What is more characteristic about Liverpool than John, Paul, George and Ringo? It is not too surprising that one of most beautiful areas of the city, the Royal Albert Dock, hosts an exhibition on the Beatles. Thus, before I enjoyed the show of the incredible young country talent Catherine McGrath, I spent some time with the classics. Here is my review of the Beatles Story.
The Beatles Story – Location & Admission
The Beatles Story is located in the Southern part of Royal Albert Dock, which also hosts several other attractions. The entrance is downstairs via stairs – the place is accessible, though.
Standard Adult Admission is 16.95 GBP. There are several reductions like student / concession prices and family packages. I can highly recommend – if avoidable – not to visit the exhibition during weekends or peak days. It is just too full in the comparably narrow basement aisles.
The Beatles Story – The Beatles Exhibition
The exhibition is a walk-through which gives you the (chorologic) stages of the Beatles’ career. For example, the first stage covers the school / student band roots of the Beatles. Thereby, the exhibition is supported by an audio-/multimedia guide, which is available in multiple languages. Per stage, the guide narrates roughly 90 seconds in average per stage. For some stages, there is additional information. The technology used is comparably old fashioned – by far not as fancy and interactive as the Antwerp Rockoxhuis one, for example.
The most impressive stages are likely the Hamburg Star Club entrance, the Abbey Road studios, a replica of the Cavern Club and the part on the band in America. You may also walk through the Yellow Submarine or learn about the Beatles hype – or the Beatlemania. One interesting exhibit are the Sgt. Pepper’s uniforms – unfortunately, they are just copies. Of course, the very last stage of Beatles history is the break-up in 1970.
The Beatles Story – And what they did thereafter…
The final exhibits of your Beatles tour, the final sections deal with what the Fab Four individuals have done after their band career.
I have been especially interested in John Lennon, who is one of my big musical idols. John also gets the highest proportion of the the four solo musicians. The tour even ends with an Imagine room.
The Beatles Story – Temporary Exhibition & Discovery
Apart from the permanent Beatles Story, there is also a minor room for a temporary exhibition. The one I visited was about the Fab Four in India. You should see the exhibition as a nice add-on to your visit, not more. The space for it is really limited – even if you are a die-hard Beatles fan, I can hardly imagine you would pay additional 17 GBP for a re-entry just due to this exhibition.
There is also the Discovery Center, which is targeting children to be educated on the life and work of the Beatles. I can hardly rate that area at all, it looked quite cute. However, it also had one very terrible mistake, which is really hard to understand from my perspective.
The Beatles Story – Cafe & Fab Four Store
Of course, each Liverpool Beatles attraction comes with a souvenir store or similar to exchange some local currency to memorabilia. The Fab Four Store, which you either access at the end of the tour or through the docks directly, offers a huge variety of items.
While the store looks really nice, the cafe looked cozy, but not that special to me. It is not too bad, though, a more or less self-service place to relax after the visit. At good weather, I would rather recommend to enjoy one of the cafes offering outside seating around.
The Beatles Story – My View
The Beatles Story is a top-rated attraction on Tripadvisor. Thus, I expected quite a lot of it – and I have to stay that I felt rather disappointed. One key factor is that the tour is so much concentrated on the audio guide. It gives you all the information, you just look to the exhibits here and there. However, the commentary per stage / exhibition area is too long. This means it is just getting too packed and too narrow. It is also very hard to explore the exhibits just because it feels there are other people everywhere.
I thus would not rate the Beatles Story as a must-visit in their home city. Liverpool is packed with Beatles attractions – you might enjoy some others more. The experience is likely much better, though, if you do not travel in on a weekend.
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