St. Peter’s Church in Woolton, Liverpool, is more than an example of Gothic Revival architecture—it is also a significant site in musical history, as it was here in 1957 that John Lennon first met Paul McCartney. Also here are the graves of Eleanor Rigby, John Lennon’s Uncle George, and Bob Paisley, the renowned Liverpool FC manager.
Many tours offer a visit of the National Heritage–listed St. Peter’s as part of a Beatles-focused itinerary, with transportation options ranging from taxi to bike. Whether with a group or visiting independently, notice the church’s red sandstone exterior—one of Liverpool’s largest—and the 90-foot (27.5-meter) bell tower that offers regional vistas. Then explore the interior that was familiar to John’s Aunt Mimi, an active member of the congregation, or take a stroll in the graveyard and look out for recognizable names as you gain insight into the band’s humble beginnings.
Things to Know Before You Go
- St. Peter’s Church is a must-see for Beatles enthusiasts and those interested in Liverpool’s social history.
- Tours that offer a comprehensive Beatles itinerary and include St. Peter’s can save you the time and hassle of negotiating public transportation.
- An umbrella is useful during England’s rainy months, especially if you plan to explore the graveyard.
- The church is accessible to wheelchair users. Access to the building is at the rear, and there are wheelchair-accessible churchyard paths and restrooms.
How to Get There
St. Peter’s Church is in Woolton, a suburb of Liverpool. Many Beatles tours offer round-trip transportation from central Liverpool. Alternatively, you can take a train to Hunts Cross from Liverpool Central railway station, then change to the 81, 81A, or 89 bus; or catch the 75 or 76 bus directly from the center to Church Road South. Free parking is available on nearby High Street.
When to Get There
St. Peter’s Church is open daily to visitors year-round, but as with most English attractions, spring and summer bring nicer weather—though autumn and winter have their charms too. Services run on Thursday and Sunday; visitors are welcome to attend, but sightseeing is best kept out of these hours.
As proud Liverpudlians, the Beatles’ songwriting was often inspired by their childhood experiences. McCartney himself explained that while the Eleanor Rigby of the song was fictitious, he likely recalled her name from passing by her grave regularly as a boy. There’s no doubt, however, that Lennon’s memories of the nearby Strawberry Field children’s home inspired “Strawberry Fields Forever.” Similarly, “Penny Lane” references the synonymous street. These and other Fab Four–related sights can be visited on a Beatles tour of the city.