Living Victorian village on Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau
Originally founded in 1880 as the Rugby colony by British author Thomas Hughes, Historic Rugby, Inc. is a 501(c)3 Nonprofit Organization established in 1966. Our aim is to protect, preserve, and interpret the natural and man-made, historic resources and heritage of the British Isles and Appalachia. Stay and indulge in the bliss of a living Victorian village and lodging in Tennessee.
Stay & Explore
Take a tour of Rugby and learn its story, visiting the historic buildings, including the first free public library in the south. (Tours resume March 16, 2023, after winter closing.)
We offer regular tours and those by reservation for groups of 10 minimum. (Group tours available during winter by prior booking.) The tours begin at the Rugby Visitor Centre & Theatre with a FREE 22-minute screening of the award-winning historical film - The Power of a Dream.
The tour includes a guided walk to close-by historic buildings, including the 1882 Thomas Hughes Free Public Library, 1884 Kingstone Lisle (the founder’s home), 1887 Christ Church Episcopal, and the 1907 Schoolhouse with its exhibits.
When you visit Rugby you'll get to experience a wide range of events -- festivals, car shows, teas, hikes and more. We also offer games like monthly Irish Road Bowling along Rugby Parkway.
You can also attend several workshops throughout the year ranging from outdoor topics such as fern identification and geology to special crafts workshops featuring white oak Basketry or Victorian quilt squares.
Check our constantly updating calendar under Events for listings.
Stay in Historic Lodging
Rugby has beautiful, historic lodgings, with period furnishings plus others offering a rustic cabin feel and amenities like Wi-Fi. All have kitchens.
We have five different facilities: beautiful historic Newbury House, a large Victorian-era inn in use since the 1880s; the 3-bedroom Percy Cottage, which offers all the comforts of home; the rustic Pioneer Cottage, also 3 bedrooms, where our founder stayed in 1880; and two new additions, Ivy Cottage and Ivy Annex, both booked exclusively through AirBnB. To book the rest, just click below.
Hiking and Outdoor Activities
Love hiking? We have ten beautiful hiking trails of varying difficulty that begin in Rugby and lead into the Rugby State Natural Area & the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area.
There are also many outdoor activities. For instance you can go swimming or wading at the Gentlemen’s Swimming Hole or visit the scenic Meeting of the Waters, a favorite of early colonists. These two trails are part of the Big South Fork national park and are accessed by the Laurel Dale Cemetery road.
Also in Rugby is the Rugby State Natural Area featuring the Massengale Homeplace that predated Rugby and its trail.
Hours of Operation
We have many other attractions close by that can be mixed in with a visit to Rugby. Our Area Attractions page has more detailed information.