Nashville travel on test: our reader visits the roots of her favourite American music in Tennessee

Nashville travel on test: our reader visits the roots of her favourite American music in Tennessee
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Why Nashville?

I'm a big fan of American folk and country music, which is Nashville all over. Bars and restaurants host live music most nights and a simple walk along the street would probably lead to a talented busker!

What did you get up to?

The Country Music Hall of Fame has everything from Dolly Parton and Brenda Lee's stage costumes to Elvis Presley's gold-plated Cadillac. Across town in the Musician's Hall of Fame you'll find guitars once played by Jimi Hendrix and Pete Townshend - ask nicely and they might let you hold one. The new Johnny Cash Museum is a moving tribute... and do get tickets to the Grand Ole Opry. The world's longest-running live radio show is broadcast every Friday and Saturday from the 19th Century Ryman Auditorium.

How was eating out?

It's hard to resist Southern soul food: grilled catfish, slow-roasted barbecue pork, fried green tomatoes and Shrimp 'n' Grits. Grits are actually creamy, like semolina, usually flavoured with melted cheese. Be warned - portions are huge!

Where did you stay?

Most major hotels are within walking distance of town. We stayed at the newly-built Omni Hotel, part of the same complex as the Country Music Hall of Fame. The rooms have stunning city views from floor-to-ceiling windows.

What was the highlight?

Our night at the Bluebird Café, where professional songwriters play their greatest hits, then tell the stories of how they came to write them. We saw Billy Montana, and Sonny LeMaire from Seventies rock band Exile. It's best to book in advance as seating is strictly limited.

Forget the mega malls - try East Nashville for quirky shops, antiques and local handicrafts

  • Nashville is the capital city of Tennessee in the south-eastern United States.
  • July and August can be almost unbearably hot and muggy. The temperature drops in September/October, while still remaining sunny.
  • Heather flew with US Airways (www.usairways.com) from London Heathrow to Nashville, changing flights in Charlotte, Tennessee. In October, return flights were £514pp, which included all taxes and fees. Flight time was 12 hours 30 minutes, including a two-hour stopover in Charlotte. Packages are available through Thomson Tailormade; call 0844 050 2828 or visit www.thomsonworldwide.com
  • Most tourist sites and venues have good wheelchair access but smaller bars and restaurants may need prior notice.

Find more travel reviews in Yours magazine, out every fortnight.