Self-Guided Tour of The Beatles’ London

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ first trip to the United States in early February 1964, I decided to spend some of my time in London last weekend doing a self-guided walking tour of some of the best known Beatle sites.  Ideally, my tour would have included a lot more sites, such as more filming locations for their two films, but I was constrained by time.  And, unfortunately, my planned tour was reduced even further because of a horribly miserable rainy and windy day, but I still made it to most stops.  Anyway, here is my version of a London Beatles Walking Tour:

Start off the day by taking the Jubilee Line to St. Johns Wood station.  Just outside the station entrance on your left is the first stop of the day, the….

1. Beatles Coffee Shop – not an actual Beatles history site, but a great spot to fuel up for your walking tour with some coffee drinks and snacks.  Walk across the street and continue straight on Grove End Road to….

2. Abbey Road Crossing, one of the most popular photo spots for Beatles fans.  Be very careful with the cars, they do not like stopping for all of the tourists.  Just up the street from the crossing is the famous….

3. Abbey Road Studios where most of The Beatles’ recording magic happened!!  Walk down the road, past the crossing, to the next intersection at Circus Road, make a left and head up the road to Cavendish Avenue where at…

4. 7 Cavendish Avenue you are standing in front of Paul McCartney’s actual home that he has owned since 1965 and still occupies today when he is in London.  When you’re done taking your photos, head back to the St. Johns Wood tube station and take the Jubilee Line to Baker Street.

5. The London Beatles Store is located just north of the Baker Street tube station and next to the Sherlock Holmes attraction.  This is the place to get all of your Beatles gear, though the selection of original 1960s memorabilia is very small.  For that, you may have to make your way up to Liverpool, an easy overnight trip that I highly recommend to any Beatlemaniac!  Head back towards the tube station but turn right at Melcombe Street to…

6. Marylebone Railway Station where the first scenes of The Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night” film were shot.  You can see the glass canopy in front of the station and Boston Place on the right side of the station are still there for you to reproduce the running scenes should you wish.  The next stop is a little less than a half mile south of the station at…

7. 34 Montagu Square where Ringo Starr held a lease for several years in the mid- to late-1960s, though only lived there briefly in the first year.  Paul recorded  several demos here, including “I’m Looking Through You,” and John Lennon hosted his infamous “Make Love Not War” sit-in with Yoko Ono.  Backtracking a little bit to Crawford Street, turn right and head towards Baker Street where at the corner with Paddington Street at…

8. 94 Baker Street, The Beatles’ Apple Corps opened up The Apple Boutique for 8 short months from December 1967-July 1968.  The building was painted in late 1960s hippie fashion with rainbows and other psychedelic imagery before complaints were made and the mural was stripped from the bricks in May 1968.  It’s another half mile on the walking tour before you reach…

9. 57 Wimpole Street, the home of Paul’s then girlfriend Jane Asher’s family in the 1960s.  Staying on the top floor, Paul famously woke up from a dream with the tune of “Yesterday” in his head and wrote it down using the lyrics “Scrambled eggs, oh my baby how I love your legs…” as a placeholder.  Moving on to SoHo, the next stop on the tour is…

10. The London Palladium where The Beatles entertained a crowd of crazed fans, recognized as one of the first episodes of Beatlemania, as part of the Sunday Night at the London Palladium lineup on October 13, 1963.  Also in SoHo is 17 St. Anne’s Ct., the home of…

11. Trident Studios, where the new 8-track recording technology convinced The Beatles to abandon Abbey Road Studios for the recording of “Hey Jude,” as well as other songs from The White Album and Abbey Road records.  Finally, the last stop of my walking tour was…

12. 3 Saville Row, the site of The Beatles’ last concert, performed on the rooftop of this building. Sadly, it’s now being turned into an Abercrombie Kids store.

If a self-guided walking tour is not your style, you prefer a guided tour, and your schedule in London is flexible, I would suggest you check out the popular London Beatles Walking Tour.  I took this tour about 15 years ago when I was living in England.  It’s changed a little bit because the city has changed, including the demolition of the EMI Building where the early and late 1960s stairwell photos were taken of the band, used on their Blue and Red greatest hits album covers.  Enjoy your walk!


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