I’ve mentioned before how London is one of my favourite cities on the planet. It’s the buzz of it, the thousands of different districts, the pubs by every tube station, the 12 league football teams. It’s a great city and one I once lived and worked in. These days however, I pass through the English capital a few times a year on my jaunts. Each and every time I explore a new part and get inspired yet again. On my recent stint in London, I toured some areas that are famous due to TV and Music, which included the former Republic of Frestonia where the Clash recorded one of their albums.
However, one major tourist attraction here is Abbey Road. It’s basically just a street in a residential area. But it was on this street back in the late 60s that the Beatles recorded their famous album Abbey Road. An album which by no mean coincidence features the four band members nonchalantly walking across a Pelican Crossing on Abbey Road itself. Beatles LPs on my 12 inch Walkman, my Oyster Card in hand and off I went to visit Abbey Road.
How to Get to Abbey Road in London
London’s transport network is huge, reliable and diverse. I used to love living in London – no matter what happens on the roads and tracks, there are always alternative ways to get to places. Buses and the Tube are the main ones I use. There is also the option of driving, using a taxi (don’t do it kids) and the overground train system. For Abbey Road, I suggest keeping it simply and using the good old tube.
Get yourself onto the Jubilee Line (it’s the grey one) which has stops at Waterloo, Westminster and Bond Street to name a few. Head northbound from any of those to St. John’s Wood Station.
When you exit St. John’s Wood Station you will see a Beatles Cafe (pictured above) on the left hand side. Head straight out of the tube station and onto the main road opposite the crossroads. The road is called Grove End Road.
Head straight along that road away from the tube station. There is a hospital on the left hand side after about 100 metres and the cricket grounds Lords is also nearby. After about 5-7 minutes depending on your speed, you will reach a junction with a monument on a corner and a road to your right and a road to your left. This road on the right hand side is Abbey Road, just to confuse you I took the following photo when I crossed the road, so Abbey Road is to the left of the photo below.
The monument incidentally is a memorial to Edward Onslow Ford, a local sculptor – the monument is ignored by most tourists only here for the main event!
Straight in front of you you will see the Pelican Crossing and opposite will be the Abbey Road Studios.
Six Things to Do on Abbey Road
Normally Abbey Road Studios is not open to the General Public, but hey if you work in the music industry or know someone you might be able to get inside! When I worked in the world of PR I did some work for Apple Inc. and managed to get an invite to an iTunes gig at another cool venue, Air Studios from the band The Feeling.
1. Graffiti the Wall
You will notice the wall outside Abbey Road Studios is heavily grafittied. Apparently the council have to keep painting it white to take away the graffiti. But people keep doing it, so join the club.
2. Cross the Pelican
Walk across the famous Pelican Crossing from the front cover of the Abbey Road album, which was apparently the last album the Beatles ever recorded, although Let It Be was released after it. Some people cross the road naked, for once I didn’t. There’s also a webcam apparently which is live so you can look back and see your own crossing, a fact which some of my Facebook followers alerted me to.
3. Selfie at Abbey Road Studios
OK so you probably won’t get inside the studios, but you can still look inside and of course take a selfie at the entrance.
4. Autograph Hunt
McCartney and Starr are not about to make an impromptu appearance, however famous bands do record here all the time, most recently Oasis and Kylie Minogue. So hang around if you want to get an autograph. The Red Hot Chili Peppers crossed the road naked for a cover shoot a few years back.
5. Play Music
You need a licence in England to busk and have to busk in a specific area, but generally a lot of the tourists that visit Abbey Road are big time into music and you can see crowds gather with ghetto blasters (or modern day iPod equivalents) and pump out Octopuses Garden on a sunny afternoon.
6. Steal the Abbey Road Sign
Don’t do this please. I’m not recommending it, but it is the most stolen road sign in the UK!
So get yourself to Abbey Road on the Beatles pilgrimage when you are in London. The best band of all time, and you can cross the same road as them. I have a ton of Beatles memories and adventures from my travels which I have never written about so hopefully will get round to it sometime. You might remember I sang in the Beatles Bar in Malaysia back in 2009. I also visited the John Lennon Wall in Prague, the John Lennon Statue in San Jose, Costa Rica, the Beatles Museum and Cavern Club in Liverpool and partied at Strawberry Fields in NYC on Ringo Starr’s birthday back in 2007. Plus a few more Beatles memories from my jaunts across the universe.
It was just another day in the life of a traveller and a Paperback Writer. Yesterday won’t be around forever and tomorrow never knows what will happen so come together and you can twist and shout on Abbey Road.
Here is a video from my quick visit to Abbey Road: