Luxury holidays in Knoxville

Nashville might have the bright lights of Tennessee’s country music scene, but Knoxville isn’t one for reflected glory. In fact, the icon of its immensely popular (and profitable) World’s Fair in 1982 is its disco ball Sunsphere Tower. But, since that caught city-breaker’s eyes, its personality has only shone through more. You might find yourself carousing at a tailgater (or sailgater, if you’re by the Tennessee River); swimming in craft brews; burrowing into the past in the centuries-old forts, cabins and manors of notable citizens, or following Civil War trails; catching a film in the 1926 Knoxville Theater; or feasting on biscuits and gravy, fried catfish, and a herd’s worth of barbecue. It’s home to the largest Rubiks Cube and you’ll know the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame from its glowing ball, but Knoxville has natural wonders too: its zoo has the most successful red-panda breeding programme, and the city’s the gateway to the Smoky Mountains, Dolly Parton’s (and, ahem, Dollywood’s) home and some of America’s most heart-fluttering scenery.

When to go

Come for the dogwoods in spring and the foliage in fall – only come in high summer if you fancy fluttering a fan as you melt into a chair.

Getting there

  • Planes

    The McGhee Tyson Airport, a 20-minute drive from the city centre, has direct routes across the USA.
  • Automobiles

    Knoxville is a great stop at the tail end of an East Coast road trip if you’re transitioning to the South; Interstate 81 runs all the way down from New York (although you’ll want a few stops in between). Several major roads run through the city, so car is kind of the default transport mode, although there are pedestrianised parts. And, various scenic routes have been carved into the Smoky Mountains.