How to get to Abbey Road Crossing in London
This is a how to post for reaching the famous Abbey Road Crossing in London associated with the Beatles. Probably the most famous road crossing in the world, Abbey Road was brought to popular attention when it became the location for the shooting of the cover of The Beatles last album: Abbey Road. For many visitors to London, Abbey road is a must-see and recreating the famous photograph of Paul, George, John and Ringo has been a popular exercise for decades.
NOTE: You may be interested in taking our (pay-what-you-wish) London Rock N Roll Tour, which includes many Beatles’ sites in the city. Mondays and Thursdays at 14:00 (2 pm).
Originally, Abbey Road was simply another thoroughfare through Northwest London and was primarily used by visitors heading toward Lord’s Cricket Ground. But in 1969, Abbey Road was changed forever when a photograph of the Beatles crossing the road (since it just so happened to be outside the studio where the album was recorded) was used as the cover for their album of the same name.
Be sure to check out our free London walking tours when visiting the city.
Beatles Tours in London
There are several ways to see sites in London associated with the Beatles. Here are three ways:
- Guided and Self-Guided Bus and Walking Tours of The Beatles’ London — A half-day tour that will take you across London to see places like Apple Record Headquarters, where the Beatles performed live for the last time, and the London Pavilion, where 4 of their 5 films premiered.
- You may be interested in taking our (pay-what-you-wish) London Rock N Roll Tour, which includes many Beatles’ sites in the city. Mondays and Thursdays at 14:00 (2 pm). Our tour video is below.
The nearest Underground Station to Abbey Road is St. John’s Wood. There is only one exit at this station. When you exit the station, you will be on the northeast corner of Finchley Road and Grove End Road. Head west on Grove End Road for approximately 500 meters and make a right turn onto Abbey Road. The Studios – and the crossing – are right there. Use this Google Map for directions to the Abbey Road crosswalk. You could also take the 139 and 189 buses. There are also daily guided bus tours that stop at the Abbey Road Crosswalk.
The zebra crossing at Abbey Road is watched by 24-hour cameras which live-stream their feed on this website: http://www.abbeyroad.com/crossing. Google has also produced a virtual tour of the crosswalk and Apple Studios.
TIP: If you are a big time Beatles fan, you might be interested in the Beatles Walking Tour. Beatles fans who have the London Pass get a free goodies bag with any £5 or more purchase at the Beatles Store.
The crossing depicted on the album cover is what’s known as a zebra crossing -a pedestrian crossing known by its’ distinguishing pattern of dark and light stripes on the road that typically gives rights of way to pedestrians over traffic (making it easier for those who want to recreate the fab-four album cover!). The crossing here became so well known, and such a tourist driven hot-spot that in 2010 the stretch of Abbey Road here was given Grade II Listed Building status by English Heritage. This means the zebra crossing here now has legal protection as a site of historical importance and cannot be torn apart. Unusually, the zebra crossing is re-painted every three months to keep it in good shape for the millions of photographs that are taken here every year!
The road sign for Abbey Road was traditionally positioned at the usual height and location – within the public’s grasp. This meant that the sign was repeatedly defaced and removed throughout the decades. Today the sign is deliberately positioned higher than normal to prevent this. However, the front gate that surrounds the Abbey Road studios is still covered in graffiti left by visitors from around the world, looking to leave a footprint of their visit to this world-known recording location.
Today, the music studio where the Beatles recorded that album is synonymous with not just the Beatles themselves, but with multiple music legends that have recorded at the Abbey Road Studios, owned by EMI and based at No. 3 Abbey Road. The list of those who have recorded there is quite expansive, so here is a small list of some of the better-known names who have graced the Studios over the years: Michael Jackson, Pink Floyd, James Blunt, Queen, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, U2, Stevie Wonder, Ella Fitzgerald, Mary J. Blidge, Duran Duran, Oasis, Kylie Minogue, and Green Day.