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Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

Tennessee

Blue grass, Beale Street and barbecue

Visit Tennessee

Introduction

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. 

Special offers in Tennessee

All-American Music Tour

13-day tailor-made self-drive from £1,750 pp incl. flights

Special
offer

Free car hire

Free car hire offer – Save up to £110 pp
Book by: 30 September 2018

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.

Rhythms of the Deep South Self-Drive

15-day tailor-made self-drive from £1,845 pp incl. flights

Special
offer

Free car hire

Free car hire offer – Save up to £195 pp
Book by: 30 September 2018

Discover a rich and innovative culture, history and heritage on this 15-day self-drive tour of the Deep South states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Southern Plantation Homes Self-Drive

10-day tailor-made self-drive from £1,400 pp incl. flights

Special
offer

Free car hire

Free car hire offer – Save up to £80 pp
Book by: 30 September 2018

This nine-day 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.

See all offers

Top itineraries in Tennessee

All-American Music Tour

13-day tailor-made self-drive from £1,750 pp incl. flights

Special
offer

Free car hire

Free car hire offer – Save up to £110 pp
Book by: 30 September 2018

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.

Rhythms of the Deep South Self-Drive

15-day tailor-made self-drive from £1,845 pp incl. flights

Special
offer

Free car hire

Free car hire offer – Save up to £195 pp
Book by: 30 September 2018

Discover a rich and innovative culture, history and heritage on this 15-day self-drive tour of the Deep South states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

American Queen Steamboat Cruise on the Mississippi

13-day tailor-made river cruise from £2,660 pp incl. flights

Meander down the Mississippi on a river cruise, visiting a number of historic sights. Begin in Memphis and end in New Orleans as you experience some of the USA's finest music culture scene, including the birthplace of the King of the Blues – the late B.B. King.

Alabama music self-drive

16-day tailor-made self-drive

Free car hire

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.

See all itinerary ideas

Top places to stay in Tennessee

The American Queen

Luxury cruise ship

Experience the opulent luxury of the USA's most famous river ship, as included dining and a full spread of onboard entertainment introduces you to the unique cultures of the Deep South.

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.

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

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.

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Where to go in Tennessee

Nashville

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

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

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Tennessee articles

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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.

Learn why Wexas is the leader in creating luxury holidays. What is tailor-made travel?

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Every step of the way

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