Explore Tennessee:

For many of us, Tennessee is synonymous with music. While Nashville is thought of as the capital of country music, Bristol has actually been named the Birthplace of Country Music because the legendary Bristol Sessions took place in the downtown area in 1927. Known as the “Big Bang” of modern country music, the historic recordings catapulted The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers to stardom.

Memphis, with Elvis as its King, has had huge influence on blues, early rock and roll as well as soul music. Today you can visit the studios, homes and bars to see and hear where it all started.

But Tennessee is much more than music; stretching from the Mississippi River to the Smoky Mountains at the southern end of the Appalachians, Tennessee is a state full of history – in its architecture, its parks, its battle sites, and in its many museums.

Ever since the early days, Tennessee’s rivers have formed the main transport links and partly because of this during the American Civil War Tennessee had the most battles of any state bar Virginia. You can visit many battle sites and watch fascinating re-enactments.  Tennessee also played a vital part in the Civil Rights Movement; the Nashville sit-ins were a famous part of a non-violent direct action campaign to end racial segregation and Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis. You can explore African American and Native American culture from the past to present day.

Aside from the main highlights of Memphis, Nashville and The Smoky Mountains, there is much to enjoy on a fly-drive holiday through Tennessee and you can immerse yourself in the state’s diverse past from Davy Crockett to Elvis Presley.

The Natchez Parkway ends just south of Nashville. This “walk through history” starts at Natchez, Mississippi linking the Cumberland and Mississippi River. Created by Native Americans, it has been used by European and American explorers. Today the 444 mile path is a National Park; it makes for a tremendous walking or riding trail with lots of interesting stops such as Jackson Falls, The Tobacco Farm and the modern double arched bridge which forms part of Highway 96. Fortunately the path is criss-crossed by roads so you do not have walk all the way! See where David Crockett began his career, see what life was like for plantation owners, and investigate the mysterious death of explorer Meriwether Lewis.

See what the Tennessee byways have to offer on and explore native culture along the Cherokee Heritage Trails. Immerse yourself in Civil War drama as you travel the Civil War Trails through small towns and at Shiloh, Chattanooga and other large battlefields.

Chattanooga’s Native American name comes from the pointed mountain which is just a 15-minute drive from downtown. This ‘rock – coming to a point‘ is Lookout Mountain where you’ll find the Incline Railway, Ruby Falls – a 145-foot waterfall deep inside the mountain – and the award-winning and geological wonder that is Rock City Gardens.

East Tennessee takes up about a third of the state and includes the Smokies. Highlights will include Knoxville’s Market Square, sailing the Lost Sea (America’s largest Underground Lake) or perhaps the WWII secret city where 75000 kept the making of the atomic bomb a secret. Visit Dollywood for thrilling roller coasters in Pigeon Forge on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains or historic Jonesborough, Tennessee’s oldest town which is also marked as the Storytelling Capital of the World. Walk along well-preserved Main Street and go back in time to the days of Daniel Boone, Andrew Jackson and David Crockett.

The Tennessee Whiskey Trail consists of 25 distilleries ranging from boutique-sized distilleries to large, well-known operations that span from East to West Tennessee. Along the Trail, visitors can get a taste of the history, tradition and novelty of Tennessee whiskey, as well as experience the rich landscapes, must-see landmarks and genuine Southern hospitality that embody the great state of Tennessee.


Fantastic!!! Left wanting more, and plan to return. Cannot fault any aspect of the holiday!!! Many thanks for all of your help - we had the best holiday ever!!

Mr Blyth - Travelled to New York