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Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee


Blue grass, Beale Street and barbecue

Visit Tennessee


This Deep South state offers variety in abundance, from the musical legends of Memphis and Nashville to some of the defining sites of the Civil Rights Movement. It’s also a state blessed with a spectacular natural world, not least in the Great Smoky Mountains and the waterfall-studded Cumberland Plateau. Wash it all down with delicious barbecue dinners, craft beers and oak-aged whiskies for the ultimate Southern experience.

The roots of American music

To the north of Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, the mountainous state of Tennessee is yet another southern gem known for its immense contribution to American popular culture. Indeed, throughout the neon-lit bars of Memphis’ Beale Street it’s possible to trace the roots of everything from country, blue grass and gospel to rockabilly, rock n’ roll and soul. And, lest we forget, Tennessee was the home of one Elvis Presley whose sprawling Graceland estate is arguably the world’s ultimate piece of rock memorabilia.

Adventures in the great outdoors

But, there’s far more to Tennessee than its musical heritage. The Great Smoky Mountains – one of America’s oldest ranges – offers glorious hikes and white-water adventures, while in the central Cumberland Plateau, dramatic waterfalls and sprawling vineyards invite days of thrilling exploration. There’s even more thrill-seeking fun to be had zip-lining through the forests of Gatlinburg, or for something more sedate, board a cruise along the mighty Mississippi in Memphis.

Classic Southern cuisine

All that adventure is the perfect preamble to the state’s renowned food scene – delicious Memphis barbecues, biscuits and gravy and Nashville hot chicken washed down with a craft beer, local wine or bourbon. In the state’s headline cities, restaurants range from homely and traditional to cutting-edge modern – the superb and multi award-winning Catbird Seat in Nashville is among our favourites – but all with that same Southern hospitality for which the Deep South is rightly famed. Take in the best of it with a visit to a food festival, or visit some of the 30 distilleries along the Tennessee Whisky Trail. And no visit to the state would be complete without a tasting at the Jack Daniels factory in Lynchburg.

The Civil Rights Trail

Stretching across 14 states, the Civil Rights Trail takes in many of the key sites from the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s. Tennessee is host to 10 of these, including the Clayborn Temple and the Mason Temple Church of God in Christ, where Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his ‘Mountaintop’ speech on the eve of his assassination at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. It’s this site which now hosts the National Civil Rights museum where, along with seeing the balcony where Dr King lost his life, visitors can trace the history of the Civil Rights Movement through videos, images and a host of other multi-media exhibits. 


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Top itineraries in Tennessee

Country band, Nashville

All-American Music Tour

13-day tailor-made self-drive from £2,470 pp incl. flights

When it comes to American music, all roads lead to the Deep South. This fly-drive celebrates the very best of the region's musical heritage, from soulful blues and brassy jazz to riverboat calliopes and gospel choirs.

Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee

Rhythms of the Deep South Self-Drive

15-day tailor-made self-drive from £2,905 pp incl. flights

Discover a rich and innovative culture, history and heritage on this self-drive tour of the Deep South states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Alabama State Capitol, Montgomery, Alabama, USA

Alabama Music Self-drive

14-day tailor-made self-drive from £2,820 pp incl. flights

The Deep South has music running through its veins, and nowhere more so than in the state of Alabama. Explore its rich heritage, both musical and otherwise, on this tailor-made road-trip.

Oak Alley Plantation, Louisiana

Southern Plantation Homes Self-Drive

10-day tailor-made self-drive from £2,055 pp incl. flights

This Southern self-drive begins with three days in lively New Orleans - the birthplace of jazz - before heading west along the Great River Road to Baton Rouge, Natchez and Cajun Country where you'll find grand plantation houses and delicious Southern food.

Top places to stay in Tennessee

Union Station Hotel, Nashville

Union Station Hotel, Nashville

Historic hotel

The Union Station Hotel is a characterful, central boutique hotel situated inside a beautifully-restored 19th-century railroad station in downtown Nashville. Its signature restaurant, Prime 108, is the proud recipient of the prestigious Forbes Four-Star award for culinary excellence.

Peabody Memphis

The Peabody, Memphis

Historic hotel

Ever since its construction in 1869, The Peabody has been a stylish landmark in central Memphis. It’s even hosted past presidents on visits to the ‘Blues City’.

The Hutton, Nashville

The Hutton, Nashville

Contemporary hotel

Swapping blues bar charm for new age chic, The Hutton is set right in the middle of Nashville, the song-writing capital of the world.

River Inn of Harbor Town

River Inn of Harbor Town, Memphis

Traditional hotel

Marrying the welcoming charm of the Old South with the refined style of Europe, this traditional hotel is idyllically located with terrace views over the Mississippi river.

See all places to stay

Where to go in Tennessee

Banjo player, Nashville


The ultimate pilgrimage for music enthusiasts, Nashville is not only the centre of the USA’s music industry, but the world’s.

Beale Street, Memphis


Memphis is a city on the banks of the Mississippi River famously associated with two American icons - civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King Jr, and Elvis Presley.

When to go to Tennessee

See regional weather

Tennessee articles

Nashville, Tennessee

British Airways announce non-stop flights to Nashville

How British Airways' new, non-stop flights to Nashville will affect travel to the Deep South and the best ways to take advantage of them.

Meet our Tennessee experts

Speak to a tailor-made specialist on 020 7590 0636

Meet the team

Why book with Wexas Travel?

At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0636 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

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