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July 30 or 31, 1967

John Lennon and Paul McCartney travel from Greece to England

Last updated on May 10, 2024


  • Location: Heathrow Airport, London, UK


The Beatles in search of a Greek island

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On July 22, 1967, The Beatles and their entourage arrived in Greece with the intention of exploring a group of Greek islands they were interested in purchasing to live on. The remaining group members, George and Pattie Harrison, Ringo Starr and Neil Aspinall, had already travelled to Greece two days before.

Ringo Starr and Neil Aspinall left four days later, without seeing the islands. The remaining Beatles, along with their families, visited the islands on July 26 and fell in love with the place. Alistair Taylor was asked to proceed with the purchase, upon his return to London.

George Harrison, his wife Pattie and Mal Evans left on July 29. And on July 30 or July 31, Paul McCartney and Jane Asher, John, Cynthia, and Julian Lennon, Alexis “Magic Alex” Mardas and Pattie Harrison’s sister Paula Boyd flew from Athens to London, concluding their ten-day holiday in Greece.

Back in London, the project led to many administrative complexities, causing The Beatles to become tired of it. To proceed with the purchase, they had to buy “premium dollars” from the English government. They got permission to use £95,000 for their project, which was enough for buying the islands, but not enough for the envisioned construction work. The £95,000 worth of dollars was sold back to the government, and the value had risen, giving The Beatles a profit of £11,400 on the unrealised deal.

It came to nothing. We didn’t buy an island, we came home. We were great at going on holiday with big ideas, but we never carried them out. We were also going to buy a village in England – one with rows of houses on four sides and a village green in the middle. We were going to have a side each.

Ringo Starr – From “The Beatles Anthology” book, 2000

The Beatles loved the islands that Magic Alex picked out for them, and I tried to make the arrangements to purchase them in London. Bryce-Hamner was instructed to purchase the necessary “premium dollars” from the English government to buy foreign property. The Beatles applied for £95,000, on which they had to pay a 25 percent premium per pound. The Beatles’ accountant prepared an analysis that showed the Beatles had only £137,000 in cash to spend and that purchasing the islands would be disastrous to their finances. But the Beatles persisted, and arrangements for the purchase were made directly with James Callahan, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. In a letter Callahan sent to the Beatles, he pointed out that £95,000 was the absolute limit to the amount of pounds he would allow to flow outside of the country. He added at the bottom of the letter, in his own hand, “But not a penny more… I wonder how you’re going to furnish it?” The islands finally turned into so much of a hassle, like everything else they wanted to do, they quickly tired of the problems and sold the property dollars back to the government at the new going rate of 37 percent, making a handsome profit of £11,400 in the process.

Peter Brown – From “The Love You Make: An Insider’s Story of the Beatles“, 2002

When we got back to London, we discovered that while the Government would allow us to spend the £90,000 they would not sanction the extra expense necessary to build homes and the planned recording studio. We got a letter signed by James Callaghan detailing this great concession in view of the boys’ services to exports and the recording industry. I’m sure that Brian could have diverted money that was already held abroad. But Brian was rather straight about things like that and he firmly refused to break even the spirit of the law, let alone the letter. The Beatles battled on for weeks and I was endlessly occupied by the project. We got lawyers’ opinions, drafted appeals, and tried to recruit support for the purchase. Then Neil came to me with the news that the Beatles were fed up with all the aggro associated with the island and wanted to forget the whole thing.

Alistair Taylor – From “With the Beatles: A Stunning Insight by The Man who was with the Band Every Step of the Way“, 2011

It was about the only time The Beatles ever made any money on a business venture. To make the purchase, we’d changed the money into international dollars or some currency. Then, when they changed the money back, the exchange rate had gone up and so we made about twenty shillings or so.

George Harrison – From “The Beatles Anthology” book, 2000

The Beatles’ Travels in Greece and the Dream to Buy an Island

[…] The timing of the negotiations over the sale is another significant factor. The archive correspondence indicates that the Beatles’ initial application for permission was not made until July 25th, when the Beatles were already in Greece, and officials were not informed that the plans had fallen through until the end of October 1967. A note on October 30th from a Bank of England official says that while negotiations did proceed, the group was “advised of certain legal difficulties and of additional sums required” and therefore decided “not to go ahead with the purchase.” […]

Jonathan Knott – From The Beatles’ Travels in Greece and the Dream to Buy an Island – GreekReporter.com

From Meet the Beatles for Real: Returning from Greece
From John and Paul Return from Greece – The Beatles History (beatles-chronology.ru)
From John and Paul Return from Greece – The Beatles History (beatles-chronology.ru)
From John and Paul Return from Greece – The Beatles History (beatles-chronology.ru)
From John and Paul Return from Greece – The Beatles History (beatles-chronology.ru)
From John and Paul Return from Greece – The Beatles History (beatles-chronology.ru)
From John and Paul Return from Greece – The Beatles History (beatles-chronology.ru)
From John and Paul Return from Greece – The Beatles History (beatles-chronology.ru)
From John and Paul Return from Greece – The Beatles History (beatles-chronology.ru)


Paul McCartney, of the Beatles pop group, said yesterday that Miss Bacon, Minister of State. Home Office, was misinformed when she quoted him last week during a Parliamentary attack on drug taking by young people.

McCartney, who returned to London yesterday from a holiday in Greece, said: “I’m always being misquoted. I never really said anything as controversial as it sounded.

Commenting on the outcome of the appeal by Rolling Stones Mick Jagger and Keith Richard, McCartney said: “I’m always pleased about the idea of people not going to gaol.

From The Daily Telegraph – August 1, 1967
From The Daily Telegraph – August 1, 1967


Beatle Paul McCartney and Jane Asher are seen with Julian Lennon, four-year-old son of Beatle John Lennon, on their arrival at London Airport from Athens yesterday, where they had been on holiday.

Asked about the speech by Miss Alice Bacon, Minister of State at the Home Office, on pop stars and drug-taking, McCartney commented: “It was OK. — What can you say about it? I think she was misinformed. They are always trying to put the younger generation down,” he added. “I still don’t feel that anyone really understands it.

Commenting on the outcome of the appeal of Rolling Stones Mick Jagger and Keith Richard, he said: “I am always pleased about the idea of people not going to gaol.

From Liverpool Daily Post – August 1, 1967
From Liverpool Daily Post – August 1, 1967

HOME! from their Greek holiday on Monday came JOHN LENNON, PAUL McCARTNEY and his girl friend, actress JANE ASHER – all looking very relaxed, to be greeted by the happy news of Mick and Keith.

From New Musical Express – August 5, 1967
From New Musical Express – August 5, 1967

[…] We came home to London in two relays. George and Pattie wanted to go a little early — to pack again and leave for California — so Mal flew home with them on the following Sunday.

Then on Monday Paul, Jane, John, Cyn, Julian, Paula and Alexis headed for London. Alexis just about had time to pack a fresh set of clothes in time to leave for Los Angeles on the Tuesday with George, Pattie and Neil !

There’s no room here to tell you about the Harrison holiday in Hollywood so that will have to wait till next month.

From The Beatles Monthly Book, September 1967
From The Beatles Monthly Book, September 1967

Going further

The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years

"With greatly expanded text, this is the most revealing and frank personal 30-year chronicle of the group ever written. Insider Barry Miles covers the Beatles story from childhood to the break-up of the group."

We owe a lot to Barry Miles for the creation of those pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details - a day to day chronology of what happened to the four Beatles during the Beatles years!

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