by Natalie Vance and Becca Lair
Hello! This is Becca and Natalie, friendly neighborhood Honors co-leader has-beens, and Beatles aficionados. Two years ago, we got the incredible opportunity to go on the very first Beatles Retrospective class trip to London and Liverpool! It was the greatest experience of our college careers, and we think you should experience it too! Here’s why…
On our first day, we got the chance to explore the city of London: mastering the underground, taking a double-decker bus tour, and splitting off for our own adventures (including a Harry Potter tour, Buckingham Palace, and Hyde Park).
The second day was a Tower of London tour in the morning and a Brixton tour in the afternoon. For those of you who aren’t familiar, the Tower of London was the former home of many British Kings, including Henry VIII, and is actually the site of Anne Boleyn’s execution- you can see her grave. Today it houses the Crown Jewels. Brixton, on the other hand, is quite a bit different. It’s basically a super culturally diverse borough of London with lots of arcades (local open air malls), art, and music. Fun fact, it is also the origin of the 80’s song “Electric Avenue” and the home of David Bowie (God rest his soul).
After a full day of walking we got to go to a show called Let It Be London, also known as our chance to scream like the teenage girls did in the sixties to the real Beatles. The costumes, the interaction with the crowd, the talent, so amazing.
As if we weren’t already hardcore fangirling, we got to spend our third day exploring all of the famous Beatles landmarks in London. This included Chiswick (picture site for Rubber Soul and the first music video “Rain”), Twickenham (the site of filming for Hard Day’s Night and some of Help), and Abbey Road, where we cried, wrote our names on the wall, and walked across the famed street from the album Abbey Road. After coming down from our Abbey Road high, we got the fanciest dinner ever at the world famous Simpson’s-in-the-Strand, complete with meat hand carved on a cart, Yorkshire pudding, and spotted dick.
The next day was the first day we spent in Liverpool. Here we toured the famed historic sea town and music hub, visiting the LIPA school (an incredible fine arts college owned by Sir Paul himself, located in the former school two of the Beatles attended as boys), and the Albert Dock, where there was the largest Beatles museum in the world. That night we got time to explore on our own and visit some of the other things that make Liverpool so great.
Our last full day in Liverpool was probably the best day of the whole trip. John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s childhood homes are owned by the National Trust, and are therefore open for tours. Needless to say, we cried again, touched everything, and sang in John’s entryway where he and Paul wrote music as kids.
In the afternoon we went on our very own “Magical Mystery Tour”, visiting Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields, George and Ringo’s childhood homes, and topping it off with a tour of the Cavern Club, a venue that the Beatles played over 200 times.
Our last day was spent traveling back to London for museums, more famous sites, and a farewell pub dinner to England and all its glory.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a spring break unlike any other, the Beatles Retrospective trip is the way to go. Together we learned so much about England, its culture, and we especially gained a new appreciation for one of the greatest bands of all time, the Beatles. We will never forget our incredible experience and the friendships we made, and we know you won’t forget it either.