DESTINATION FOCUS • June 2018
From as early as the 1920s, Nashville has appealed to musicians with battered guitars and big dreams. Now, says native Whitney Haldeman, with BA’s new direct flights from London, it’s attracting travellers with adventurous spirits and big appetites. Whether you’re a serious gastronome or have young kids in tow, there’s a travel itinerary perfect for you
Regardless of what kind of traveller you are, Nashville has a few quintessential mandates that would be a cardinal sin to skip. Top of the list for Nashville newbies is taking in the world-famous music scene and embracing the neon lights of Broadway (pictured), where you’ll find tourists boasting cowboy boots and dancing to live music. Then, order a fried bologna sandwich and listen to traditional steel guitar at Robert’s Western World (an authentic ‘honky-tonk’ voted the favourite by locals year after year). Look out across the sweeping views of the city with a Girl Scout Cookie cocktail on the rooftop of Acme Feed & Seed or a bottled beer at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, where local talent takes the stage every evening. And, just around the corner, check out an exhibition or two at the ‘Smithsonian of country music’, the world-famous Country Music Hall of Fame.
Nashville boasts far too many culinary accolades to taste every noteworthy nugget in a single visit, even if you dedicate your entire holiday to dining out. For the highlights, relish authentic Mexican street food at Mas Tacos, sample the gastronomic heights of the notorious The Catbird Seat, and put your taste buds to the test with the wildly popular hot chicken from Hattie B’s. Brunch-goers should get in line for locally sourced southern fare at Biscuit Love and hardcore coffee from around the corner at Barista Parlor. Barbecue enthusiasts can get their fix from food trucks such as The Gambling Stick, or bricks-and-mortar meccas Martin’s (pictured) and Edley’s. Seeking a one-of-a-kind experience? Sunday Supper at City House serves an exceptional free-form menu featuring creations of the day from the James Beard Award-winning chef Tandy Wilson.
Lovebirds will swoon over Music City’s abundance of cosy venues and plethora of intimate live-music venues, like Rudy’s Jazz Room or the infamous Bluebird Café. For a romantic dinner, share boozy brownies at 5th & Taylor or go for a decadent drink at The Patterson House, before catching an indie film at the historic Belcourt Theatre. To discover the origins of country music’s most famous duo, check out a concert at the ‘mother church’ of country music, the Ryman Auditorium (pictured), where Johnny Cash met June Carter in the 1950s. After that defining sunset moment, old romantics can head out of the city to Arrington Vineyards, perfect for basking in the setting sun while sipping sweet local wine.
While Nashville has some obvious options for your little ones, like the city’s zoo or Adventure Science Center (pictured), it also offers countless off-the-beaten-track experiences for the family unit. On a nice day, stroll through the 12 South neighbourhood to sample 100-layer donuts from Five Daughters Bakery and technicolour popsicles from Las Paletas, before playtime at Sevier Park. In the heat of summer, try cooling off in the splash pad at Cumberland Park, set against breathtaking views of the Nashville skyline. And if the weather doesn’t fare well? Nashville Public Library offers an amazing story time at its beautiful and historic downtown building – a brilliant rainy day solution.
If you’re looking to fire up a classic car and drive, Nashville has a tonne of scenic byways and idyllic destinations just outside the city. Begin with a stop-off at the famous Loveless Café for road trip snacks, before winding along the Natchez Trace Parkway (pictured) until you reach Puckett’s vintage country store out in Liepers Fork – great for an evening of live music. Whiskey enthusiasts can visit the famous Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, just 90 minutes from downtown Nashville – a fascinating place even if you’re not doing any sampling. While over in Watertown, a truly all-American evening by automobile awaits you at Stardust Drive-In Theatre, where you can catch a double feature under the stars.
The After Hours Club: A Taste of Nashville, Monday 2 July 2018 at Ham Yard Hotel, London, 6pm-9pm, including a Nashville themed cocktail, American style food bar, bowling and more. £60 per person (plus £5.27 booking fee per ticket). Click here to book tickets
British Airways is the only carrier flying direct between Europe and Nashville. To find out more, click here