Saturday, October 9 marks the 70th anniversary of music legend and peace activist, John Lennon’s birth. Celebrations are being held around the world to commemorate this occasion, including the unveiling of the much anticipated Peace Monument, in Lennon’s hometown of Liverpool, England.
Saturday is not the only special day in Beatles history. 2010 is a huge year for Beatles fans: It’s been 50 years since the band was formed, 40 years since they split up, 70 years since Lennon was born and 30 years since he was assassinated.
From Saturday until December 9th, 2010 (the day after the anniversary of Lennon’s death), organizations around Liverpool will join forces to host a series of live music, film, poetry and art events. If a quick trip across the pond isn’t in the cards for you this fall, there are lots of permanent Beatles experiences that you can check-out any time. VisitBritain, the national tourism board for England, Scotland and Wales, has pulled together this list of your Ten Best Beatles Bets:
1.) Peace Monument
A global peace monument, entitled ‘Peace and Harmony’, created by US artist Lauren Voiers, will be gifted to the people of Europe to mark what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday. The 18 foot monument will be unveiled by Lennon’s eldest son Julian, who asked the artist to incorporate a white feather into the design, saying: “One of the things my father said to me was that should he pass away, if there was some way of letting me know he was going to be ok, it was by, in some shape or form, presenting me with a white feather.”
2.) John Lennon’s Childhood Home
The National Trust offers a joint tour of the childhood homes of John Lennon (Mendips) and Paul McCartney (20 Forthlin Road). This is a unique, once in a lifetime, opportunity to see John and Paul’s humble beginnings and where The Beatles met and composed many of their early songs.
3.) Magical Mystery Tour
All aboard the Magical Mystery Bus for a tour which takes in the places that inspired some of the Beatles most famous songs like Penny Lane and Strawberry Field. The tour finishes at the legendary Cavern Club where you can present your ticket for an exclusive souvenir from your trip.
4.) The Cavern Club
The Cavern Club opened as a jazz club in 1957 and is where the Beatles were discovered by Brian Epstein, on November 9, 1961. The Beatles went on to perform here another 291 times in the early 1960s, propelling the Cavern Club into the worldwide spotlight and making it one of the most famous clubs in the UK. Special Lennon tribute shows will take place until December 8th, 2010.
5.) Hard Day’s Night Hotel
This ‘Fab Four Star Hotel’ in the heart of Liverpool is the perfect place for any Beatles enthusiast to rest their head after a day of sightseeing. Housed in a stunning landmark building, all rooms feature a tasteful selection of original Beatles artwork. Die-hard Lennon fans may opt to splash out on the aptly named, ‘Lennon Suite’ which features a white baby grand piano – perfect for making your own music.
6.) Victoria Gallery & Museum
This gallery, housed within the University of Liverpool, is hosting an exhibition during the John Lennon Festival (October 9 – December 9) called, “Astrid Kirchherr: A Retrospective.” Astrid was the first person to shoot studio shots of The Beatles and her photographs capture their innocence and ambition during their formative steps to stardom, when Pete Best was the drummer and Stuart Sutcliffe was the bass player.
7.) The Beatles Story
Located in Liverpool’s famed Albert Dock area, this interactive museum follows the Fab Four from their early beginnings to global Beatlemania. The Beatle Story recently tripled in size and will be hosting a range of special events throughout the John Lennon Tribute Season.
8.) Abbey Road & Abbey Road Studios
One of the most photographed spots in all of London has to be the cross-walk or ‘zebra crossing’ (as the Brits call it) on Abbey Road. While the exact crossing is a busy intersection today, fans from all over the world still flock to the site just a few blocks away from St John’s Wood Tube station. Check out the live webcam of the crossing and find out more about Abbey Road Studios by clicking here.
9.) Beatles Walks
Another great way to see The Beatles’ London is by taking a walking tour. Two of the best are from London Walks. If mobility is an issue, or you’re keen to cover a bit more ground, Access All Areas rock tours, offer a range of great Beatles options in both London and Liverpool.
10.) The London Beatles Store
Located at 231 Baker Street, this is a popular spot for picking up a range of unique souvenirs. A few blocks down the road at 94 Baker Street, fans can see the Blue English Heritage plaque for John Lennon which sits above the spot where the Beatle’s retail shop, Apple Boutique, used to stand.
Americans made three million visits to the UK in 2009 and spent US $3.3 billion (GBP 2.2 billion pounds Sterling) – placing them in the UK’s top three most important markets for visitors. Britain remains Americans’ favorite long-haul destination.
VisitBritain, the national tourism agency, is responsible for inspiring the world to explore Britain and for developing the UK’s visitor economy.
Visitors traveling to Britain can purchase money and time saving local transport, sightseeing, attraction, theatre and tour tickets from www.visitbritainshop.us.