Although there are many things to do in Nashville with kids, there is a lovely little place on the outskirt of Nashville that I would like to share with you. Belle Meade, though it retains its independent status, is also a part of the city of Nashville. It is home to the Belle Meade Plantation, where we had the pleasure of visiting with our family during our #HotMamaDoesAmerica summer road trip.
Belle Meade Nashville may not be on the radar for many travelers. Most visitors to Music City probably want to focus on, well, music. I mean Nashville is home to country music, after all. Sites like Grand Ole Opry, Opry Land, music row and downtown are usually on list of must-sees in Nashville. But did you know that Belle Meade is also the origin for many great American thoroughbred horses?
Here is a little Belle Meade Plantation history for you. The Belle Meade Plantation for more than a century was the leading farm for breeding thoroughbreds throughout the 1800s. The most famous of the Belle Meade Plantation horses was Bonnie Scotland, the founder of the Northern Dancer bloodline. His descendants include none other than Seabiscuit, Man O’ War, War Admiral and California Chrome, just to name a few. The bloodlines from Bonnie Scotland and Enquirer, another Belle Meade thoroughbred, are still dominant in modern horse racing.
We had never heard of the Belle Meade Plantation before arriving in Nashville and have a feeling that many of you may not know about it yet either. It was a highlight of our visit to Nashville and I don’t want you to miss out. So here is everything you need to know about visiting Belle Meade Plantation.
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Video showing things to do in Nashville with kids
First, if you would like to see our family explore Belle Meade Mansion and go line dancing in downtown Nashville, we have provided a video on our YouTube channel.
Money saving tips
Belle Meade Plantation Nashville, TN offers a number of different tours for a variety of interests and budgets. Thankfully, all tours include free wine tasting! Whoohoo!
Basic Belle Meade Plantation Tour includes the Mansion Tour which is 45 minutes and the Grounds Only Tour. The Grounds Only Tour is the most cost-effective. The grounds are amazing and where we spent most our time. However, if it is your first time I recommend including the Mansion Tour. Did I say that both tours include a complimentary wine tasting!
Adults – $12
Youth – $10 (ages 6 to 12 )
Child – Free (5 and under)
Adult – $24
Senior – $20 (65+)
Youth – $13 (Ages 6 to 18)
Child – Free (5 and under)
Battle of Nashville Tour:
For $40 gives you access to three Nashville historical sites, including Belle Meade Plantation, Belmont Mansion and Travelers Rest Plantation Museum.
Belle Meade with kids:
Add an Adventure Backpack or Plantation Station Backpack for $10 to keep the kids entertained during the tour. There are more details on what the backpacks include in the Entertain Me section of this post.
If you are local, there are a number of options for student and scout tours.
If you are traveling with a large group of 15 or more, be sure to check out group pricing, which is $15 a person in a group.
If you aren’t traveling with kids, then you may be interested in some of the adults-only tours, like the Segway Guided Tour (16+ years) for $50, the Wine and Food Pairing (21+) for $35 or the Private Tasting (21+) for $50
Getting in the Mood:
Start your trip early by starting at home. Nothing builds excitement for a trip like enjoying some teasers. Here are some great products to help you experience Belle Meade Plantation before even step foot on the property.
Where to stay near Belle Meade
There are many hotels in Belle Meade, TN as well as in the greater Nashville area. However, during our visit to Nashville we stayed in Belle Meade, TN at the Best Western Plus Belle Meade Inn & Suites. It made for a great location for visiting the Belle Meade Plantation. You can read our full review, HERE.
Top places to eat
The Harding House:
Once you are on the Belle Meade Plantation you will want to spend a good chunk of the day there. No need to go hungry, because there is an excellent Belle Meade Plantation restaurant on site. The Harding House serves brunch on the weekends and lunch during the weekdays. We enjoyed an excellent meal during our visiting and definitely recommend the Belle Meade jalapeno pimento cheese sandwich. Yummy!
Hattie B’s Hot Chicken:
Just down the road from the Belle Meade Plantation and the Best Western Bell Meade, is the famous HattieB’s Hot Chicken. Although there are many good Belle Meade restaurants, you honestly can’t leave Nashville without trying hot chicken, and Hattie B’s is said by many to be the best. There are two locations in Nashville, but luckily the bigger location is just down the road (0.6 miles) from the Best Western Belle Meade.
Where to grab a drink
Belle Meade Winery:
You can’t visit Belle Meade Plantation without sipping on some wine. The Belle Meade Plantation Winery was founded in 2009 as way to preserve the site. It honors the American South tradition of producing Muscadine and Blackberry wines. Luckily, every tour includes a complimentary wine tasting. Beware, you will want to buy some wine to take home and the complimentary wine tasting can turn expensive fast. I speak from experience.
Belle Meade Bourbon:
Although not produced on the property of the Belle Meade Plantation, you have to try some Belle Meade whiskey. The label designed over 100 years ago bears the plantation’s two most respected studs, Bonnie Scotland on the right and Brown Dick on the left. Distilled at the Nelson’s Greenbrier Distillery, I love the spiciness from the high rye content. Belle Meade Bourbon is definitely worth a try.
Things to do in Belle Meade
The Belle Meade Plantation is such a lovely property to explore and there a number of tours to choose from. However, the two most popular and affordable tours include the Mansion Tour and the Grounds Only Tour.
Since it was our first time in Belle Meade, we wanted to see inside the Belle Meade Mansion and opted for the Mansion Tour. The tour includes a 45 minutes guided tour through the Greek-Revival mansion as well as access to the other historical buildings located on the grounds and a complimentary wine tasting.
For the half the price you can purchase tickets to just again access to the gardens and all the historic buildings on the property minus the mansion. The buildings on the property include the dairy, horse stable, carriage house, mausoleum and log cabin. Yes, this tour also included complimentary wine tasting at the Belle Meade winery.
For the Kids:
If you are traveling with kids, I recommend getting the Adventure Backpack for ages 7 to 12 or the Plantation Station Backpack for ages 6 and under. Each backpack is filled with fun activities, treasure map and special key to help make exploring the Belle Meade Plantation a bit more exciting for children. My kids loved looking at the map to find hidden treasure boxes sprinkled all over the property and using their key to unlock the toys and fun activities inside. More and more families are taking their kids to historic sites and wine tastings when they travel, and the Belle Meade Plantation really hits the mark in terms of making this attraction family friendly all around.
Belle Meade Plantation Hours:
Monday through Sunday from 9:00am to 5:00pm. The plantation is closed on major holidays such as Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
That’s A Wrap!
All in all, visiting Belle Meade Plantation is one the unique things to do in Nashville. The gorgeous gardens gave us a well needed break from the city, and thoroughly refreshed our senses. Belle Meade Plantation may not have been on our radar before coming to Nashville, but it ended up being a highlight of our trip. So if your plan on visiting Nashville with kids, be sure to make a stop at Belle Meade Plantation.
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