How to get to Abbey Road Crossing in London
This post describes how to reach the Abbey Road Crossing in London, also known as the Beatles Crosswalk. Located in the north London neighbourhood of St. John’s Wood, it is easily accessible by the London Underground. We also list several guided tours that visit the crossing.
- Plan Your Visit
- Tour Abbey Road Studios
- Live Abbey Road Crossing Feed
- Beatles-Themed Tours
- Other Things to Do in London
PLAN YOUR VISIT
This section will provide information on the best times to visit Abbey Road, what to expect and how to get there. No matter how or when you choose to visit, remember that this is still an active road and you should be careful while crossing the street.
How to Get to Abbey Road Crossing in London
The nearest Underground Station to Abbey Road is St. John’s Wood. There is only one exit at this station.
When you exit the station, you will be on the northeast corner of Finchley Road and Grove End Road. Head west on Grove End Road for approximately 500 meters and make a right turn onto Abbey Road. The Studios – and the crossing – are right there.
Best Times to Visit
Abbey Road is still in use to this very day, so a trip to this site isn’t exactly like other historic landmarks you’ll find in London. With that in mind, it will be important to consider when you come and how you experience the site. Since it is a public road, you can come pretty much any time you want, but some days/times will be better than others.
Locals and tourists recommend avoiding a trip to Abbey Road on weekdays. Due to the fact that this is a public road, you can expect more traffic than usual on days when people are trying to get to and from work. For the best results, avoid coming to see this site between the hours of 7 am – 9 am and 4 pm – 6 pm on weekdays. You can try to cross outside of the rush hours on weekdays, but there may be a better time to visit.
According to some tourists, the best time to come is actually on weekends in the morning. Most people sleep in on Saturday and Sunday, allowing you to avoid as much traffic as possible between the hours of 7 am – 9 am on those days. No matter when you decide to come, you must be very careful while attempting to take photos or get a good look at Abbey Road.
What to Expect
As we mentioned previously, the most important thing you should expect when you arrive at the Abbey Road crossing is traffic. This public road is still in use, so you must follow traffic laws and be very careful while either walking across the street or taking photos. Check our best times to visit section for details on the safest and least busy times for this landmark.
There is no way to ensure that you can spend as much time as you want to look at Abbey Road, taking pictures and enjoying the site. Most drivers in the area will be used to stopping for tourists, but you should always keep them in mind while visiting this location.
Your best bet will be to take in the view from the curb and cross the road to get the full experience. Do not stop for too long in the middle of the street just to get the perfect picture.
Although this is a historic site, chances are that you won’t spend more than 10-15 minutes while you’re here. Crossing the road is dangerous enough that you’ll want to make it quick, and chances are that you won’t spend much more time taking photos and enjoying the sights from the curb.
If you choose to come at a popular time, you might need to set aside a few more minutes both for traffic to pass and for other Beatles fans to cross the road.
If you choose to get here by using the tube, you might want to stop by the cafe/gift shop. This location not only sells coffee, it also sells a lot of Beatles memorabilia and merchandise – some which actually says “I Crossed Abbey Road.” If you’re planning on doing just that, you might want to get something to commemorate the moment!
ABBEY ROAD STUDIOS
Today, the music studio where the Beatles recorded that album is synonymous with not just the Beatles themselves, but with multiple music legends that have recorded at the Abbey Road Studios, owned by EMI and based at No. 3 Abbey Road. Below is a Google virtual tour of the studios.
The list of those who have recorded there is quite extensive, so here is a small list of some of the better-known names who have graced the Studios over the years: Michael Jackson, Pink Floyd, James Blunt, Queen, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, U2, Stevie Wonder, Ella Fitzgerald, Mary J. Blige, Duran Duran, Oasis, Kylie Minogue, and Green Day.
You can tour Abbey Road Studios virtually with Google.
LIVE ABBEY ROAD CAMERA FEED
The zebra crossing at Abbey Road is watched by 24-hour cameras which live-stream their feed on this website: Live Feed.
Google has also produced a virtual tour of the crosswalk and Apple Studios.
TIP: If you are a big-time Beatles fan, you might be interested in the Beatles Walking Tour. Beatles fans who have the London Pass get a free goodies bag with any £5 or more purchase at the Beatles Store.
HISTORY AND BACKGROUND
Originally, Abbey Road was simply another thoroughfare through Northwest London and was primarily used by visitors heading toward Lord’s Cricket Ground.
But in 1969, Abbey Road was changed forever when a photograph of the Beatles crossing the road (since it just so happened to be outside the studio where the album was recorded) was used as the cover for their album of the same name.
The crossing depicted on the album cover is what’s known as a zebra crossing -a pedestrian crossing known by its’ distinguishing pattern of dark and light stripes on the road that typically gives rights of way to pedestrians over traffic (making it easier for those who want to recreate the fab-four album cover!).
The crossing here became so well known, and such a tourist hot-spot that in 2010 the stretch of Abbey Road here was given Grade II Listed Building status by English Heritage. This means the zebra crossing here now has legal protection as a site of historical importance and cannot be torn apart. Unusually, the zebra crossing is repainted every three months to keep it in good shape for the millions of photographs that are taken here every year!
The road sign for Abbey Road was traditionally positioned at the usual height and location – within the public’s grasp. This meant that the sign was repeatedly defaced and removed throughout the decades. Today the sign is deliberately positioned higher than normal to prevent this.
However, the front gate that surrounds the Abbey Road studios is still covered in graffiti left by visitors from around the world, looking to leave a footprint of their visit to this world-known recording location.
BEATLES TOURS IN LONDON
There are several ways to see sites in London associated with the Beatles. Here are three ways:
- Guided and Self-Guided Bus and Walking Tours of The Beatles’ London — A half-day tour that will take you across London to see places like Apple Record Headquarters, where the Beatles performed live for the last time, and the London Pavilion, where 4 of their 5 films premiered.
- You may be interested in taking our (pay-what-you-wish) London Rock N Roll Tour, which includes many Beatles’ sites in the city. Mondays and Thursdays at 14:00 (2 pm). Our tour video is below. Be sure to check out our free London walking tours when visiting the city.