“Hey, look! It’s Abbey Road! We should go check it out!” I said to my friends while pointing to the tube map in my hands.
That’s how it all started. I saw a stop on the DLR London Tube Map called “Abbey Road.” We were all the way in Belgravia area, by the Victoria Station, which was pretty far from the Abbey Road station, even on the tube.
But, I convinced my friends to come check it out with me. After all, I’m a huge Beatle’s fan, and how cool would it be to see the real Abbey Road Studios, where the Beatles recorded the legendary album? And to take a (super touristy) picture on that same corner of the road??
Besides, it wouldn’t be that hard, right? We could just take the tube to the station and check it out. WRONG.
Basically, here’s how it went down. We had just spent the last hour or so in the famous Harrod’s store in London. Checkin’ out things we couldn’t afford, buyin’ masks to do silly things with (see here).
But we had some time to kill before we had to start getting ready to go see Wicked in the West End.
So, after we left Harrod’s we decided on a whim to go check out the famous Abbey Road, per my suggestion. It was late, we were tired, but we figured it wouldn’t be too difficult. We headed on the tube and had to switch a few times before we eventually made it on the DLR line to Abbey Road. The journey took over half an hour, but it was still daylight when we finally made it.
Stepping out of the tube station, we were greeted with a pretty unimpressive scene. It was a bleak residential area. Not horrible, but it just didn’t look like a popular tourist spot. No one was around, either, which I thought was weird considering how famous Abbey Road is. And, there were no signs directing people, Beatles fans, to where the famous music studio or intersection was.
These were early hints that we were, in fact, in the wrong place. But, we still hadn’t really come to terms with it. Because after all, we HAD to be in the right place! This was the “Abbey Road” tube station stop for crying out loud!
So, we saw a local woman passing on foot. We approached her and asked where Abbey Road studios was, and where we could find the famous intersection. And, I kid you not, she had no idea what we were talking about! We had to specify, “You know, like the Beatles’s Abbey Road?” And she said, I KID YOU NOT, “Ohhhhh ok. Well, um, I think it may be in Liverpool?”
No, woman. I am an American who wasn’t even alive at the time of the Beatles, and even I know that the Abbey Road studio is, in fact, in London.
So, defeated, we finally accepted the fact that somehow, the tube station named ABBEY ROAD does NOT in fact bring you to the famous ABBEY ROAD. We snapped a typical “Abbey Road” picture before we returned home, hoping to give it another try and find it the next day.
The next day, after a day full of London fun, we were ready to rock and roll. The night before, I actually did some research on how exactly one gets to the famed Abbey Road. Turns out, doing a little research can prove quite helpful. Which is why I usually do research!
Well, as it turns out, Abbey Road is not actually at the Abbey Road tube stop. It’s actually at St. John’s Wood, on the Jubilee line, on the other side of the city. How sly of you, London.
We finally made it to St. John’s Wood, and it was exactly how I imagined it to be. It was beautiful area and right when you stepped out of the tube station, there were Beatles-themed shops, of course.
We headed toward the famous intersection, and passed the actual Abbey Road Studios on the way!
When we finally got to the photo op spot, it was packed with people, as expected. What I wasn’t expecting, though, was that that famous corner would still be a pretty busy throughway for cars. I mean, I know it’s a road, but I guess I had never thought about it. Or maybe I assumed there would be a light there? Or they would have it blocked off? I don’t know, I just never expected SO many cars to be driving by and almost killing tourists. Even though SO many tourists would recreate the Beatles’s famous album cover and take a picture crossing the street, cars would not slow down at all if people were in the road. But I guess I don’t blame them, I’m sure having people constantly crossing the street would get super annoying after a while.
But it was actually so entertaining to see people attempt to get their photo. They would have a designated photographer. Then, they would wait for a break in the cars and quickly run in the street and fake walk to get the picture. Then, they would run off the road squealing as oncoming cars came. But after watching and laughing at other people attempting to get the photo, it was our turn.
Well, the same thing happened to us. We finally got our super-touristy-yet-I’m-still-pretty-pumped-about-it-photo, and almost got run over by oncoming traffic! What fun!!!!
So, just thought I’d end this week with a little humor and recount what I’ve semi-affectionately called the “Abbey Road Fail.”
I would love to hear about anyone else’s travel mishaps!