Nashville & Memphis holiday highlights

Discover Nashville’s wide range of clubs and bars including The Basement, Mercy Lounge, Cannery Ballroom or the legendary Exit/Inn. You might also want to explore its fascinating music museums; the Country Music Hall of Fame has costumes, guitars and memorabilia belonging to some of the world’s biggest country music stars; the Ryman Auditorium has hosted icons including Hank Williams Snr., Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello; enjoy The Rolling Stones Exhibit at The Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum or see the Johnny Cash Museum.

Head to downtown Nashville and see a show on Broadway, and enjoy some of the city’s popular barbecue joints, honky tonk music clubs and shops from antiques and art to jewellery. If you fancy something different, the Schermerhorn Symphony Center is fantastic for classical music, and we recommend the family-friendly Frist Art Museum – a world-class art centre with diverse exhibitions and educational programs.

Memphis has three main tourist areas – Downtown, Midtown and East Memphis. Downtown is home to the blues; visit here for Mississippi River tours, parks, museums and the lively Beale Street – famous for its galleries and cafés, live music, bars and quirky beer windows where you can buy cups of beer on the go. Midtown has Overton Square – a popular shopping spot, and Overton Park – where you’ll find Memphis Zoo. East Memphis is a laid-back outdoorsy area, with parks, nature centres and botanic gardens including Shelby Farms Park. It’s five times larger than Central Park in New York and is one of the 20 largest parks in the USA; you can enjoy activities here including walking, fishing, mountain biking and sailing. Make your trip extra special by heading to south Memphis for Graceland, a beautiful mansion on a 13.8-acre estate which once belonged to Elvis Presley.

Where is Nashville & Memphis?
Nashville and Memphis are both in the Tennessee state, bordered by Kentucky and Virginia to the north, North Carolina to the east and Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi to the south. The Mississippi River, the longest in North America, flows along the state’s western boundary and past Memphis in the southwestern corner of Tennessee. Nashville sits along the Cumberland River and is the capital and largest city of the state.

Getting around
Hiring a car is the most efficient way to get around both Memphis and Tennessee, as they are the largest cities in the state. But if you are relying on public transport there are still plenty of options.  There are metered taxis and the complimentary MTA Music City Circuit bus in Nashville, and in Memphis there’s the hop on/hop off bus stopping at major attractions, the free Sun Studio shuttle that will also take you to Graceland, and downtown buses and taxis.

Food & drink
Nashville’s speciality is mouthwatering hot chicken and you’ll see local lining up outside both Prince’s and Hattie B’s for a taste of this famous dish. Expect neighbourhoods where you can flip your own pancakes, enjoy devilled eggs and sugar bacon or join a big barbecue feast by the park. Foodies and cocktail lovers should head to Midtown, Germantown and the Gulch for classic southern soul food and a stylish collection of new restaurants and bars.

In Memphis you can expect those famous pork ribs and barbecue but also an exciting mix of French-Creole, international flavours and fine dining resturants. There’s everything from dining at The Peabody for a three, five or eight course tasting menu in decadent surrounds to Uptown soul food served Downtown in typically warm southern hospitality style.

Nashville & Memphis key facts

Time difference

GMT -6 hours

Currency

US Dollar ($)

Flying time to destination

Memphis: 10½ hours, New Orleans: 11¾ hours

Language

English is the official language, although many other languages are widely spoken in certain cities and communities. America has its own written US English spellings.

Passport & visas

•  Brits must have a full 10-year British Passport that's valid for six months after you return to the UK.
•  You will also need a USA visa or waiver form/ESTA. Apply for your ESTA at least 72 hours before travelling (http://esta.cbp.dhs.gov).

Voltage & electricity

The domestic electrical supply is 110V, 60 cycles AC. Sockets are for plugs with two flat pins.

Nashville & Memphis good to know

Tipping

Tipping is an established and accepted custom in America. For good service, waiters and taxi drivers expect 15-20%, and counter and bar staff 10-15%. Porters can expect from $3-$5 per case, while tour guides can be given the equivalent of £2-£3 per day.

Public holidays

• 1 January: New Year's Day

• Third Monday in January: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

• Third Monday in February: Presidents Day

• Last Monday in May: Memorial Day

• 4 July: Independence Day

• First Monday in September: Labor Day

• Second Monday in October: Columbus Day

• 11 November: Veterans Day

• Fourth Thursday in November: Thanksgiving Day

• 25 December: Christmas Day