Tour of The Beatles’ London
This post is a self-guided tour of Beatles London sights as well as a list of guided tour options. From recording studios to concert venues, shops to roof-top performances, London is filled with hot-spots for fans of the Fab Four.
- List of Beatles Sights
- Guided Tours
- Abbey Road Crosswalk
- London Rock N Roll Tour
- Things to Do in London
- Free Tours by Foot
BEATLES SIGHTS IN LONDON
These sights are organized by neighborhood so that if you are exploring London one neighborhood at a time so that you can check out a few significant Beatles locales during your outing.
You can, of course, visit all the sights in one day. This will take you about a half-day depending on how much time you’d like to spend at each location and mode of travel.
Chances are you will be spending some time in SoHo on your visit to London. You might find our post on things to do in Soho helpful.
It’s a great neighborhood with lots of rock and roll history. So naturally, we make several of the below Beatles’ locales during our pay-what-you-wish Rock N Roll London Tour.
Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club – 47 Frith Street, London W1D 4HT (map)
A legend on the London music scene, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club sits in the heart of Soho.
It was Ronnie Scott who played the saxophone solo on the Beatles hit ‘Lady Madonna.’
This is a stop on our pay-what-you-wish Rock N Roll London Tour.
Number 9 Kingley Street is a private member’s club known as The Bag O’Nails. Opened originally in 1965, this was a hot-spot for musicians to meet and play until the club closed its doors to the public in 1968.
Paul McCartney was a frequent visitor of The Bag O’Nails (he actually had his own private table!) and on the 15th of May in 1967 it was here that he met his future wife, Linda.
Also a stop on our pay-what-you-wish Rock N Roll London Tour
MPL Communications – 1 Soho Square (map)
MPL Communications is the name of Paul McCartney’s music publishing company. Their headquarters are here at Number 1 Soho Square.
Founded in 1970 by McCartney himself, MPL Communications not only manages work by Paul but also owns copyrights for dozens of artists, including huge names like Buddy Holly.
Former Blue Gardenia Club – 20 St. Anne’s Court (map)
Tucked away in a small Soho alley is the location of the former Blue Gardenia Club.
Although no longer standing, legend has it that this is where the Beatles held their first-ever London performance.
According to the story, the concert was impromptu (their van driver that evening knew the club would still be open late into the night and might have an empty stage that needed filling) and not all four Beatles were present – George Harrison was at home with the flu!
If true, this would make it the first performance in London for the Fab Four, but it is said that they earned absolutely no money that evening – since in December of 1961 they were still completely unknown!
In this unassuming building sits recording studios where numerous hits were put down on vinyl.
The Beatles recorded various songs here including Hey Jude, Martha My Dear, Dear Prudence, Honey Pie, Savoy Truffle, I Want You (She’s so Heavy).
Separately, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, and Paul McCartney all recorded music here in their respective solo careers.
Read more about Trident Recording Studios.
This is a stop on our pay-what-you-wish Rock N Roll London Tour.
But, more famous than the concert, was the introduction of their final number Twist and Shout by John Lennon, who took to the stage and announced, “For our last number, I’d like to ask your help.
For the people in the cheaper seats, clap your hands. And the rest of you, if you’d just rattle your jewelry.”
After giving a cheeky grin and a thumbs-up sign, cameras swiftly moved to the Queen Mother who, on her feet, was seen laughing and waving.
This gesture demonstrated the Beatles’ ability to transcend politics, finance, and international barriers in their rise to the top of musical history.
Today, you can see some of the best shows at The Prince of Wales Theatre, like The Book of Mormon!
The London Pavillion – 1 Piccadilly Circus (map)
Today an entertainment venue, the London Pavilion saw the premieres of four of five Beatles films: A Hard Day’s Night, Help!, Yellow Submarine, and Let it Be.
Find out more about London’s famous Piccadilly Circus.
The London Palladium Theatre – 8 Argyll Street (map)
In 1963, the Beatles gave a concert here that coined the term “Beatlemania.”
The theatre was packed thousands of fans and it’s estimated that 15 million people tuned in to watch the performance.
The crowds quickly swarmed to the backstage door of the theatre, hoping to see the group as they left but the Beatles were one step ahead…and left through the front!
NEMS Offices – 5-6 Argyll Street (map)
Standing for North End Music Stores, the NEMS organization was run by Brian Epstein – sometimes referred to as the “fifth Beatle.”
Ironically, today the location is a Five Guys fast food restaurant!
Epstein was the Beatles’ manager and his headquarters here is where all of the behind-the-scenes work going into the success of the Beatles took place.
Notably, it was at this location that John Lennon, in an interview with the Evening Standard in 1966, commented that the Beatles were “bigger than Jesus.”
Dougie Millings & Son – 63 Old Compton Street (map)
Millings & Son, master tailors, were known the world over as “The Beatles’ Tailor.” They no longer operate, instead, you will find a restaurant, Cafe Espana.
It was at this shop here in Old Compton Street that John Lennon asked the tailor for “something different”. What he got was one of the most distinctive items in the Beatles’ wardrobe – the collarless suits the Beatles became known for.
The link between the tailor at the Fab Four was so strong that crowds would often gather outside, hoping to get a glimpse of the Beatles coming in to collect their clothes.
It is possible to spot Dougie Millings in A Hard Day’s Night where he has a small part, appropriately, as a frustrated tailor! Read his obituary in the NY Times.
ST JOHN’S WOOD
The Beatles recorded nearly all of their albums and singles dating from 1962 to 1970 here.
For more information, read our in-depth post on the crossing and the studio.
During the time of The Beatles, the Studios were owned by EMI. Today it is a property of Universal Music.
The building itself is still used for recordings but it is also a protected building, holding English Heritage Grade II Listed status.
This means the building will now always be preserved from major alterations and changed in recognition of its’ musical historical impact.
Paul McCartney’s Current London Home – 7 Cavendish Avenue (map)
Since 1966 this lavish mansion has belonged to Paul McCartney. Owing to the proximity to the Abbey Road studios, the Beatles frequently used this house as a meeting place before and after recordings.
As he owns many properties over the world, he is not here all of the time, but it is not unusual to see him in the shops and pubs on the nearby St. John’s Wood high street.
After his divorce from Heather Mills, the paparazzi were camped outside of this house for weeks and occasionally one may find a Beatles fan or two camped outside the imposing brick walls.
Beatles Coffee Shop – St. John’s Wood Station (map)
Located at St. John’s Wood Underground Station is the Beatles Coffee shop, a great place to grab a drink or a small bite to eat.
The shop also boasts a variety of Beatles merchandise to pick up and bring back home for your fab-four-loving-friends.
Apple Records – 3 Savile Row (map)
This was the headquarters for the Beatles’ record label. In the basement, part of the film Let it Be was shot.
But it is the rooftop that is practically a shrine to the Beatles. In January 1969, the Beatles gave their last live performance, memorialized on film (watch here).
The band played for 45 minutes until the police came and stopped the impromptu gig. Before the police cleared them away, John Lennon who said, “I hope we passed the audition.”
Naturally, this near-sacred sight is a stop on our pay-what-you-wish Rock N Roll London Tour.
One cannot imagine not stopping here to see one of the most significant places in rock history!
The Dorchester – 45 Park Lane (map)
The Beatles celebrated the premieres of both A Hard Day’s Night and Help! here.
This posh hotel on London’s luxury Park Lane, the Dorchester can be visited by members of the public who wish to come in for afternoon tea, or a drink at the bar.
Mason’s Yard Art Gallery (where John Lennon met Yoko Ono) – 6 Mason’s Yard (map)
Formerly the site of the Indica Gallery, 6 Mason’s Yard was the location of an exhibition that began on the 9th of November in 1966 by Yoko Ono.
John Lennon had been told that the exhibition was worth visiting, and when he arrived at this location, he met his future wife!
(We stop here on our pay-what-you-wish Rock N Roll London Tour).
John was reported, “expecting an orgy, you know…” but arrived instead to find a quiet room where Yoko was drifting around, rearranging objects as part of her art piece.
One of the pieces was a wooden board with a hammer and nails nearby – John asked if he could hammer in one of the nails and was told no by Yoko herself.
The gallery manager panicked that Ono may have offended John, convinced her to allow him to do it.
According to Lennon himself, Yoko said he could do it if he paid five shillings. His response? “Well, I’ll give you an imaginary five shillings and hammer an imaginary nail in.”
John stated that this was the moment he and Yoko really “met” changing the course of both their lives forever.
Marylebone Station – Location in A Hard Day’s Night – Marylebone Rail Station (map)
It’s here that they arrive in London to a mob of screaming girls and must run to escape the chaos!
If you want to truly walk in the footsteps of John, George, and Ringo, head to nearby Boston Place (along the right side of the Station).
This is the street the three are running down at the beginning of the film.
Former EMI Headquarters – 20 Manchester Square (map)
From 1960 – 1995, 20 Manchester Square was the address of EMI, a multinational music recording, and publishing company. This was the company that introduced the Beatles on an international level and also provided promotional materials of the group.
The stairwell which is featured on the cover of the Please Please Me album was located inside this building and photographs of the group taken inside the offices here were used in The Red Album and The Blue Album.
Inside the building, the Beatles received several awards from EMI owing to their record-breaking sales which means the doorways here have seen the footsteps of the Beatles dozens of times.
John and Yoko’s Flat – 34 Montagu Square (map)
The basement flat in 34 Montagu Square was occupied by Ringo Starr briefly in 1965 before he moved out and leased the flat to his friends – including Jimi Hendrix.
But, for Fab Four Fans, this flat is better known as the home of John Lennon and Yoko who lived here in 1968.
It was in October of that year that the police raided the flat and John and Yoko were charged with possession of cannabis. Shortly thereafter, Ringo felt enough pressure to sell the flat.
It’s also of note that Paul McCartney himself said that this flat at Montagu Square was where he wrote Eleanor Rigby.
Jane Asher’s Home – 57 Wimpole St (map)
In the early 1960s, Paul McCartney dated Jane Asher and lived with her for a time.
In this house is where Paul and John wrote I Want to Hold Your Hand.
Marylebone Register Office – 97-113 Marylebone Rd (map)
In this architecturally lovely building, Paul McCartney exchanged vows with Linda Eastman here on March 12, 1969, breaking millions of hearts in the process.
Forty years later, McCartney married his third wife, Nancy Shevell. Ringo Starr married his second wife Barbara Bach here in 1981.
Other famous nuptials that took place here include Sean Bean and Georgina Sutcliffe, Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas and Oasis’ frontman Liam Gallagher to his first wife, Patsy Kensit in 1997 and then his second wife Nicole Appleton in 2008.
The absolute top-notch Beatles memorabilia store in London.
From regular trinkets like key chains, shot glasses and clothing to serious collector’s items like rare records and out-of-print magazines – this shop has it all!
An unexpected stop on a Beatles tour of London is Buckingham Palace! In June 1965, Queen Elizabeth II appointed all four members of the Beatles Members of the Orders of the British Empire (MBEs).
The Fab Four had been nominated by Prime Minister Harold Wilson and the ceremony took place inside the Palace, sparking a bit of controversy by those who felt that MBE recipients should be limited to civic leaders and military veterans.
Many MBE recipients actually returned their insignia in protest!
Hard Rock Café – 150 Old Park Lane (map)
For Beatles fans, a visit to the Hard Rock Café doesn’t necessarily need to involve any food or drink!
Underneath the shop is a vault that contains musical memorabilia including John Lennon’s original handwritten lyrics for songs like ‘Imagine’ as well as a pair of his glasses.
Also of note is the gold record which was gifted to the group when their album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band reached $1 million in the United States.
Tours of the vault are available!
Brian Epstein’s Final Home – 24 Chapel St. (map)
In January 1965, Brian Epstein moved into this house in the exclusive London neighbourhood of Belgravia.
It was here that the release party for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band took place.
Sadly, it was also here that Brian Epstein died of a drug overdose on 27th August 1967.
Whaddon House – William Mews (map)
Here are the former residences of George, Ringo and Brian Epstein. In late 1963, Brian Epstein moved into the top floor apartment here.
Not long after, George Harrison and Ringo Starr shared an apartment on the second floor of the very same building and it was here that the Fab Four met before traveling to Buckingham Palace to receive their MBEs.
George and Ringo moved out in 1965 but the building remained famous owing to a legendary party hosted by Epstein in 1964.
Reportedly in August of that year, an event took place that was attended by all four Beatles as well as Judy Garland, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.
See what it looks like today. You can rent an apartment for just…£5,417 a month!
The British Library – 96 Euston Road (map)
When thinking of the Beatles, the British Library isn’t a naturally linked location.
However, the British Library houses some exceptionally rare Beatles artifacts that are on display and that can be viewed.
This includes six manuscripts penned by John Lennon including lyric sheets in his own hand for In My Life, Strawberry Fields Forever and She Said She Said.
There is also a letter to Lennon’s friend, former Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe, and an original Beatles Fan Club membership card.
Best of all, this collection is FREE to enjoy! Click here for more information.
If you would prefer a guided tour, you are in luck, as there are several walking and bus tours available for purchase.
Of course, you should check out our free Rock N Roll London Tour, which takes place on Thursdays and Saturdays at 15:00 (3 pm).
You can also take this tour any time you wish with our GPS-led audio tour app. Here’s a sample.
Every day at 1 pm, take a guided walking tour of central London Beatles sights. £15/adult, £10/child, £12/senior/student.
If you are considering purchasing a hop-on-hop-off bus tour ticket while in London, be aware that these tickets are included for free with the purchase of an Original Tour London bus ticket.
It’s also included for free with the London Pass, a tourist attraction discount pass that includes free entry to dozens of London’s most popular attractions.
A 3.5-hour mini-coach tour that covers the history of rock music and visits SoHo, Camden Town all the way to Abbey Road.
Prices start at £46/adult, £29/child (ages 3-16). Select days at 13:00 (1 pm).
Let Mark (the taxi driver in the video at the top of this page) take you on a tour. Check out his Facebook page.
Richard Porter’s Beatles Walks
- Beatles ‘In My Life’ – 11 am every Tuesday and Saturday
- Magical Mystery Tour – 11 am every Thursday and Sunday and 2 pm every Wednesday
- Rock and Roll London – 2 pm every Friday