Checked out the plaque at JFK yet? It commemorates the moment 50 years ago when the Beatles first touched down on American soil. That same year, 1964, the Fab Four also appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time, then performed their first public concert in the USA, at the Washington Coliseum – and they’ve been celebrating that landmark too with a mass singalong in the capital and the Twitter hashtag #yeahyeahyeah.
Among those present at the plaque’s unveiling was the Lord Mayor of the band’s home town, Liverpool. They say this great British port-city first caught the rock ’n’ roll bug from the so-called ‘Cunard Yanks’ – local seaman returning home from the States in the 1950s with the jeans, guitars and records that spawned the Merseybeat sound, which in turn gave birth to the Beatles.
Want to take a closer look? With Virgin you can combine a vacation in London with a trip to Liverpool – among many other UK destinations – upon an escorted travel package or your own made-to-measure adventure.
Build your own vacation with our easy-to-use online facility and you could, for example, begin in London with a Classic Rock & Beatles Tour that takes you to the sites which made the Sixties swinging – like Ringo’s Kings Road apartment, John and Yoko’s first home, Paul’s current London address, the studio where the St Pepper’s cover was shot, the original Apple headquarters where the Mop Tops played their last-ever live gig (on the roof) and, of course, the famous Abbey Road crossing.
Head north for Liverpool next and immerse yourself in a timeless world of Beatlemania. Among the hotels available is the award-winning Hard Day’s Night just around the corner from the Cavern Club – where, for the record, the Beatles played 272 times between 1961 and 1963. Opposite the club’s entrance on Mathew Street is a statue of John leaning against the wall in his leather jacket. And down on the city’s Albert Dock is the Beatles Story museum with its original Fab Four suits, George’s first-ever guitar, John’s orange-tinted glasses and an audio-tour narrated by his sister Julia.
If time permits, why not finish off with a mini Beatles pub-crawl in Liverpool? The lads often drank in The Grapes on Mathew Street – the proof is in the old black-and-white photo on the wall. Ye Cracke is where John formed his first band the Dissenters over a pint or two in 1960. And at erstwhile beatnik haunt The Jacaranda they recently uncovered murals by John when they scrubbed down the basement walls – and his ghost is allegedly seen arguing with a barmaid from 1959 called Audrey!
There’s more to Liverpool than just the Beatles: it’s twinned with Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai and Cologne; its spectacular waterfront is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; and its Tate Liverpool is the most-visited modern art gallery outside London. And with Virgin Vacations there’s more outside London than just Liverpool: you can also choose from the likes of Aberdeen, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Oxford, York or Windsor, to name but a few, as well as selecting the number of nights in each city.
All in all, well worth a trip once you’ve experienced the wonders of the UK capital and its range of optional tours – from the St Paul’s Cathedral to the London Eye to Hampton Court and much, much more – which can be booked before you go to save time and money.
‘To London and beyond’ it says in the About Us bit of our website – and we’re true to our word. If you love London but you’re besotted with the Beatles too, Virgin Vacations has got just the custom-made ticket for you.