ABBEY ROAD ULTIMATE GUIDE
Open: Everyday: Open 24 hours
Time Needed: 1,5 hours
Abbey road was originally nothing more than a thoroughfare along Northwest London that most people used just to reach the Lord’s Cricket Ground. However, in 1969, when one of Britain’s most famous rock bands The Beatles shot one of their album artworks there, the place became a significant symbol/monument. Now, people from all over the world stop by this location to take pictures of themselves imitating the famous artwork where the four band members are walking straight across the crossing, one of them (Paul) barefoot.
Just ahead of the crossing, is the famous Abbey Road studios where the Beatles recorded most of the music they created from 1962 to 1970 at. In addition, The Beatles named the last album they ever recorded after the road in front of their studio, Abbey Roads, hence the artwork they took at the same location. Taking this into appreciation, initially named EMI studios, the studio changed its name to Abbey Road studios that has now become the landmark for producing so many legendary music by artists such as Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga and so on.
The highlight of Abbey Road is definitely the famous crossing. There are many stories that circulate behind this artwork as does anything involving The Beatles does. However, there is one interesting story that explains how the artwork articulates how The Beatles were close to breaking up. According to that story, even in the process of recording The Beatles could not stand each other’s presence that they simply decided to name the album after their recording studio and take the photo for the artwork in the road in front of the studio.
The accuracy of this story is still unknown but when you reach Abbey Road, you feel the spirit of the Beatles still alive in the spot. Afterall, the Beatles were not just a rock band that produced music. They were an iconic figure of the century, leaving their marks on changing the definition of music itself not to mention also fashion, politics and society. Why not step into the shoes of your own favorite Beatles member for a day by standing along his part in the Abbey Road?
Besides getting your photo taken at the crossing, there is also an Abbey Road shop right next to the studio where fans can find souvenirs that can only be purchased there. Products sold here are not only Beatles related but are products that allow you to take a look through the many musicians that took role in creating the legacy that Abbey Road Studio entitles today.
Near Abbey Road, there is a live webcam where friends and families can actually see you crossing the famous Beatles road if you let them know beforehand when you will be there. You can go to the site as well, after you cross the road and relive your own experience. Link:
At the exit of St. John’s Wood Station, there is a Beatles Coffee shop that welcomes you into the Beatles’ world created around the area. Here, besides being able to buy Beatles’ merchandise, you can also take a break from your long travels with a nice cup of coffee and just relax.
3 Abbey Rd, London NW8 9AY, United Kingdom (See map).
The nearest underground station to Abbey Road is St John’s Wood station along the Jubilee line. Cross the main road in front of the station and take a 5 minute walk along Grove End Road. Then, you will find the road leading to a junction with Abbey Road. On your right, you will immediately find a familiar crossing where the Beatles shot their album artwork.
If you want to travel by bus, take bus numbers 13, 82 and 113 which will take you to St John’s Wood Station. From there, follow the same directions written above.
When you’re visiting Abbey Road, do try to go in the mornings when there are less people and mobile cars. Don’t forget, it is just a side walk but it is “The Beatles’ sidewalk.” For Beatles fans, this is definitely the holy land. In the afternoon, the place will be filled with tourists and fans all aiming for the same shot. On the other hand, we cannot forget that this is a road still in use.
Nothing is worse than getting ‘your moment’ photobombed by an unfamiliar truck or getting scolded at by impatient drivers. This is why I repeatedly stress to go in the mornings!
If you are looking for more London sightseeing you can see the list of tours available today here.