London Drum

Abbey Road – The Beatles studio & zebra crossing

Where? Abbey Road, St. John’s Wood Time required? A typical visit is 15 mins Parking: Nearby car parks Buses: 139, 189 Bus fares Trains: The closest station is St. John’s Wood Jubilee Train fares

Craig’s review… Abbey Road is a great place to watch some tourists getting shouted at by the London cabbies, because you’ll witness more beeping horns and furious hand gestures around here than anywhere in London. The Beatles famously sang that all you need is love but come rush hour all of that is forgotten because they’ve inadvert­ently turned it into a battle­ground of buses, bikes and Beatles fans.

The Beatles’ zebra crossing

It’s amazing how many people are hanging around this little zebra crossing. There are a couple of benches on the corner of Grove End Road and tourists are sitting on the arms chatting happily and wondering where everybody’s from. How far have you come? Who’s your favourite Beatle? (Paul, Paul, Paul and a few Ringos.) Beatles fans are generally quite a friendly lot. You wouldn’t get this camaraderie with the Stones.

Okay, here we go… here come the first lot… four giggling girls have patiently waited for a lull in the traffic and are now goose-stepping across the road with arms and legs at forty-five degrees. When they get to the middle they pause in a frozen pose while their buddy on the pavement (who seems to have a mild panic on) fiddles with his camera trying to get it to work. He can’t do it. It’s too much pressure. This is when the road rage takes place. The cars start bucking and agitating like angry broncos, impatient to get away, and the drivers’ hands start hovering around their horns ready to deliver a quick blast of trumpet if they don’t start moving quick.

Take the photo! Take the damn photo! Hurry up buddy because your friends are holding up the traffic and they’re going to get run over in a minute. Oh for chrissakes this guy is totally useless and now they’re going to have to start all over again. Next contestants… it’s an elderly American couple this time (they must be in their sixties). They’re too old for selfies and they just want say they’ve done it. It’s like a pilgrimage to them, like seeing the Jungle Room at Graceland.

Next lot… this group really mean business and it’s obvious that their entire holiday has been building up to this moment. They have their walking line-up pre-arranged and their buddy is standing on the concrete obelisk in the centre of the road, giving them the thumbs up (that’s where everybody stands to take a photo). Deep breaths. Off they go… step step step, like a military march. One of them is acting like a cox at the back, shouting out the strides so they can keep in time: left-right-left-right. This is more like it! I hope all the other tourists are watching this, because this is the level of expertise we expect from now on.

Abbey Road recording studios

Once you’ve had your photo taken on the zebra crossing remember to walk a few doors down to Abbey Road Studios. It’s a big white building behind the white wall and railing. You can’t miss it because the walls are covered in Beatles graffiti. Unfortunately they whitewash it every three months or so, so if you scrawl your name on top then you’ll have to come back next year and replace it.

Worth a visit? Value for money? n/aGood for kids? Easy to get to?

I also recommend… If you enjoy this then try Carnaby Street (travel from St Johns Wood to Oxford Circus via tube). If you’re a Beatles fan then you might also like to visit their old Apple office at No.3 Savile Row where they played their final concert on the roof. Or how about going to Madame Tussauds and having your photo taken with their waxworks?

London Squire bookThe owns and has spent the last decade reviewing the capital’s landmarks, attractions and hotels. His guidebook is available from Amazon

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Your comments and questions

Susie P As a life long Beatles fan I felt that I knew the Abbey Road cover like the back of my hand, but when I got there I actually walked past it, not realising that it was the actual crossing! It really is on a busy corner of the road, whereas the cover makes it look almost like a leafy residential road. But once I had recovered my senses I did what I came for - walking across! There were two more people waiting to march as well and we all helped to take photographs of each other which was nice. Beatles fans are wonderful!

Fiona How do I get from Paddington station to Abbey road. Many thanks

Craig St John's Wood is the closest stop, but it's probably easier to go two stops on the Bakerloo line from Paddington to Maida Vale, and then walk up Abercorn Place. If you're feeling really energetic (it's quite a long walk from Paddington) then you could head north towards the flyover, walk up Warwick Avenue and Maida Avenue (maybe have a look around Little Venice) and then up Maida Vale, turning right into Hall Road

PJ What is so special about the Beatles crossing at Abbey Road? Isn't it just a normal road crossing?

Craig There's nothing special about the zebra crossing itself, but if you're a Beatles fan then you can walk in their footsteps and recreate the album cover

Peter When I visited the crossing in the 1990s (I'm a big Beatles fan) one of the people there told me that the road crossing has moved so it's no longer in the same position it was when John, Paul, George and Ringo walked over it.

Craig I've heard the same thing but I'm pretty sure it's just a popular myth. People say they moved it 100 metres closer to Grove End Road, and whilst the look of the stripes has definitely changed a few times when they've repainted it, and the zig-zag lines either side of it, the crossing itself is still in the same position

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