Liverpool audio tour: Woolton’s Historical Highlights, from St Peter’s Church to the Elephant Pub

Woolton’s Historical Highlights, from St Peter’s Church to the Elephant Pub

Walking Tour

75 mins

About the Tour

Trace the ancient Iron Age origins of Woolton, fondly considered a picture-perfect English village by locals, and discover the role it played in the birth of the legendary band, The Beatles. You’ll find out about the real Eleanor Rigby and whether or not she inspired The Beatles’ hit song of the same name. You’ll also have the opportunity to admire St Peter’s Church, and hear how Marie Curie Hospice is connected to one of Woolton’s two famous elephants!

Along the way, I’ll show you how the Irish potato famine shaped the village. And, with the help of my parents, life-long residents Eileen and Jacky, we’ll reveal the complicated socio-political undercurrents that lie beneath the quiet, picturesque streets. They’ll share their early memories of the village and tell you how catholics, angelicans, methodists and other religions coexist here, despite their differences.

On this tour, you can look forward to hearing about:

• How the Iron Age settlement, Camp Hill, led to the establishment of Woolton
• The quarries and the Victorian slums that were hidden from tourists in order to preserve the image of a picture-perfect English village
• The Woolton Picture House, Liverpool’s oldest cinema
• John Lennon’s first encounter with Paul McCartney
• What happened when a charity stunt inspired by the Elephant Pub went wrong
• The Quarrymen, a band whose members once included John Lennon and Paul McCartney, which used to play at the Village Club
• How the village was mobbed by thousands of fans when Cilla Black married ‘her Bobby’ at St Mary’s Church
• The many iterations of Woolton Hall

With a mixture of history and social stories, we’ll bring Woolton to life and, by the end of the tour, you too will hopefully love and know the village as well as any local.

Tour Producer


Richard Smith-Gore

I have been a manager of museums and historic houses for over 20 years. Tour guiding is a passion of mine as I love story telling and sharing history with others. Royal Arsenal Tours was set up after the closure of The Royal Artillery Museum in Woolwich to continue to be able to tell the stories of the area. I particularly love military, social, and industrial history. We currently run live tours of the history of Royal Arsenal plus Ghost Tours and Women's History Tours.

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Major Landmarks

  • The Woolton Cross

  • The Liverpool Cheese Company

  • St James's Church & Hall

  • St Mary's Church

  • The Mechanics Institute

  • St Mary's Catholic Primary School

  • Woolton Quarries

  • The Old Police Station & Court Rooms

  • St Peter's Church

  • Woolton Picture House

  • The Elephant Pub

  • Lodes Pond

  • The Village Club

  • Woolton Baths

  • United Reform Church

  • Woolton Woods & Camp Hill

  • Woolton Old School

  • Woolton Hall

  • Marie Curie Hospice

Directions to Starting Point

Free Parking on Hight Street B5171
Various buses stop at the village from the city No's 75, 79, 86A or 82
Nearest train station is Hunts Cross but is a 15 minute bus ride into the village

The starting point is the Woolton Cross at the junction of Kings Drive and Woolton Street

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Places to stop along the way

There are a number of great pubs on the route including The Elephant, The Grapes and The Coffee House (a pub).
Various coffee shops, cafes and restaurants are in the village.
Three of the churches are still active and well worth a visit inside if they are open.
After St Mary's School there is a playground if you have children with you.

Best time of day

The best times are between 9am and 4pm when the walled garden is open plus the Liverpool Cheese Company shop to grab some delicious treats. Evenings are not recomended as the woods do not have lighting. Second Saturday's each month are market day and the tour is directed through where it takes place so a great addition.


The tour does cross roads and a dual carriageway so keep aware. The village is on a very steep hill so wear sensible shoes and be aware there are steps and uneven surfaces on the route.The tour is not suitable for wheelchair users for the reasons above.
There are benches and sandstone walls around the village to take a breath, as I have said, the Village is built on a steep hill.


Preview mode limited to first 3 locations.
Woolton’s Historical Highlights, from St Peter’s Church to the Elephant Pub