I have been a Beatles fan since I was a kid, so it was no surprise to anyone who knows me that a good portion of my time in London was looking for Beatle connections. I’ve yet to make it to Liverpool, where it all began, but London has plenty to keep a Beatles fan busy for days!
Beatles music still resonates with fans around the world, and their impact on popular culture is immeasurable. For anyone who loves the Fab Four and wants to experience more of what made them so great, there’s no better place to visit than London—where it all began (and ended). From Abbey Road, which gave its name to one of the band’s most famous songs, albums and photo shoots, to Covent Garden where Beatlemania first took off, The Beatles’ history can be traced throughout the city along a surprisingly short route. While in town, you’ll want to make stops at both Abbey Road Studios and Number 3 Abbey Road (the former EMI Building), but that’s just for starters…
Put on some epic tunes and take a glimpse of a few of the places I visited.
London’s Covent Garden was the scene of the fan frenzy that marked the start of Beatlemania.
If you’ve ever visited London, it’s likely that at one point or another, you’ve spent time in Covent Garden. It’s one of the city’s most popular shopping districts and is famous for its street performers and markets. While many people are familiar with the area as a tourist destination, what they might not know is that Covent Garden was also the site of Beatlemania’s beginnings—and remains an important part of Beatles history today.
The term Beatlemania has become synonymous with worldwide fan excitement over anything related to The Beatles. The phenomenon began in Britain in 1963 after John Lennon and Paul McCartney sang their new song “Please Please Me” on BBC radio show Pop Go The Beatles! (the show was hosted by DJ Brian Matthew). Thousands of fans flocked to Lime Grove Studios in London where they listened outside until police ordered them away from the building.
The Beatles music has influenced all sorts of artists from every genre, from rock to metal, hip hop and beyond. The Beatles have become synonymous with pop culture as we know it today and they continue to inspire musicians around the world. London is a music mecca for all things British Invasion. Hard not to have an entire soundtrack come to life as you walk the historic streets.
Helter Skelter Coffee Shop:
This famous street was where John Lennon got his first guitar, and it’s also where George Harrison bought a sitar for himself and later gave one to Ringo Starr after seeing him play on one at an Indian music shop there. You can still find plenty of great shops selling instruments and records here today!
The Beatles were among the many artists who donated their works and personal effects to this library in 1996. You can see these items on display at their Archives, along with photographs and other memorabilia from the band’s famous career. The British Library has collected over 300 items from John Lennon including lyrics and manuscripts from his songbooks. The library also houses items from Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon and Sean Lennon.
It is a long and winding road that leads to Abbey Road.
Abbey Road is one of the most famous streets in the world. It was named after the nearby St. Mary’s Abbey and Church. The Beatles recorded their last album on this street, aptly called Abbey Road.
January 30th, 1969, fans gathered outside Apple Records HQ (now part of EMI House) in London to catch a glimpse of The Beatles as they performed their famous rooftop concert. (See more in the Get Back Documentary. #TheBeatlesGetBack)
Every time I’ve been in London, I add more Beatles spots to my itinerary. I’d love to hear your favorite spots for Beatles history!