To this day, Liverpool revels in its status as the birthplace of The Beatles. And why not? Even if the occasional survey suggests that some of this planet’s younger humans aren’t familiar with the world’s most influential and enduring rock band, the Fab Four is synonymous with the northern English city and it’s impossible to miss their influence there at the best of times, never mind during a week like this when the city is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the release of John, Paul, George and Ringo’s epic album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,
What better time then to offer a quick guide to spending a day in the life of the Fab Four, a pilgrimage I recommend for all diehard fans, and even those who aren’t:
The Beatles Story: Located in the Albert Dock entertainment and tourism zone, this private exhibition is the quintessential venue in Liverpool dedicated to The Beatles, inviting visitors to “come together and discover the full story (of the band).” From early days to solo careers, it’s all there and plays out like a nostalgic timeline of the 1960s via audio tour narrated by John’s sister Julia. There’s also a café and great memorabilia shop at the end.
Magical Mystery Tour: A small van tour that takes guests through The Beatles’ Liverpool, from childhood homes to places that played a part in their lives and inspired songs, such as the real Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields, with expert commentary from guides who know fascinating behind-the-scenes stories, or maybe even one of the musicians themselves. Close to 100 sites are revealed on the two-hour tour.
Cavern Club: Where it all began, the local nightclub is still operating and welcoming local talent, much as it did when The Beatles appeared in the early ‘60s. The club plays down its connection with the band, but everybody knows…
Hard Days Night Hotel: This accommodation option that clearly wears its heart on its sleeve is a fun place for fans to stay. Have a “From Me to You” cocktail in the bar. The hotel also pays homage to the artist responsible for the design of Sgt. Pepper, rock music’s most famous album cover.
Here and there: From an exhibit in the free Liverpool city museum to a perpetual jelly bean portrait at a confectionary on the waterfront, there are many references both subtle and sensational throughout the city.
Essential photo op: A relatively new ground-level statue of the lads has been erected on the waterfront in front of the city’s iconic Liver Building. It’s a spot where pedestrians can literally rub elbows with the band, as well as pose for a photo.
Of course, there’s much more to Liverpool than The Beatles. The city has a great maritime heritage and was once the main gateway for European immigrants to North America and there are fantastic museums that tell the story of both. The city’s soccer team is a close second to the mop tops as favoured second sons, and the city boasts a rich pop music heritage beyond the Fab Four. Not so long ago a down- and-out industrial city, Liverpool’s designation as a Cultural Capital of Europe in 2008 was the main impetus of its urban renewal and the renaissance is palpable.
Like the Lonely Hearts Club Band, Liverpool has been “going in and out of style,” but right now for visitors, and Beatles’ fans in particular, it’s “guaranteed to raise a smile.”
This and That
Travellers will certainly welcome the news that Air Canada has finally switched terminals at Los Angeles International Airport, now calling the renovated and modernized Terminal 6 home after a move from Terminal 2. The airline flies 19 times a day to LAX. A new state-of-the-art Maple Leaf Lounge, the airline's third in the U.S., is located past security near Air Canada's gates.
The opening of Palace Resorts’ The Grand at Moon Palace Cancun May 25 was such an occasion that it inspired Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto to attend the festivities. Palace calls the five-star all-inclusive “without a doubt our most unbelievable project yet…” It has 1,300 guest rooms, nine pools, children’s waterpark, six-lane bowling alley, 17 food and beverage outlets and a lot more.
The new Hard Rock Papagayo, on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast (Liberia), will start welcoming guests in early 2018. Like all Hard Rock resorts, guests will receive a full-service rock spa, music amenity program, nightly entertainment, and more. It is available as part of Signature Vacations’ Celebrity Collection.
The Globus family of brands reports that agents can now book port transfers for clients for big-ship cruises in conjunction with a Monograms City Getaway or a Globus/Cosmos tour in Amsterdam, Barcelona, London and Rome.
Contiki’s new 2018-19 Latin America program for 18 to 35-year-olds is out with six new tours and two brand new destinations – Bolivia and Chile.
Ever wonder what hotel to recommend to a client when a tour operator may have dozens, or even hundreds on offer? Air Canada Vacations aims to make it easy with a new Top Picks brochure that highlights its top resorts in the Mexican and Caribbean. “Top Picks is a great booking tool and we encourage agents to reference it during client consultations,” says ACV’s managing director Nino Montagnese, who notes that EBBs are in effect through June 30.
Sunwing has scheduled direct flight service from Vancouver to Montego Bay, Jamaica, starting Dec. 19 and running through the winter until April 3, 2018. It is the only direct connection to the island from YVR.
Words of the week!
“Brand USA isn’t funded with a dime of taxpayer money, reduced the deficit by $50 million, and… eliminating it would put the federal budget further in the red. With international visitation being the country’s No. 2 export supporting 15 million American jobs, we’re struggling to understand how cutting Brand USA squares with this administration’s stated priorities.”
- Roger Dow, U.S. Travel Association President and CEO, on the proposed elimination of the Brand USA tourism marketing agency in President Trump’s recent federal budget document.
Life-size representation of Sgt. Pepper album cover at The Beatles Story in Liverpool, UK.