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Tracks of the Deep South

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4.2 stars(12 reviews)
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Discover the soundtrack of the USA’s Deep South

You are viewing the 2022 itinerary. Select your departure year
20212022
14 days From £2,995 per person

2022 Tour code: DSG22

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.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - London and Atlanta

We fly from London Heathrow to Atlanta, the capital of Georgia, where we spend our first night.

Day 2 - Atlanta and Chattanooga

On Day 2, 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 Margaret Michell House, where the author wrote her Pulitzer Prize-winning 1936 novel, 'Gone with the Wind.'

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

Today we head through Tennessee to Lynchburg, the capital of Moore County. Moore County has been 'dry' since the days of prohibition, which makes its main attraction all the more extraordinary - it's the home of the world-famous 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.

Day 6 - Jackson and Memphis

Our journey through Tennessee continues. We stop at Jackson where there's free time for lunch, before continuing to the Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville. This series of museums is dedicated to the diverse history of the south; from its musical traditions to its infamous history of slave labour in the cotton fields. We complete our journey to Memphis later this afternoon, checking into our hotel.

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 this morning. 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 Valley 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, sometimes referred to as the 'Grande Dame of the Great River Road', along with its grounds. Later, we continue to New Orleans, where we check into our hotel for the next three nights.

Day 9 - The French Quarter and a Mississippi cruise

This morning's guided tour provides an introduction to one of the best-known areas of New Orleans: the renowned French Quarter. We stop at Café Du Mond for beignets, a delicious deep-fried choux pastry, and coffee. Following some free time, this afternoon 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 Mardi Gras, yet year-round there is a sense of spirited adventure and playfulness here. A wander through the colourful streets offers an excellent introduction to the eclectic architecture stretching back centuries.

Day 11 - To Houston

We leave New Orleans behind today and board our Amtrak service to Houston, the famous home of space travel.

Day 12 - Houston

We delve into the fascinating heritage today, as we visit NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Here, we see the historic Mission Control of 'Houston, we have a problem' fame, alongside displays dedicated to NASA's history.

Day 13 - Houston to London

We transfer to the airport today for our flight home.

Day 14 - London

We arrive back into London Heathrow 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.

Visa requirements
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.

Hotels

Atlanta Airport Marriott, Atlanta

Atlanta Airport Marriott, Atlanta

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Chattanooga Marriott Downtown

Chattanooga Marriott Downtown, Chattanooga

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Holiday Inn Houston Downtown, Houston

Holiday Inn Houston Downtown, Houston

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Crowne Plaza Memphis

Crowne Plaza Memphis, Memphis

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Holiday Inn & Suites Nashville Downtown, Nashville

Holiday Inn & Suites Nashville Downtown, Nashville

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AC Hotel by Marriott

AC Hotel by Marriott, New Orleans

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Trains

Amtrak Trains
Lookout Mountain Incline Railway

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London Hotels
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Reviews

4.2 stars4.2 / 5 · 12 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (7)
  2. 4 stars
    (2)
  3. 3 stars
    (2)
  4. 2 stars
    (1)
  5. 1 star
    (0)

Mrs J Simpson

3 stars

Submitted 23 Mar 2020

Not the usual standard experienced on a Great Rail Journey.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mrs S Kirk

5 stars

Submitted 22 Oct 2019

We thoroughly enjoyed Tracks of the Deep South. It certainly was action packed. We also met up with friends in Nashville on our free day. Our friends live just 50 mins out of Nashville

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mrs M Barea

5 stars

Submitted 14 Oct 2019

Really enjoyed the whole trip, tour manager very informative, organised and helpful. Loved Nashvillle, Graceland an New Orleans. The concernt at the Grand Ole Opry was fantastic! Opreyland hotel although not in the centre of Nashiville and we had to use a shuttle to get to the centre was stunning - well worth the distance, beautiful hotel with gardens, pools etc just beautiful. The shuttle was a bit expensive and some complained but Angie managed to get us a great deal. I would definatley stay in that hotel again. If you love the music totally recommend this trip of the music highway.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mrs L Porter

4 stars

Submitted 25 Apr 2019

Very enjoyable. The Houston hotel was a long way out of town and next to a 16 lane highway. Thanks to our tour manager James who kept us busy on the last day, when nothing else had been organised and no way to get anywhere.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mrs J Carman-Meakin

5 stars

Submitted 18 Apr 2019

Well organised, excellent tour manager, good variety of experiences.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mrs L Finn

2 stars

Submitted 21 Oct 2018

Hotels not great. Too much coach, not enough trains

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Show all 12 reviews
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Discover the soundtrack of the USA’s Deep South

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