The Fab Four Tour

I was lucky enough to win tickets to The Beatles Story, or, as I like to call it, The Fab Four Tour (hit me up, marketing department!) at CarnLIVal. They had very generously donated a family ticket for 2 adults and 3 children, but since I have no anklebiters I took my parents instead, and the friendly staff had no problem swapping. Phew!

Located on the lovely Albert Docks, you can really make a day of it, with cafés, bars, the wheel, and the Tate Modern all just an amble away. A secondary exhibit, The British Invasion, is a ten minute stroll over to Pier Head, and is included in the ticket price. I must warn you to take plenty of cash for parking at the docks though, as it's not cheap. If you want to get your money's worth you could wander further afield and call in at Liverpool One or Museum of Liverpool.

tugboat in liverpool albert docks on a beautiful sunny day

Back to the main point- The Beatles Story, a museum dedicated to one of the most famous bands the world has ever known, and certainly one of Liverpool's proudest productions. The visit began with multilingual headsets that added to the information all around us. Set out in chronological order, you can learn how they met and began, follow their struggles and wild successes, and explore what became of each member, all with audio and video files from the people who actually knew them.

music shop with electric and acoustic guitars and CDs
recreation of The Cavern stage with instruments on it and a white wall behind it painted in blocks of different colours and signed by bands who have played on the stage

Cynthia Lennon, John's first wife, had her own anecdotes to bring The Cavern section to life. I really got a sense of the electric atmosphere that the fans experienced each time The Beatles were on stage, and it wasn't hard to understand how Beatlemania was born. It would put Glastonbury to shame!

me with the Abbey Road sign
thousands of records stacked in red shelves

Each era of the story had sets, such as the Abbey Road Studios, that famous pelican crossing, and even a yellow submarine! I'm terrified of submarines so even standing in the replica got my heart racing. There was also a case with the fluorescent Sergeant Pepper suits, recognised the world over and perfectly suited to the psychedelic sixties.

tiny, thumb sized The Beatles dolls
Sergeant Pepper's lonely hearts club band drum
gif of The Beatles' names lighting up orange then turning off

In contrast, the story finished with a room splitting into four areas to represent what each of the men has gone onto achieve outside of The Beatles, ending with a room dedicated to John Lennon's solo, Imagine, where his favourite black velvet jacket hung and reflected the sombre, mature side of him. The lyrics always tug my heart strings, and to hear and see them is especially poignant in the world today.

me with john lennon's white piano

A highlight for me wasn't actually a piece of memorabilia, an exhibit, or a set, but the reaction of the visitors. A suited man was singing along and plenty of people were moving to the music. I think that's exactly what The Beatles would want to see! Personally I would like to see even more interaction being encouraged, perhaps a drum set with prompts to play a basic beat, a mixing board to play on in the recording studio, or dressing up options for the younger visitors (who am I kidding- my 22 year old self would squeeze into a Sergeant Pepper suit!). I did think that the ticket prices were a little steep unless you are a super fan, and more hands on experiences would help to justify that. 

The Fab4 Cafe, on the other hand, is very reasonable, and offers a compact menu of home cooked food and chilled snacks. Music plays while you eat, and again, it was lovely to see people having a little boogie with their brews. As well as leaving with a full tummy you can also grab a memory of the day from the gift shop, with everything from Lego submarine sets to sweatshirts and silk ties. All of the clothing was really soft and obviously great quality, and there were so many prints to choose from!

If you know a fan then I'd highly recommend booking tickets for a special gift and making a day of it at the docks!



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