Strawberry Field, the gated gardens close to John Lennon's childhood home in Liverpool, has been opened to the public, fifty years after it gave its name to the hit Beatles B-side.

A childhood haunt for young Lennon, the place is thought to be the inspiration behind the 1967 recording 'Strawberry Fields Forever' .

This weekend the strawberry-red gates of the Salvation Army gardens in Woolton opened up to visiting Beatles fans.

Also open is a new visitor centre, café and exhibition into the early life of one of Liverpool's most famous sons, John Lennon.

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As a child, the young musician reportedly used to jump the wall to find escape. The song title attracts almost 60,000 pilgrims to the site each year. However until now fans have had to stay behind the red gates. On the posts "Strawberry Field" (which was changed to "fields" in the song ) is painted, along with 52 years of chalked graffiti from fans making their own Lennon-inspired trip.

Graffiti on Strawberry Field(s) 4 eva. Photo / Flickr.com
Graffiti on Strawberry Field(s) 4 eva. Photo / Flickr.com

Before this weekend there has been no official recognition of the site's influence over the musician.

Julia Baird, Lennon's sister told the BBC that it was John's "special place" that they used to visit as children.

I'm the Walrus: Graffiti on the garden gates. Photo / Flickr.com
I'm the Walrus: Graffiti on the garden gates. Photo / Flickr.com

"As children we all have somewhere that's a bit ours, a bit special." When asked about what her brother would make of the new visitor centre: "I think he would have loved it, because he himself was not mainstream and was very aware of it."

Mystery tourbus: The gates drew around 60,000 visitors a year, even before they opened. Photo / Flickr.com
Mystery tourbus: The gates drew around 60,000 visitors a year, even before they opened. Photo / Flickr.com

"John Lennon found sanctuary here as a child and that's exactly what we want to offer by opening the Strawberry Field gates for good," said Anthony Cotterill Commissioner of the Salvation Army.

The interactive exhibition that shows both the history of Lennon, the Beatles and the Salvation army is now open, adults $26, concessions $16, family of 3+2 $69

Roll up: The Beatles, a magical history tour

Penny Lane

Named on the A-side of Strawberry Fields record, Penny Lane is the childhood street on which Beatles Lennon and McCartney met to catch the bus into town.

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In Penny Lane . . . Photo / Flickr.com
In Penny Lane . . . Photo / Flickr.com

Abbey Road crossing

There's perpetually people lined up to recreate the photo of the Fab Four walking over the zebra crossing to the Abbey Road recording studios.

The photo appeared on the cover of the 11th album 'Abbey Road'

Tourists on the Abbey Road crossing. Photo / File
Tourists on the Abbey Road crossing. Photo / File

Eleanor Rigby's Grave

St Peter's Church in Woolton in Woolton is famously where Lennon met McCartney playing in a local fete band.

The graveyard of St Peter's Church also contains a famous headstone which inspired the 1966 song 'Eleanor Rigby'.

The Cavern Club
Liverpool's cavern claims to be "the most famous club in the world" where the mop-haired quartet first played their breakout gigs.
The Cavern coordinates 'International Beatleweek'. (The last weekend in August, in case you were wondering.)

The Cavern Club, Liverpool. Photo / Flickr.com
The Cavern Club, Liverpool. Photo / Flickr.com

Kaiserkeller and Indra Club, Hamburg

John Lennon once quipped that he was born in Liverpool, but 'grew up in Hamburg.'

The German city where the band found their sound has even named a square 'Beatles-Platz' in their honour. There are many options for guided Beatles tours through the bars and clubs from the band's early days.

Beatles Platz, Hamburg. Photo / Flickr.com
Beatles Platz, Hamburg. Photo / Flickr.com