Call to book01904 521 936
Tour Search

Tracks of the Deep South

4.2 stars(66 reviews)

Discover the soundtrack of the USA’s Deep South

You are viewing the 2023 itinerary. Select your departure year
14 days From £2,695 £2,595 per person
Worldwide Offer

Save up to £500pp on selected 2023 Worldwide holidays when you book by 19th June 2023.

View terms and conditions

2023 Tour code: DSG23

About the tour

Historic tracks lead us on a rail tour through the heartland of great American music - from Nashville, home of Country Music, to the Blues, Soul and Rock 'n' Roll of Memphis and the jazz of New Orleans - on this culture-packed adventure.

Unforgettable experiences

Lookout Mountain Incline Railway
Lookout Mountain Incline Railway
Enjoy a journey on the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway, one of the world's steepest passenger railways which has been running since 1895.
Pay a visit to Graceland, home to Elvis’ 14-acre mansion - view his preserved living quarters and private aircraft collection.
Whiskey Tasting
Whiskey Tasting
Enjoy a guided tour and tasting of whiskey at Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg.
New Orleans
New Orleans
Discover Café Du Monde in New Orleans' French Quarter and try beignets and coffee on a guided sightseeing tour.

What’s included


Day 1 - To Atlanta

Our holiday begins with a flight to Atlanta, the capital of Georgia, where we spend our first night.

Day 2 - Atlanta and Chattanooga

We explore Atlanta, a railway city that played a crucial part in the American Civil War. We begin by visiting the Martin Luther King Center and Church, which pays homage to the man himself as well as the civil rights movement he was a driving force of. We continue to the World of Coca Cola where you have time to explore. After lunch, we make our way to the city of Chattanooga. Set on the banks of the Tennessee River and surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains, Chattanooga is nicknamed the 'Scenic City'. We have the chance to admire this stunning scenery as we board the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway for a journey on one of the world's steepest railways, taking in views across the sprawling city below as well as the striking mountains and river. We continue to our hotel for the night.

Day 3 - Lynchburg and Jack Daniel’s Distillery

We head to Lynchburg, the capital of Moore County. Moore County has been 'dry' since the days of prohibition, which makes its main attraction even more extraordinary - it's the home of the Jack Daniel's Distillery. After a tour and tasting of the iconic whiskey at the distillery, we continue to Nashville, where we spend three nights. Nashville is a vibrant city famous for its rich country musical legacy, and this evening we visit one of its most famous institutions, the legendary Grand Ole Opry. Founded as a radio station in 1925, today this popular music venue still hosts the same regular broadcast, in addition to stage shows. We enjoy an evening of live music performed on what's often referred to as 'country's most famous stage' - an excellent introduction to Nashville's music heritage.

Day 4 - Nashville

We delve further into Nashville's musical history today. The city has been synonymous with country music since the 1940s, thanks to its collection of famous recording studios on 'Music Row' and the Ryman Auditorium, home of the Grand Ole Opry for three decades. A morning guided tour introduces us to the main sights of the city before we visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, the world's largest music museum. Here, we're immersed in the sounds and history of country music, as we learn the story of the genre through fascinating artefacts, sound recordings, and vintage video.

Day 5 - Nashville

Today, you're free to explore Nashville at your own pace. Alongside its reputation as a music city, Nashville is also known for its vibrant neighbourhoods packed with great indie coffee shops, breweries and boutiques, and there's some incredible cuisine to be enjoyed across the city. While you can take your pick from a fantastic variety of international dishes, from ramen to ravioli, the meals that Nashville does best are traditional southern comfort foods. Head to a café and order up some fiery hot chicken, rich mac 'n cheese or a plate of mouth-watering barbecue - you won't regret it.

Day 6 - Jackson and Memphis

Our journey through Tennessee continues. We make a stop at Jackson where there's free time for lunch, before we continue to the Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville. This series of museums is dedicated to the diverse history of the southern states; from the rich musical traditions found here to the area's infamous history of slave labour in the cotton fields. We complete our journey to Memphis later this afternoon, checking into our hotel in the city.

Day 7 - Graceland and Sun Studios

We begin our day by paying a visit to fantastic Graceland, the mansion that Elvis Presley called home. We have a fascinating insight into the 'King of Rock' n' Roll' as we view his preserved living quarters, as well as his car collections. This afternoon introduces us to the sights of the extraordinary musical history of Memphis. We visit Sun Studio, an iconic studio that lays claim to being the birthplace of rock' n' roll, and once boasted a roster that featured both Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.

Day 8 - The City of New Orleans train and the Oak Alley Plantation

We board Amtrak's City of New Orleans service. It's claimed that the blues spread along this route by rail, and we trace the journey through Mississippi to Louisiana. The views from the train are fantastic, as the pretty, floral towns of Brookhaven and McComb lead into the exotic Cajun swamps of the Louisiana Bayou. We alight in Hammond and take a coach to the Oak Alley Plantation for a guided tour. The restored house stands as a testament to the grand lives of Louisiana landowners and the awful suffering of those enslaved here. Our tour reveals the history of the house and grounds. Later, we continue to New Orleans, where we check into our hotel for three nights.

Day 9 - The French Quarter and a Mississippi cruise

This morning's guided tour introduces us to one of the best-known areas of New Orleans: the renowned French Quarter. We stop at Café Du Mond for a beignet, a delicious, deep-fried choux pastry, and coffee. Following some free time, we board a traditional paddle steamer for a delightful sightseeing cruise along the Mississippi River, taking in the site of the Battle of New Orleans. Our cruise takes place on board an authentic steamboat and offers a view of the 'Big Easy' that only a vantage point on the river can provide. After disembarking, you're free to enjoy your evening in this exciting city.

Day 10 - New Orleans

Your entire day is free to soak up the splendour of New Orleans. Roaring with life, the 'Big Easy' is known as the south's party city thanks to the Mardi Gras celebrations that take place here, yet there's a sense of spirited adventure and playfulness here year-round. A wander through the colourful streets offers an excellent introduction to the eclectic architecture that stretches back centuries. Bourbon Street is the place to go for a lively atmosphere and great cocktails. There are some fantastic landmarks you might like to visit in the city too, including stunning St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in North America.

Day 11 - To Houston

We leave New Orleans behind today and board our Amtrak service to Houston, speeding through the countryside on our way to the famous home of space travel. Found in the larger-than-life US state of Texas, Houston is the home of Space Center Houston and mission control for many space expeditions.

Day 12 - Houston

We delve into the intriguing heritage of Houston today. We visit NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, a research institute and the bustling hub of human spaceflight activity for more than half a century. Here, we explore the visitor centre, seeing the historic Mission Control of "Houston, we have a problem" fame, alongside displays dedicated to NASA's history. The centre houses the largest collections of spacesuits and moon rocks currently on public display in the world and is truly fascinating to discover.

Day 13 - Houston and home

Our explorations of the south come to an end today, as we transfer to the airport for our overnight flight home.

Day 14 - London

We arrive back in the UK today, where your tour concludes.

Additional information

Mardi Gras

The first origins of Mardi Gras can be traced back to medieval Europe, travelling Italy and then onwards to France. On 2nd March 1699, French- Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville arrived on a plot of land south of New Orleans - now the small town of Mobile - and named it "Pointe du Mardi Gras" when he realised it was the eve of the festive holiday. The Carnival of Mardi Gras refers to the period of feasting and fun that begins on the Christian Feast of the Epiphany (6th January) and ends on Mardi Gras (also known as 'Fat' Tuesday), the final day of revelry before Ash Wednesday when Lent begins. When visiting New Orleans, the festival is in full swing, with floats making their way through the streets, and the vibrant colours of purple, green, and gold - standing for justice, faith, and power.

You can experience Mardi Gras in full swing on our Feburary Departures.

Mardi Gras
Please note

Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.


Atlanta Airport Marriott, Atlanta

Atlanta Airport Marriott, Atlanta

View hotel

Chattanooga Marriott Downtown

Chattanooga Marriott Downtown, Chattanooga

View hotel

Holiday Inn Houston Downtown, Houston

Holiday Inn Houston Downtown, Houston

View hotel

Crowne Plaza Memphis

Crowne Plaza Memphis, Memphis

View hotel

Holiday Inn & Suites Nashville Downtown, Nashville

Holiday Inn & Suites Nashville Downtown, Nashville

View hotel

AC Hotel by Marriott

AC Hotel by Marriott, New Orleans

View hotel


Amtrak Trains
Lookout Mountain Incline Railway

Enhance your holiday


Upgrade your flight to World Traveller Plus
London Hotels
UK rail connections


4.2 stars4.2 / 5 · 66 reviews

  1. 5 stars
  2. 4 stars
  3. 3 stars
  4. 2 stars
  5. 1 star

J Geary-Andrews

4 stars

Submitted 8/Jun

Having previously travelled with GRJ to Stresa in Italy, our expectations were high. However, we did not feel the overall quality of the tour was as good as we had hoped. In particular, we felt the hotels were only average, but in Memphis the hotel was not in a particularly nice area, and the staff attitude was not very friendly. The overall Itinerary was as advertised and therefore as expected, including limited rail journeys, albeit each being relatively slow and not particularly scenic, and each taking up a major part of the day. Our tour guide, Christine, was very conscientious and had clearly done her 'homework' and preparation on all the places we visited. We felt tipping our guide should have been left up to us rather than GRJ's 'guidance', which several people we spoke to thought was more than they might have otherwise considered fair. Unfortunately, we would probably not recommend this tour based on our personal experience, and did not consider the overall tour as great value.

Collected by Trustpilot

A Noble

1 stars

Submitted 8/Jun

Good trip but hotels certainly let this adventure down

Collected by Trustpilot


5 stars

Submitted 3/Jun

Trip covered all that could be covered to experience the Deep South. I got Music, Civil war, current culture as well. All thinking done for me and arrangements done well. Group made appropriate efforts for each other which enhanced the trip.

Collected by Trustpilot

Mr Davies

4 stars

Submitted 25/May

Have already left a review. Thank you

Collected by Trustpilot

L Reeves

5 stars

Submitted 22/May

Great trip and our tour guide Kate was excellent. Highly recommended.

Collected by Trustpilot

S Dicks

5 stars

Submitted 22/May

This trip was full on and did everything it said on the tin, our tour guide, Kate was excellent and knowledgeable. Friendly group and we really enjoyed all the visits on the itinerary. The tour was very well planned.

Collected by Trustpilot

Show 6 more reviews

Tailor made for you

Customise this tour with Great Rail Journeys Independent

Related inspiration from our journey blog