. There will be plenty of pre trip reading and research then practical on location applications.

Any students, educators or community members want to tag along next summer? You should know where to find me!

Want to talk about your own educational excursion? The Travel Prof would be thrilled to meet with you and your students!


Got travel? E-mail Steve Call at the travelprofessor@gmail.com or dial 740.550.9540.