Planning Your Trip
(From Beatlefan #126, Sept.-Oct 2000)
Before boarding the plane, it pays to plan ahead. That way you won't be trying to book tours, transportation and accommodation at the last minute (see my Hard Day's Net column in this issue for pertinent Web sites). Purchasing a thorough tour book can be useful. If possible, try to visit Liverpool first and then London. By happy accident, I did just that, which enabled me to visualize The Beatles' difficult journey from their home to the "big city."
Since there is so much to see in Liverpool, I recommend staying overnight. This way you have ample time to walk around the city, breathe the Mersey air, crawl the neighborhood pubs, and meet charming Liverpudlians. I took the train and stayed just for the day, and I saw only the most essential sights of the city.
To save time, book in advance any Beatles guided tours you plan to take. The most well-known one is the Magical Mystery Tour offered by the Cavern Club. Visit their Web site and e-mail your reservation. You may also purchase tickets by phone, but they will not accept faxed orders. Cavern City Tours offers a variety of packages, but the most economical one is the "combo" tour. One price includes the tour and admission to the excellent Beatles Story, located on the Albert Dock. When calling, inquire about making reservations to see Paul McCartney's boyhood home at 20 Forthlin Road. Because of the home's small size, only a certain number of tourists are admitted per hour. Reserving a specific day and time in advance prevents the disappointment of arriving to find all admission tickets are sold out.
Unlike Liverpool, London requires little advance planning. When you arrive at the airport or hotel, pick up a London Walks brochure. London Walks, a popular tour company that offers numerous themed walks and daytrips, features two Beatles-themed walks: Magical Mystery Tour, guided by Richard Porter, president of the London Beatles Fan Club; and In My Life, which features homes of The Beatles and girlfriends, wedding locations and more. Consult the brochure for days and times of these walks, and then meet at the designated tube station. Pay the guide, and you're off! You may also view the brochure online at http://www.walks.com.
Now that you've planned your trip and made all required reservations, the excitement begins. You're finally traveling to the Land of The Beatles, where all the music began! What follows is a diary of the highlights of the Liverpool and London tours, plus my additional suggestions on how to get the most out of your trip.
Kit O' Toole
As we stepped down from the train into the Lime Street Station, the excitement began to build within me. For about two and a half hours we had observed different scenery racing past the train's windows: tall buildings in London, pastoral scenes of green fields and grazing sheep. Approaching Liverpool you enter a different land of industrial, dark vistas. We arrived at about 10 a.m. on Saturday morning, but the streets were already full of families out for a day of shopping. Buses whizzed by as we walked to our first stop, the Queens Square Tourist Center, located in the Liverpool City Center. There we picked up our Magical Mystery Tour tickets and perused the Beatles-themed souvenirs. Since we had about an hour to kill before meeting back at the center for the tour, we decided to grab brunch at the Rat and Parrot, Liverpool's largest pub, which appeared to be a cross between a Bennigans and a Dennys. I would highly recommend stopping here; it's not too far from the center and offers a large breakfast or lunch for a relatively inexpensive price (and that's hard to find in England!).
We returned to the center to find that our tour group had gathered around the front door, waiting for the guide. We seemed to be the only Americans thus far in the group; I heard a variety of accents as people chatted excitedly about the upcoming adventure. The tour leader finally arrived in the form of Eddie, an older Liverpool resident who had played in a rival band in the early '60s. We all boarded the Magical Mystery Tour bus, a replica of the bus used in the film. Eddie placed a Beatles tape into the boombox on the bus, hit play and we were off!
We drove by key sites, including Ringo's home at 10 Admiral Grove and the Empress Pub, where Ringo's mother used to work. Eddie and the bus driver kept things rolling along by cheerfully holding up photos of Ringo and the "Sentimental Journey" album cover. Judging by their vaguely risqué, jokes they knew a lot more about major and minor players in The Beatles' story than they were willing to divulge (in front of a family crowd, anyway). Their tone became more reverent, however, when we reached one of the most important landmarks in rock: Penny Lane. We stopped by the street sign and Eddie led us out of the bus so we could stand near the revered spot. As we all marched behind him, he waved his arm in the direction of the sign and kept repeating, "Penny Lane. Penny Lane" in a hushed tone. Of course, we all took turns taking pictures of each other standing by the grafitti-filled sign. After we reboarded the bus, we continued down the street so we could see the hallowed places the song mentions, such as the barber shop and the roundabout. But as we viewed these places, I was struck by how Paul managed to make the street sound like a quaint, beautiful road in a lovely town. The actual street is somewhat unremarkable, filled with shops and traffic. Just another testament to the artistry of The Beatles.
We then exited from the bus to view George's first home at 12 Arnold Grove. We walked right up to it so we could examine the red brick, lace curtains and small door up close. Eddie mentioned that the house really had only two rooms (plus a bathroom). I was struck by the small, slightly dingy street; although the small home had its charm, it is easy to see why the Harrisons moved in 1950. Sharply contrasting with George's home was Brian Epstein's, a large house in the more picturesque area of Childwall. Seeing the two homes enabled me to picture how Brian entered a different world when he began managing the group.
We then drove down the street to another major landmark: Strawberry Field. The red gates still shine, but the stone pillars on either side are covered in graffiti scrawled by well-meaning fans. The trees enclose the entrance so much that little sun lit up the area. A hush fell over the group as Eddie waved us toward the famous entrance, and once again we all lined up to have our photos taken. A Beatles lover's paradise!
The rest of the tour progressed quickly; the only time we exited the bus again was to walk up to Paul's home at 20 Forthlin Road, a charming suburban home nicely preserved by the National Trust. Eddie even pointed out the very bus stop down the street where Paul and George first met. We drove past John's home, which is located in a surprisingly nice area with neatly manicured lawns and bushes. We flew past the Philharmonic, the Liverpool College of Art, the Liverpool Institute, and the very impressive Gambier Terrace, where John and Stu Sutcliffe once shared an apartment.
Our final stop was, of course, the Cavern Club. We first entered the Cavern Pub, where we picked up our free T-shirts and viewed the rock memorabilia covering the walls. But venturing across the street to the Cavern Club is the real highlight. The actual club was stupidly torn down many years ago, but a faithful recreation now stands near its original location on Mathew Street. We walked down the dark steps until we felt as though we were way underground, and we could hear the thumping of a bass and drum through the walls. Upon entering we first saw a large bar and silhouettes of customers sitting on stools. It was so dimly lit in the club that it was difficult to make out distinct shapes. We wandered toward the stage area, where chairs were lined up in neat rows. The '60s crowds probably stood in a sweaty mass around this area, watching The Beatles tear through numbers like "Some Other Guy." We also saw the recreated "wall of fame," which features the names of all the groups who played there. Although this was not the original club, it was such an effective reproduction that I still felt as though history was surrounding me. A decent rock band played on, and we stood and watched them for a few minutes. But we had to move on to our final destination in Liverpool: the Albert Dock
After a rather long walk through the downtown area, we finally reached the shopping and eating complex right along the Mersey. For those of you who are familiar with the Chicago area, it was like their scaled-down version of Navy Pier. We walked directly to the Beatles Story, billed as an "interactive museum." Although it contained little memorabilia unfamiliar to hard-core Beatles fans, it effectively recreated through sound and pictures each phase of The Beatles' lives. One room recreated a typical Hamburg street; another room featured a recreation of Brian's office; another simulated the inside of a plane to illustrate the Beatles' first trip to the U.S. It is a fun sidetrip for any Beatles fan, casual or more serious, and should not be missed.
Before we caught a cab back to the Lime Street Station, I took a minute to gaze at the Mersey. Of course, Gerry and the Pacemakers' hit "Ferry 'Cross the Mersey" floated through my head, and it was then that I wondered: What is it about this city that makes its bands want to glorify it in song? I got the feeling from our bus driver and tour guide that if you do not have extraordinary talents and drive, you will remain in Liverpool for the rest of your life. The Beatles obviously wanted to break out of their surroundings to succeed in London and, ultimately, nationally. Yet music such as "Penny Lane," "Strawberry Fields Forever", the "Liverpool Oratorio" and even Paul's new track "Free Now" extol the city's virtues and unique beauty. Perhaps only native Liverpudlians can truly understand its value and charms with their unique sense of humor and wordplay. For me, the trip made me better understand The Beatles and their special talent for turning the ordinary into the extraordinary.
Now for some practical advice: Although I recommend that you take a tour to first discover Liverpool, you will also want to do some exploring on your own. The Magical Mystery Tour includes the major sites, but does not feature other important sites such as the Jacaranda or the Grapes. You will also be driven by such landmarks as John's house on Menlove Avenue and St. Peter's Church, but you may not exit the bus to walk around them. When you board the bus, be sure to purchase a map of Beatles sights from the guide. This will aid you in your personal tour. Another option is to book a private tour, conducted by a knowledgeable guide. One such guide is Sylvia McMurtry (www.merseyworld.com/mcmurtry), who chauffeurs passsengers in a private car. If you wish, you may ask her to stop at any particular site for a longer period of time so you may take all the pictures you want. Although this costs a bit more than the Magical Mystery Tour, it serves as a good alternative for those who have more time in Liverpool.
And, again, I highly recommend that you spend the night in the city; that way you have adequate time to explore its history and its culture.
Although there aren't as many Beatles-related sites to see here as in Liverpool, it is still worth taking at least one themed tour from London Walks. Also titled the Magical Mystery Tour, this walk featured all the major landmarks in The Beatles' career. Usually led by Richard Porter, our walk was hosted by another Beatles scholar and local musician. He knowledgeably led us through major and little-known sites. We peered through the windows of the upscale MPL building and stared at the former Trident Studios site. Viewing Carnaby Street in person is a thrill; although it certainly isn't the center of fashion anymore, it still offers unusual boutiques that hint at its illustrious past. We then moved on to the former Bag O' Nails pub, an upscale club where Paul and Linda met.
One of the most spine-tingling moments on the tour occurred when we stood in front of Apple's former offices at 3 Savile Row. As the guide regaled us with the details of the famous rooftop concert, I stared up at the top of the building. I tried to imagine the reaction of the three-piece-suited businessmen walking along Savile Row as they heard music emitting from the rooftop. Since our visit was on a Sunday morning, the street seemed eerily quiet. Reluctantly we moved on to the former Indica Gallery, which is still all white.
After hopping on the tube, our last spine-tingling stop was Abbey Road Studios. Our enthusiastic guide pulled out his vinyl copy of Abbey Road and described the history of the studios and the album itself. Traffic whizzed by busily, which demonstrated why it was necessary for The Beatles to have the street closed to take the famous photo. Our guide mentioned that it was OK to sign the white pillars holding up the front gates, as they are washed down frequently. I bolted across the street to scrawl my name on one of the pillars, as many other fans have done, judging from all the writing. The final step was, of course, trying to restage the famous album cover. With my friend perched on one side of the road wielding the camera, I stood on the other side, trying to figure out which cars would stop for me. A couple of drivers finally obliged; probably everyone driving on the street is used to gawking tourists by now. As we posed by the Abbey Road street sign, I realized that I had finally made it; I had walked across the very same road as The Beatles! Everyone in the group felt the excitement, and as we walked back to the tube station I saw a few people in the group lingering around the gates, not quite ready to leave.
If you wish, you may also take the In My Life walking tour. You may also supplement the tour with your own walking tour. I found, though, that the London Walks version offered all the major sites you would want to see.
Since I traveled to Liverpool first, I was able to visualize what The Beatles' move must have been like. Although Liverpool is a large city, the residents all seem to know each other. London, on the other hand, is similar to New York with pedestrians rushing down the sidewalks, traffic clogging up the streets, and impressive buildings. The Beatles' road to fame was a long and fascinating one, and embarking on the journey yourself allows for even greater appreciation of their evolution from small-town heroes to international stars.
Kit O' Toole
If you've been planning a pilgrimage to Liverpool, these Web sites may help you do some advance preparation.
Your first visit should be BeatleCity (www .beatlecity.com), which aims to be Liverpool's premiere tourist Web site. The well-designed site contains information on the history of the city, transportation and accommodation listings. It also provides an online guide to tourist sites of interest in Liverpool (not just Beatles-related sites) to help you plan your sightseeing. It has a guide to pub-crawling, shopping and listings of upcoming events. Finally, it provides photos of many relevant Beatles-related sightseeing stops. Even though the site lacks city maps and specific addresses for some restaurants and hotels, it is an essential first stop in your travel planning.
Another Web site that provides more basic but necessary travel information is Travel Britain's Liverpool site (www.travelbritain.com/england/merseyside/liverpool). The site lists travel information and provides valuable links to various travel and tourism services. For example, with their "Global Destination Guide," which resembles Yahoo in design, you can book train tickets, a car or hotel rooms. This site also provides more detailed information on the locations of restaurants, pubs and other attractions, such as the Grapes or the Cavern. You may even view recommended tours to take while in Liverpool.
If you need further information, such as possible hotel discounts and other practical information, check out the official Mersey tourism site (www .visitliverpool.com). In addition to the useful links for booking hotels and transportation, it offers an even more comprehensive listing of events in Liverpool, such as the "Art of Paul McCartney" exhibition running through August. The Beatles history portion of the site differs little from the aforementioned Liverpool sites, but overall the site provides the most practical information concerning getting around the city and links to every possible tourism-related company. Its extensive list of links to other Liverpool-related sites also proves useful.
Use this site and the Travel Britain site as your practical planning tools, and the BeatleCity Web site as your guide for planning Beatles sightseeing.
Finally, if you plan on flying to Liverpool, you may want to visit the new Liverpool John Lennon Airport Web site (www.liverpooljohnlennonairport .com/html/index2.html). In addition to the usual airport information (flights, cars, parking, maps), you can view photos of the airport renaming ceremony, including some pictures not seen in national newspapers, and a press release. Of course, the site also features a brief biography of John and press releases on the sculptor who created the Lennon statue and other John artwork on display in the airport. Not only is this a practical site, it's an interesting one as well.
Kit O' Toole
Beatling in Britain!
(Originally published in Beatlefan #131, July-August 2001)
Beatling in Britain can be more fun than ever these days, as the King family found on recent visits to Liverpool and London.
On the Planning Your Trip page, Kit O'Toole provides a good primer on arranging your trip. Here, then, are some tips on maximizing your enjoyment, and avoiding some pitfalls.
There are several ways of touring Liverpool, including as part of package tours of that city and London offered by such operators as Charles Rosenay's Liverpool Productions (which includes the August fan convention) and Tony Maddalone's Beatles Pilgrimage Tour (www.beatletour.com), which visited shortly after we were there. If you get to Liverpool on your own, as we did, there are customized bus and taxi tours offered by Live@pool Tours, and a multitude of tours offered by Cavern City Tours.
We opted for Cavern City's traditional Magical Mystery Tour bus tour, conducted on a lookalike of the bus used in the movie - a big attraction for younger Beatlefans.
It's advisable to book ahead (check out www.cavern-liverpool.co.uk/MMTbookings.htm), and you can pick up your tickets at either the Merseyside Tourist Information Centre at Queen Square, not far from the Lime Street train station where you'll probably arrive in the city, or at the other tourism office at the Albert Dock. You catch the tour at either Queen Square or The Beatles Story, located near the tourism office in the Albert Dock complex (which is what we did). Best bet is the Beatles Combo ticket (£15 each) which gets you the bus tour, and admission to both the Cavern Club during the evening and The Beatles Story.
About the latter: I'd visited The Beatles Story before 10 earlier, so I knew what to expect. But my 16-year-old son was expecting a proper museum with Beatles rarities - which it isn't - and so was a little let down. The Beatles Story is essentially an multimedia exhibition of "scenes" from Beatles history, with very little actual memorabilia. The souvenir store's selection was a bit disappointing and leaned toward the tacky side (though you can still get Stu Sutcliffe lithographs, as we did 10 years earlier).
The afternoon bus tour lasts two hours, and while you only get off four times to take pictures - George Harrison's boyhood home, Penny Lane, Strawberry Field and outside Paul McCartney's boyhood home at 20 Forthlin Road - you get a quick, easy overview of most notable Beatles sites in the city, including the outlying sites not reachable by foot from the city center. A plus for us was that we got Liverpool's best-known tour guide, Eddie Porter, whose well-honed comedy routines about local people and places with Les the driver added to the enjoyment, making up for the steady rain that was falling.
The bus tour winds up at the Cavern Club on Mathew Street, where your ticket will get you a Beatle freebie (a poster on the day we took it). Unfortunately, by the time you finish up, it's almost closing time for the stores in downtown Liverpool (most of which cease operations at 5 p.m.). We wandered through the Cavern Mecca shopping mall there, stopping to chat with Steve Barnes, the friendly operator of the From Me to You souvenir shop who offered to show us where the entrance to the original Cavern was. (The one there now is a recreation, only half of which is on the original site.) By the time we got to the other end of the street and the Beatles Shop, they were closing, so we had to come back the next day. (Don't miss this shop, which has the best selection of Beatles stuff in the city. Say hello to Stephen Bailey behind the counter. The Mathew Street Gallery, with Beatles art and photos on display, is just upstairs.) Nearby is the Eleanor Rigby bench statue and an Ann Summers lingerie shop where Brian Epstein's NEMS store used to be.
On the Cavern City bus, Les also will sell you Cavern City's handy Discover Beatle's Liverpool tour guide and pocket map (which includes locations from the filming of "Free As a Bird" and "Backbeat"). This is nice to have if you set out later on your own (as you should!) to do a walking tour of Beatles sites in the city center. We did this early the next morning, starting at the majestic Anglican Cathedral, where "Liverpool Oratorio" premiered in 1991. It's a good starting point because there are numerous sites within easy walking distance, including 3 Gambier Terrace (where John Lennon and Stu Sutcliffe lived for a while), the former art college and Liverpool Institute (now LIPA), Ye Cracke pub, John and Cynthia's first home, the former hospital where John was born (now student housing) and so on. If you tire of walking and want to take a taxi back to your hotel or to another location, the cost is reasonable and the taxi drivers generally very chatty and helpful.
You'll need a taxi or bus if you want to go back and visit any sites outside the city center on your own. We didn't, but Tony Maddalone says that on a recent visit to Ringo's former home at No. 10 Admiral Grove the current resident, a charming lady named Margaret, invited the group to come inside (in shifts) to sign her guest book. His group also visited St. Peter's Church in Woolton (near Mendips, Lennon's boyhood home) where Lennon and McCartney first met. The caretaker gave them some leftover posters from a previous fundraiser showing the plaque outside noting the famous meeting.
If you're looking for a nighttime spot to hear a band (besides the Cavern), Liverpudlians recommend the Jacaranda, formerly run by The Beatles' first manager, Allan Williams (and where the disputed Stu Sutcliffe murals, which some claim Lennon had a hand in, can be seen).
A must in Liverpool now is a visit to the former McCartney home at 20 Forthlin Road, restored to look much like it did in the 1950s and operated by the National Trust since July 1998. You have to book this in advance (£5.50 each), and here's a tip: If you book it directly through the National Trust office at historic Speke Hall (which is where you catch the tour), you have to get out to Speke Hall on your own, which means about an £11 taxi ride or trying to figure out which city bus to catch. If you book through the tourism office at Albert Dock, you can catch a free shuttle bus there - but only if you book through them. The problem is that when we called the tourism office in advance of our trip, they told us to call Speke Hall! I must say that we found the tourism office folks more than a bit vague about all this, and not very helpful in offering information on how to get out to Speke Hall. A bit much considering they were the ones who told us to book at Speke Hall in the first place!
You're supposed to show up at Speke Hall 15 minutes before your tour time, and while there I'd advise picking up the lovely 20 Forthlin Road guide book the National Trust has done (only £1.95, a real bargain). The shuttle minibus to Forthlin Road only takes about a dozen folks at a time (so that it's not too crowded). Caretaker John Halliday, who now lives there (in the parts of the house you don't see), is a gracious and informative host, and the nice thing is that unlike so many house museums, you can sit anywhere and feel free to touch things. The layout of the home - a classic post-war "council house" - felt strangely familiar to me until I realized later that it was very much like the home of my late uncle where we used to stay. It was particularly interesting to see how tiny Paul's front bedroom was (brother Mike had the bigger room). Mike's photos of the home during the time the family lived there are on the walls, and Paul, Mike and others reminisce about the home on the tape headsets you're provided. (Halliday says Paul still hasn't visited the inside of the restored home, though he's been outside. "I can't face it," Macca says in an interview on the "Live at the Cavern Club!" video.) You can't take pictures inside the home (Mike wants the copyright of his photos protected), but you can shoot all you want outside.
The National Trust shuttle bus driver advised us that since we weren't being returned to the tourism office that we'd do better to catch the regular city bus at the stop where the tour ends around the corner from the home (and where McCartney first met Harrison). All the buses that stop there go into the city center, he said, and it was only a 25-minute ride (which gave us another nice view of Penny Lane's business district with the barbershop, fire station, etc.).
Now, on to London, where the Original London Walks Beatles tours (£4 to £5 each) conducted by longtime Beatles guide Richard Porter are a must. The "In My Life" tour, starting at 11:20 a.m. Tuesdays and Saturdays from the Marylebone tube/train station hits some of the more offbeat Beatles sites, including film locations for "A Hard Day's Night" (the side street where the film's opening was shot was also where Apple Electronics and, later, the Apple film library were located!), the registry office where two Beatles were married, the flat owned by Ringo where John and Yoko were busted (and where Jimi Hendrix also stayed), Jane Asher's former family home (where McCartney lived for a while), the restaurant used in "Help!", the Apple boutique in Baker Street and then, by tube, to St. John's Wood for a short walk to Abbey Road Studios. (McCartney's home at No. 7 Cavendish Avenue isn't on the tour, which ends at Abbey Road, but it's a short walk just around the corner - though only one other tour participant besides us bothered to visit it. When the Beatles Pilgrimage Tour group was there a couple of weeks later, Macca was holding a party!)
Porter's "Magical Mystery Tour", starting at Tottenham Court Road Undeground station (Dominion Theatre exit) at 11 a.m. on Thursdays, 10:55 a.m. Sundays and 2 p.m. Wednesdays, covers the more traditional London Beatles sites in the Mayfair and Soho areas: MPL's headquarters in Soho Square (I was surprised no mention was made of the Radha Krishna Temple, where they were chanting as we walked by); the former Trident Sound where "Hey Jude" was recorded (now called the Sound Studio); the London Palladium where the films premiered; Apple's former headquarters at No. 3 Savile Row (where the rooftop concert took place); Mason's Yard, site of the former Indica Gallery (where John and Yoko met) and Scotch of St. James nightclubs, and again by tube out to Abbey Road.
Richard is full of interesting stories and really brings the Beatle days alive as you visit these sites. My only disappointment was that Apple's current headquarters at 27 Ovington Square wasn't on either tour.
A couple of other bits of Beatling we did in London: the HMV store at 360 Oxford Street, where one of the autographed "Yesterday" scores being auctioned off by Sir George Martin is on display, and the Hard Rock Cafe, which has acquired a former bank location across the side street from the restaurant and moved its souvenir store there. In the basement, in the former vault, the cafe is celebrating its 30th anniversary with an exhibition of some of its rarest bits of rock 'n' roll memorabilia, including one of B.B. King's Lucilles, the guitar Elvis used on his '68 comeback special, the first two guitars given to the Hard Rock (by Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend), Jimi Hendrix's Flying V, Duane Allman's Fender Strat, the army jacket Lennon wore at the One to One show, a brass tea set of Lennon's, some Lennon lyrics and a lot more. A guide takes a limited number of visitors down at a time (free of charge) and you can photograph and actually touch the memorabilia!
Needless to say, my son the classic rock fan was thrilled. A nice way to top off your visit.
William P. King
WHILE IN LIVERPOOL
A dining tip for visitors to the Cavern Club district: Around the corner from matthew Street at 40 Stanley Street is Casa italia, a wonderful Italian restaurant that my wife Leslie and I have dinedat on several visits to Liverpool, and where my son and I enjoyed two delicious meals on our most recent trip in June 2001. If you go there, try the pollo al forno. They make great focaccia and pizzas, too. Visitors to the Albert Dock, home of both one of the city's tourist offices, and the Beatles Story exhibition, might be tempted by the name to dine at Lucy's coffee shop. We did, and while the food was alright, the service was rude and indifferent . . . Many Beatles fans are familiar with the elegant old Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool, home of the annual August Beatles convention there. On our most recent visit, though, we stayed at the Thistle Hotel on Chapel Street, a very modern facility within short, easy walking distance of Albert Dock . . . Within walking distance of the Cavern district is the Secret Western Approaches Underground Headquarters from World War II. You can tour this in half an hour and it's a must for anyone interested in the war . . . In the heart of Liverpool near the Adelphi Hotel is St. John's Market, a pedestrian mall area full of all kinds of shops, including Virgin Megastore and HMV. --WPK
Liverpool's Walker Art Gallery is running "The Art of Paul McCartney," featuring more than 70 works of art by McCartney, through Aug. 4 . . . Liverpool's airport is now officially known as Liverpool John Lennon Airport and features a 7-foot bronze statue of Lennon by sculptor Tom Murphy. The statue was unveiled in March by Yoko Ono. Lennon's boyhood home at 251 Menlove Avenue has been bought by Ono and donated to the National Trust, which plans to open it as a house museum under the supervision of John Halliday, caretaker of the McCartney childhood home, already open to the public . . . A new exhibition dedicated to Lennon's musical roots has opened at the Albert Dock. "The Quarrymen and Skiffle: The U.K. Years" depicts the evolution of Lennon's first band through photographs and souvenirs from the 1950s. The exhibition runs until November.