Music City, USA

NashvilleNashville

Independent local travel advisor Jack Leaf offers some insight into Nashville, which is the state capital of Tennessee and the country music capital of the world

Many a household name has risen to fame in Tennessee, yet it's quite unlike better known and more visited cities in the United States. It's a very down-to-earth place where the famous coast alongside regular folk, so that they can be regular people themselves, away from the glare of the paparazzi. There has been a recent upsurge in visitor numbers to the city, many of whom are fans of the television series Nashville, a drama about a country singer.

The city should also be remembered as one of the focal points of the Civil Rights movement too, and one can explore its history documented through museums, churches, hotels and monuments along the US Civil Rights Trail. Nashville has come a long way since those protest days of the 1950s and 1960s; today, it is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States.

The new British Airways route operates once a day, five times a week from London Heathrow direct to Nashville and the flying time is nine hours. It was inaugurated in May 2018 and has proven extremely popular. So, I thought I'd share with you an itinerary I booked for a client recently, who will be travelling next June to celebrate a special birthday.

On day one, the flight departs from Heathrow at 2.55pm, landing in Nashville at 6pm local time. The journey time from the airport to downtown is just 20 minutes; taxis operate a flat fare on this route, just $25. I recommend a stay of three nights at Kimpton's Aertson Hotel, although there are iconic hotels such as the Bobby Hotel and Cambria Hotel, or more luxurious hotels like Thompson Nashville I quote on too. For day two, I include the Nashville Music Attraction Pass; it's very good value and provides admission to the Country Music Hall of Fame, Madame Tussauds, Johnny Cash Museum and a number of other venues. I suggest the best way to continue this first day of sightseeing is to enjoy the Nashville TV show tour, to see real-life filming locations and a visit to the renowned Bluebird Café. Day three starts with a backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry Concert Hall, where country music was first performed to a wider audience back in 1925. Step on to the famous wooden circle where Patsy Cline and countless others have trod the boards. In the afternoon, I schedule a city tour with a knowledgeable local guide. To round off the day, attend that evening's performance at the Grand Ole Opry. Each evening showcases a dynamic line-up of new stars alongside established stars. Day four is your last day and I leave that 'at leisure' to continue exploring independently or to relax before the flight back to London, which departs at 8.20pm. However, as it is a special birthday, for these clients I also included a private Nashville Recording Studio tour.

Jack is based in Snaresbrook – visit destiny-travel.co.uk or call 020 8989 6764. To read more of Jack's travel stories, visit wavidi.co/jleaf


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