AFTER being picked up from Jurys Inn at Liverpool's Albert Dock, I’m the last to board a mini-bus full of Beatles enthusiasts, experts and admirers from around the globe. One points out Penny Lane as others sing along to Magical Mystery Tour and Hello, Goodbye during our journey to the National Trust’s Beatles Childhood Homes tour.

The only way to access the former abodes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney is to organise a visit through the cultural heritage organisation referenced by John Lennon on Happiness Is A Warm Gun. Soon the three-bedroom semi-detached house comes into view with its Art Nouveau stained glass windows. It’s not long before fans, some dressed in 1960s flavoured Beatles attire, are forming an orderly queue in front of the famous blue plaque at 251 Menlove Avenue for a photograph. It’s the last one they will take for a while as phones and cameras are handed over before going inside.

There’s a dreamlike atmosphere when entering the back door to Mendips, John Lennon’s home between 1946 and 1963 in the Liverpool suburb of Woolton. This was the door Paul McCartney would first enter for inspection by Lennon’s Aunt Mimi (who brought him up here) to make sure McCartney was a suitable candidate for John’s friendship. An ever polite and well-spoken McCartney passed the audition.

The Oasis 1994 single Live Forever featured a picture of this typical family home catching the alluring and surreal quality of the house that, in many respects, exists in another era. Everything is as it was when Lennon was here from the light switches to an antiquated copy of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland.

We are guided through Mendips by custodian Colin Hall who delivers a humorous and fascinating presentation on Lennon and his relationship with Mimi, a disciplinarian but also a loving homemaker who doted on her nephew after the dysfunctional early start with his free-spirited, single-mother Julia and absent sea-faring father Freddie.

Looking around the kitchen and indeed the whole house, which was built in 1933, is a Back To The Future meets BBC’s Back In Time For Tea kind of experience. Beneath the traditional kitchen pulley you can easily imagine the budding teenage songwriter devouring a plate of his favourite meal: egg and chips washed down with a cup of tea. Or earlier still, a young Lennon listening to his Uncle George reading aloud from the Liverpool Echo, helping develop a love of idiosyncratic characters, words and vocabulary from an early age. Newspapers would, of course, influence various Beatles songs by Lennon. A column about potholes partly inspired A Day In The Life while another story about a real-life Scottish miser, John Mustard, was his muse for Abbey Road’s Mean Mr Mustard.

There’s a telling Quarry Bank high-school picture of Lennon sporting a rebellious, almost punk-like, snarl and rockabilly quiff amid smiling and side-parted fellow pupils. At the top of the landing is Lennon’s teenage bedroom adorned with sultry pin-ups of Brigitte Bardot and Rita Hayworth, as well as a young Elvis Presley and a long-player by the Scottish skiffle hero Lonnie Donegan. Out of the window, you can see the same view he would have and walk the same road he cut along to play in the grounds of the Strawberry Field Children’s Home.

It was in this room that Lennon wrote Please, Please Me with some help from McCartney in 1962. In this small space, the pair would discuss America, rock ’n’ roll and broadcasts of The Goon Show. They also would play and write on the seldom-used front porch “to save the carpets”. Paul McCartney once described the “great bathroom acoustics” here which you can put to the test by singing an early Beatles number at the front door such as I’ll Get You, the She Loves You B-side that was also written here during those early Lennon-McCartney sessions.

Less than a mile away is 20 Forthlin Road in Allerton, a more working-class district of the city where we see a browbeaten woman carrying two large bags of messages past the house we are about to enter. Paul McCartney and his brother Mike remain involved in helping curator Sylvia Hall, the wife of Colin who conducts the tour at Mendips. The husband and wife team are gifted orators and Sylvia has packed this tour with a clutch of anecdotes straight from the horse’s mouth including stories about Lennon and McCartney writing Love Me Do and I Saw Her Standing There in the parlour.

As Paul McCartney suggests his family’s move was somewhat aspirational at the time after flitting from their previous address in Speke. He was still living here when Beatlemania began to sweep the globe and the various photographs taken by his brother illustrate essential stages of the band’s development in and around the house. With McCartney’s father Jim being out all day at work, the living-room was essentially a place to skive off school and art college, to hone their craft writing or rehearsing. McCartney senior was also a keen musician, playing the upright piano and tuning in pirate rock ’n’ roll radio for his sons which helped set the tone for this happy family home.

At the age of 16, McCartney wrote the tune for what would eventually become When I’m Sixty-Four. Both Lennon and McCartney lost their mothers as teenagers, strengthening the bond that had developed in this home, described by the National Trust as “the birthplace of The Beatles”.

After the tour, the minibus returns to Jurys Inn on the Albert Dock which is an ideal place to stay not just for the convenient tour pick-up but a plethora of other Beatles' activities in the area. Outside the hotel is the John Lennon Peace Monument, a globe with white doves flying out into the caterwauling clouds. It was unveiled by Lennon’s first wife Cynthia and son Julian in 2010. The recent Double Fantasy-John & Yoko exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool was a reminder of how gifted Lennon was at using the media for the greater good. Watching post-Beatles television interviews and reading newspaper coverage of him campaigning for human rights and political issues around the world makes you wonder what his perspective would be on a mountain of issues today.

The Beatles Story, also nearby, recreates the white room in Lennon’s Tittenhurst Park home, the Georgian house that featured in the video for Imagine. It’s that image of Lennon that is perhaps the most enduring, his last home in England bought around the time of The Beatles split which was also used to record the Imagine album.

No visit to Liverpool would be complete without a stop in Matthew Street. The Grapes is a traditional pub where The Beatles would enjoy an alcoholic beverage prior to playing at the unlicensed Cavern. They met here before their first formal meeting with manager Brian Epstein. A sign points to where they sat if you want to sit down and enjoy a refreshment on the exact spot.

Although it’s not the original Cavern, the rebuilt version is widely regarded as a better venue and it honours the legacy of The Beatles as well as other associated acts such as former cloakroom attendant Cilla Black. There’s an impressive statue of Cilla outside the club which has been a popular attraction since being unveiled in 2017, a year-and-a-half after her passing. An essential character during The Beatles era she recorded a string of Lennon & McCartney compositions including her first single Love of the Loved, It’s For You and Step Inside Love.

Further up the street is a statue of John Lennon, originally the sculpture was based on the early image of Lennon that features on the Rock ’N’ Roll album sleeve. His teenage duck-tail quiff was an unrecognisable likeness for many and has since been replaced with a Beatlemania era mop-top and it has since become a photo hotspot.

Also near the Albert Dock, The Beatles Statue is a larger-than-life effigy weighing in at 1.2 tons. The surrounding open space creates one of the best photo opportunities in the city, especially when the sun is setting over Liverpool’s famous sons, the statue capturing them as if they are walking on the pier head under those blue suburban skies.

With thanks to Jury’s Inn Liverpool. For more information visit or

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