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KENTUCKY

Kentucky Tourism in the UK

Welcome to Kentucky

Welcome to the official UK tourism site for the State of Kentucky. Here you will find all the information you need to plan a holiday in the Bluegrass State from attractions and festivals to fly-drive ideas and much more.

It could be argued that Daniel Boone was the first to appreciate the tourism potential of the Bluegrass State. When he crossed Cumberland Gap from Virginia into Kentucky in 1767, he was impressed by what he saw – towering peaks of the Appalachians, vast stands of virgin forest, shimmering lakes and waterways plus a wealth of resources. Boone knew that where he went, others would follow.

Top 10 for Kentucky

  • Muhammad Ali Centre in Louisville is a multicultural centre with an award-winning museum dedicated to the life of Muhammad Ali.
  • Mammoth Cave National Park is the world's longest known cave system, with more than 400 miles explored - 365 miles of the five-level cave system have been mapped and new caves are continually being discovered.
  • The Corvette Museum in Bowling Green has been at the assembly plant since 1981 and the facility has remained the exclusive home of the Corvette for over 30 years. Known around the world as America’s sports car, the Corvette exemplifies the definition of innovation.
  • Follow the Kentucky Bourbon Trail with its rich and storied history dating back 200 years. We encourage you to relax, take your time and savour the experience. Just as the fine Kentucky Bourbon takes time to reach perfection, you’ll want to plan accordingly!
  • The International Bluegrass Museum is based in Owensboro and is the only museum of its kind dedicated to preserving and showcasing Bluegrass Music.
  • Of course the Kentucky Derby!
  • Highway 23, the ‘Country Music Highway’, is 144 miles along the state’s eastern part. It stretches from Greenup County to the north to Letcher County to the south. This National Scenic Byway provides an introduction to many musical legends who have emerged from these ancient Appalachian Hills.
  • Known as the "Niagara of the South," the thundering waters of Cumberland Falls are 65 feet high and 125 feet wide. Cumberland Falls is dramatic day or night but it's only at night during a full moon that you can see the Moonbow.
  • As the Horse Capital of the World, Kentucky provides several Horse Farm Tours.
  • What happened in Newport, stayed in Newport! The Newport Gangster Tour explores the streets where the mob made their millions and gamblers lost their lives. Did you know the Tommy Gun was invented in Northern Kentucky?

What is Kentucky famous for?

  • You will find the Horse Capital of the World in Lexington.
  • Makers of 95% of the world’s Bourbon.
  • Longest cave system in the world at Mammoth Cave National Park.
  • The birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, Muhammad Ali and Bill Monroe - the Father of Bluegrass Music.
  • Kentucky also host large music festivals like ROMP and Forecastle, and food festivals including the International BBQ Festival in Owensboro, Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown and the World Chicken Festival in London.
  • Kentucky’s outdoor adventures are spectacular from large lakes for boating and fishing to 12,000 miles of trails for hikers, bikers and equestrians.

The Horse Capital of the World

  • Get up close and personal with over forty breeds of horses at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.
  • Visit retired champions at Georgetown’s Old Friends Farm for Retired Thoroughbreds.
  • Take in the Track Kitchen and watch the morning workouts at the Keeneland Race Track in Lexington.
  • Explore the history and pageantry of the greatest two minutes in sports at the Kentucky Derby Museum and Churchill Downs, Louisville.
  • If you like to mount up and take a ride, stables can be found in communities throughout the state.
  • Many horse farms allow tours but call ahead to make arrangements. Thoroughbred farms are clustered in the Bluegrass Region in and around Lexington, while farms breeding and training American Saddlebreds, the stars of the show ring, are mostly located in Shelby County.
  • Top events include race meets at all of Kentucky’s five thoroughbred tracks, the Lexington Junior League Horse Show, Shelbyville Horse Show and the World Championship Horse Show held annually at the Kentucky State Fair.

The Bourbon Experience

  • Follow the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® or visit stops along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® Craft Tour. 
  • Explore another bourbon story with a visit to Buffalo Trace Distillery, the oldest continuously producing distillery located on the banks of the Kentucky River in Frankfort.
  • Book a tour of Kentucky Cooperage, Lebanon, where new charred oak barrels are crafted for bourbon production.
  • Take in the nightlife along the Urban Bourbon Trail in Louisville.
  • Visit in September to be part of the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in the Bourbon Capital of the World, Bardstown.

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Discover Arts and Music

  • Both Berea and Paducah are known for their arts districts and you can visit with artisans in their studios.
  • The Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea and Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft in Louisville showcase works by some of Kentucky’s top artisans.
  • The National Quilt Museum in Paducah and Owensboro’s Museum of Fine Art are two of Kentucky's top art museums, but smaller museums can also be found throughout the state.
  • Renfro Valley Entertainment Center presents live music shows, including country music superstars, from April-December. Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour tapes before a live audience in Lexington and many towns feature musical jam sessions on a regular basis.
  • Kentucky also plays host to major music festivals including ROMP: Bluegrass Roots and Branches Festival in Owensboro, Master Musicians Festival in Somerset and Abbey on the River and Forecastle Festival in Louisville.

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Explore the Great Outdoors

  • With an accessible location, diverse landscapes, rolling streams, large lakes and many national and state parks, Kentucky offers abundant opportunities for the outdoor adventure of your choice.
  • Kentucky Trail Towns, located along or near major trail systems, are a great place to begin your adventure.

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Food and Drink

  • Travel on My Old Kentucky Dinner Train, based in Bardstown and Lexington, to enjoy a gourmet meal in a fine dining atmosphere - with a great view too!
  • Western Kentucky BBQ, most often made with chicken, pork or mutton, is barbequed 'pit' style as it's slow roasted over wood coals that give the meat a perfect smoky flavour and tenderise it.
  • Kentucky is seeing a rise in craft beers, with microbreweries around the state and new ones popping up all the time.
  • Louisville's Urban Bourbon Trail lists places from historic hotel properties that once served Kentucky whiskey to the likes of Al Capone, to cosmopolitan scenes where urban trend setters are still making the retro drinks.
  • Farm to table dining is popular in Kentucky, simply meaning the food you're eating came from a local farm.

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