Sure, the Fab Four certainly got their start in Liverpool playing at venues such as The Cavern Club, but London has its own special connections to the Beatles. From the venues, they played to the places where they lived (and still live today), Beatlemania has touched virtually every part of Britain’s capital. While there is no shortage of such musical locales to see in the city, we’ve identified what we think are the five most important Beatles locations in London. From each of these, you can see where music history was made. If we left one of your favorite spots out, let us know in the comments or just give us some of your favorite Beatles songs.
To start off, there are fewer Beatles venues in London better to visit than the London Palladium. This Grade II listed West End theater opened in 1910, but its importance to the Beatles happened in October 1963. It was here where a journalist covering the concert first described the throngs of screaming Beatles fans as “Beatlemania.” The term stuck and became synonymous with the band’s early success in the United Kingdom, the United States, and the rest of the world. The London Palladium is absolutely gorgeous inside, making it worth seeing any time of year, no matter what show you’re attending.
And speaking of Beatlemania, the absolute intensity of it was certainly captured well in the 1964 film A Hard Day’s Night. The film’s opening scene depicts the Fab Four being chased by a horde of fans out of Marylebone Station. The station’s exterior, with its beautiful awning, can be seen rather prominently in the film. If you care to, you can even stumble where George did, though George actually did it by accident and tore his suit, the pace of filming was so fast they just went with it.
Abbey Road Studios (and Crosswalk)
Perhaps the most famous crosswalk in the world can be found close to where the Beatles recorded The White Album. Plenty of visitors to this area love to take pictures of themselves at the Zebra Crossing where the Abbey Road album cover photo was taken, though since it’s an actual crossing, the studio advises just crossing as normal and checking their website for a still from their camera. Abbey Road Studios doesn’t do tours as it’s still a working recording studio, but you can stop at the crossing, their shop, or even leave a message on their graffiti wall.
3 Savile Row
Now home to an Abercrombie & Fitch store, 3 Savile Row was once the home of the Beatles’ Apple Corps multimedia company. It was here, or more specifically on top, where the Beatles performed their famous rooftop concert on January 30, 1969. According to Ringo Starr, John Lennon had the idea to perform on the roof since it would be easy to carry and set up their gear there as opposed to booking a more traditional venue. Since the live (and free) concert started to attract a crowd, the Metropolitan Police moved in to shut things down before it caused a traffic problem, but not before the group finished “Get Back.”
The British Library is the single greatest repository of British media in the whole of the United Kingdom and has plenty of important works from a copy of the Magna Carta to one of Shakespeare’s Folios. All this and more can be found in the Sir John Ritblat: Treasures of the British Library Gallery, which also includes a few key items from the Beatles. The gallery has six manuscripts from John Lennon, including his handwritten lyrics for “In My Life” and “Strawberry Fields Forever.” The gallery’s collection also includes other lyrics, birthday cards, and even some napkins with lyrics hastily written on them as inspiration struck. The library is worth visiting for its vast collection, but any Beatlemaniac will want to stop by for this wonderful selection of artifacts.
If you are doing Marylebone Station or Abbey Road, you are a short walk from 94 Baker Street which was at one time, Apple Store, The Beatles boutique business. It has blue plaque marking the flat above as the one time home of Lennon and Harrison. The shop is now an estate agents.
And if you are over towards Seven Dials, Brian Epstein’s old office is similarly marked in Monmouth Street. It’s now a card shop.
I was standing in front of 3 Savile Row with countless others on January 30, 2019, the 50th anniversary of the rooftop concert. What a great experience.
How about the Scotch of St James? or Paul’s house on Cavendish Ave? Love your articles about London, especially this one.