Ultimate Visit Nashville Guide for UK Travellers

Dec 3, 2022

Nashville in Tennessee has long been considered the country music capital of the world, but that isn’t all Nashville has to offer.

Stepping out into downtown Nashville not only means a honky tonk in every other building, but also amazing food, friendly locals, and abundant history.

The Luxury Trips team have visited Nashville on more than one occasion.

One visit took place during a combined CMA Fest (biggest annual country music 4 day festival) and NHL Nashville Predator ice hockey final, where close to 100,000 people descended on a downtown strip less than two miles long.

The second visit took place outside a major sporting or music event and we went to simply enjoy the bars, music, and local tours.

Nashville is relatively small in comparison to other major cities and towns we have visited in the U.S.

Its main downtown strip, called Broadway, is less than two miles in length and almost everything is within easy walkable reach, unless the traveller decides to stay out near the airport – which we did try – but more on this later in the article.

The main reason for UK travellers to head to Nashville is for the love of music.

Travellers don’t necessarily need a love of country music to enjoy the sounds of Nashville, although it sure helps.

Country music has a long tradition of storytelling. Songs here aren’t simply foot tappers, but meaningful lyrics about life and love, and no clearer is there a depiction of this than downtown Nashville.

From the honky tonk bars to the Nashville Hall of Fame Museum, to tour buses showing you where country legends old and new were born or wrote lyrics to some of the most famous songs in the world.

Fans of tv show American Pickers also won’t be disappointed as one of the two stores belonging to the show stars is based in Nashville. We joined a tour bus to see the American Pickers shop including other landmarks and thoroughly enjoyed it – again more on this later.

Wonderful food, amazing heart felt music and a rustic charm await all who decide to visit Nashville.

In this guide we will explain the best things to see and do in Nashville, as well as the best locations to stay in, from a team who have been there and done it.

What to See and Do in Nashville

Despite being a relatively small town, there’s a lot to see and do in and around Nashville.

Here are the best things we tried and tested during our visits to Nashville, and the best way to explore each, what to look out for and how long is needed at each location.

Honky Tonk Bars

Honky Tonks and Bars along Broadway in Nashville

No visit to Nashville can be complete or even taken seriously without stopping by a number of the honky tonk bars along the downtown strip.

The largest is Honk Tonk Central which spans no less than three separate floors with balconies to look over the strip. Each floor will usually have a live band playing and did each time we visited.

You can’t miss Honky Tonk Central along downtown as it has by far the largest sign, but it sits on the corner with 4th Avenue.

Opposite Honky Tonk Central is country singer Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, a smaller bar with a dance area upstairs that is busy most evenings.

We also need to mention the Whiskey Bent Saloon, which was the very first bar we went to on our first trip to Nashville. A small welcoming saloon that serves wonderful beers and cocktails.

Although we could complete the rest of the article explaining how nice each bar is along Broadway, but the best way is simply to dive in and sample them all!

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Often touted as one of the best places to visit in Nashville for country music fans, although we were perhaps a little underwhelmed during our visit – and we are country music fans!

The Country Music Hall of Fame pays tributes to many of the traditional country music stars such as Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn before moving in to the 80s and 90s with Garth Brooks, Randy Travis, Dolly Parton, Travis Tritt and Tim McGraw and then in to the 00s with Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean and many more.

Through 4 or 5 floors you are welcomed with true memorabilia owned by or worn by the country music stars of old and new, including a Cadillac once owned by Elvis Presley!

As big a fan of country music we were once we had seen one shirt worn by one artist, and a pair of boots worn by another, things became a little repetitive.

The price of entry is between $30 and $40.

If the history of country music and its stars, as well as being able to get up close and personal with items own and worn by the stars, then this will be a great stop off on your trip.

If country music isn’t a particular passion, or this doesn’t sound exciting, it may be worth skipping.

We spent around 1.5 hours and although we did rush around, we felt we saw everything on show.

The Parthenon

The Parthenon in Nashville

We haven’t mixed this guide with that of Athens (although seeing the real Parthenon in Athens is an amazing experience!) but there is a full size replica of The Parthenon in Nashville!

The real Parthenon in Athens shows signs of its age, where the replica of course is much more recent, despite being over 120 years old, and looks in pristine condition.

It does sit further on the outskirts away from the main town centre and Broadway. We took a tour bus of local sights, including the Parthenon, which starts from just off Broadway.

Taking a tour of the local area is very much recommended.

Although on the day we visited entrance to the Parthenon was closed, we did hear from locals that a visit inside for the small entry fee was very much worth it.

Bluebird Cafe

The Bluebird Café is a small but incredibly famous and important venue for country music fans.

Unfortunately, the Bluebird Café sits outside the main area of Nashville, and a taxi or Uber to get there and back, or a local tour bus.

The Bluebird Café is famous in the country music scene as being a pinnacle place for any budding star to sing to locals and visitors alike in search of fame and stardom and playing at the Bluebird has been a stepping-stone for many rising stars.

Steeped in country music tradition and history, the Bluebird is definitely a place to spend an afternoon or evening becoming absorbed by the lyrical talents on display.

Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium

The Grand Ole Opry is without question the most famous country music stage in the world.

Every big country music name that is imaginable has played at the Grand Ole Opry and almost every day the stage plays host to stars new and old.

The Ryman Auditorium, which is used a second theatre for country music acts for part of the year is based in downtown Nashville, whereas the Grand Ole Opry which plays host for the rest of the year sits further out of town and transport is required to visit.

Taxis, Ubers, and public transport are available. We took an Uber which cost approx. $25 each way.

CMA Fest

All true country music fans are aware of the CMA Festival that descends on to Nashville for four days every June.

The biggest and most popular annual country music event in the world is played by many of the biggest names in country music every year.

Nashville feels busy most times, but when 50,000 country music fans descend on this small town every year it becomes an overwhelmingly busy place to be., especially when fans pour out of the Nissan Stadium each night on Broadway and into the Honky Tonks until 3am!

Our trip to CMA Fest coincided with the finals of the NHL ice hockey championship which coincidentally also took place in Nashville, or which the local team the Predators were playing.

Nashville is crazy busy during CMA Fest but add into the mix 20,000 Predator fans and it Broadway became a sea of yellow caps and cowboy Stetson hats.

Country music fans should experience the CMA’s even just once, and although prices can be very expensive (from $350 for four nights) during the day and evening there are many free events taking place all the time to watch big star names and up and coming talent.

It is worth noting that during the CMA Festival hotel prices increase between 200%-500%, so if the CMAs are not of interest, it is best not to visit during that week.

Ice Hockey Game at Bridgestone Arena

Ice Hockey game in Nashville

Bridgestone Arena is home to local ice hockey national team, the Nashville Predators.

If the timing is right, and Predators are playing at home during the time of your visit, you may want to grab this once in a lifetime experience of seeing a true U.S. Ice Hockey game!

Tickets are generally from around $20-$30 and upwards, depending on where you are seated during the game.

Where to Stay in Nashville

There are no shortages of hotels to stay in and around Nashville, from small motels to 5* luxury hotels.

The Luxury Trips team haven’t stayed in all hotels of course and so it isn’t prudent of us to say one hotel is better than another.

What we can do is advise the best areas of Nashville to stay in during your trip.

Staying in a hotel within Nashville Downtown

Downtown area in Nashville

The best reason to stay within Nashville Downtown is for convenience.

Being able to walk out of a hotel and be within 5mins to 10mins walk of you’re a hotel is incredibly handy from heading back after a day out to get ready for an evening in town or heading back after a night out.

Hotels within the downtown area are the most expensive of course. There are no cheap B&Bs or motels here, although a few cheaper Airbnb rentals do appear from time to time which is another good option.

During one visit out team stayed in the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Nashville which sits along 4th Avenue North. This hotel just a 10min to 15min walk to Broadway and was perfectly placed for the visit.

The hotel inside a little dated but typical of Hilton standards. We would very much recommend this hotel or others in this location.

The reception staff even upgraded our room without being asked and gave us a suite with no less than 10 sofas and chairs!

The best hotels for location and star ratings are generally within the main downtown area between Peabody Street in the south to Charlotte Avenue in the North, and 7th Avenue in the west to 1st Avenue in the east.

The closer to Broadway the better.

Staying in a hotel on the outskirts of Nashville Downtown

It is possible to stay further out of town and commute into Nashville town centre each day by either taxi, public transport or walking if feeling energetic.

Hotels along the outskirts are generally cheaper than those closer to Broadway and are so simply due to location.

There are a lot of good brand name hotels out to the west near Vanderbilt University.

This location is around a 30min walk to downtown Broadway, or a few minutes by taxi.

Although, aside from the University, there isn’t much to see or do around the area it is generally considered safe and not so far from the centre that heading back and forth to Broadway isn’t possible.

We stayed in the Holiday Inn Express along Broadway, past Rosa L Parks Boulevard and was a perfectly placed and nice hotel to stay. This hotel slightly closer than the selection of hotels near the University, with a walking time of 20 mins to the main Broadway and nightlife area is.

Staying in a hotel by the airport of Nashville Downtown

We can say from experience that staying near the airport and heading in and out of downtown by taxi should only be considered an option when all other options aren’t possible.

Hotels near the airport are much cheaper than the town centre, and we decided to stay there due to a last minute trip to the CMA Festival and hotels in the centre were close to $1,000 a night for a standard room!

Our five nights near the airport cost around $800 in total.

Commuting back and forth isn’t disastrous but takes around 15mins. Getting to downtown isn’t usually a problem, and taxi and Uber fares cost around $20-$25 each way.

Unfortunately, we were trying to order a taxi back to the hotel after a CMA Festival night along with thousands of others, and Uber fares rose steeply to $60 each way with around an hour wait time.

It would have been easier and cheaper commuting back and forth if it were not for a major festival and despite the hotels being cheaper, it quickly became a major inconvenience.

Frequently Asked Questions

There is a lot covered in this article which should hopefully help any UK traveller get started planning a luxury trip to Nashville.

Here though are some shorter direct answers to some commonly asked questions about travelling to Nashville from the UK:

What is the best month to go to Nashville

Nashville is a great place to visit all year round. The town never sleeps. Most bars and Honky Tonks are open until 3am every night of the year.

Nashville, like the UK, is hot in the summer and cold in winter.

The best months to visit are between April through to October.

What is the best airline to fly to Nashville from the UK

Our BA Business Class suite flying Club World
Copyright:Luxury Trips – our Club World seats on British Airways

There are two main direct routes from London to Nashville which are operated by British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

Both airlines offer direct routes as well as stop overs, and both offer standard and premium classes to travel within.

British Airways has World Traveller (economy), World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy), Club World (Business Class) and First (First Class).

Virgin Atlantic classes are Economy, Premium and Upper Class (Business Class).

Our recommendations are to fly Virgin Atlantic in economy, premium and business class – but if the budget allows the very best option to fly across both airlines is First with British Airways.

Are Ubers available in Nashville

Ubers are available in Nashville are readily available and easy to book through the standard Uber app.

Is Nashville worth visiting for UK travellers?

There is more to Nashville than country music, but not much.

The entire town has been built around country music, although different genres of music are often played.

Country music often has a bad association, but its music can be as diverse as soft ballads to recent collaborations with rap artists.

The country music scene is incredibly diverse. Stetsons are not required, and not many in Nashville will wear them.

Cowboy and cowgirl boots are fashionable but again part of the tourist scene.

Nashville should be considered a place for music lovers, rather than those just interested in country music.

We wholeheartedly recommend a visit to Nashville for any music fan to enjoy.