The soundtrack of Deep South USA
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.
We fly from London Heathrow to Atlanta and transfer to our hotel, the Holiday Inn & Suites Atlanta Airport South, for an overnight stay.
A morning sightseeing tour explores this fascinating city. Entrance is included to 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. The tour continues to Margaret Mitchell House, where the author wrote her Pulitzer Prize winning novel, 'Gone with the Wind'. Following free time for lunch, we transfer to Chattanooga, where we board the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway. This evening, we check in for one night at the Doubletree by Hilton Chattanooga Downtown.
Our coach takes us through Tennessee to Lynchburg, capital of Moore County. Moore County has been 'dry' since the days of prohibition, which makes its main attraction all the more extraordinary - it is the home of Jack Daniel's Distillery. After a tour and tasting at the distillery we continue to Nashville, staying for three nights at the Clarion Downtown Nashville. This evening, we visit the legendary Grand Ole Opry. Founded as a radio station in 1925, today this classic music venue still hosts the same regular broadcast, now with a popular extended format, in addition to regular stage shows. Tonight, enjoy live music performed on 'country's most famous stage', a wonderful introduction to Nashville's culture.
Since the 1940s Nashville has been synonymous with country music, with its collection of recording studios on 'Music Row' and the Ryman Auditorium, home of the Grand Ole Opry for three decades. A morning guided tour introduces you to the sights before we visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, the world's largest music museum, for an amazing 'who's who' in the world of country music.
Day 5 is free to explore Nashville under your own steam. Named the capital of Tennessee in 1843, today the city is still considered by many to be a haven and refuge for musicians of many styles. Perhaps delve into the rich music scene of the city, enjoy traditional southern food in a typical American diner, or soak up some 200 years of history at one of Nashville's historic sites, such as Belmont Mansion.
Our journey through Tennessee continues to Memphis, pausing en-route at Jackson, where you have free time for lunch and a spot of sightseeing - perhaps visit the Rock-a-Billy Hall of Fame. We then stop at the Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville, a series of museums dedicated to the 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, where we check in to the Sheraton Hotel Memphis. The rest of your day is at leisure.
This morning we pay a visit to the fantastic Graceland, Elvis' 14 acre mansion, and view his preserved living quarters, private aircraft and car collections. This afternoon introduces the sights of Memphis' extraordinary musical history. We visit Sun Studio, which lays claim to being the birthplace of rock 'n' roll, with a roster featuring Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash.
This morning we board Amtrak's City of New Orleans service, heading through Mississippi to Louisiana. It is claimed that the blues spread along this route by rail. The pretty, floral towns of Brookhaven and McComb lead into the exotic Cajun swamps of the Louisiana Bayou. We take the train as far as Hammond, from where we transfer by coach to the Oak Alley Plantation, for a guided tour. This restored house stands as testament to both the grand lives of Louisiana land owners and the suffering of those once enslaved here. Our guided 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 by coach to New Orleans, where we stay at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel.
This morning's guided tour provides an introduction to one of the best-known parts of the city: the renowned French Quarter. Following some free time to arrange lunch (perhaps sample some of the famous Creole cuisine), this afternoon we board a traditional paddle steamer, for a delightful sightseeing cruise along the Mississippi River. Our jazz 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. During our time on board, we enjoy a live performance from the ship's jazz band as a fabulous background to our historic cruise. After disembarking, you are free to enjoy your evening at leisure.
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 yearround there is a sense of spirited adventure and playfulness here. A wander through the colourful streets will offer an excellent introduction to the eclectic architecture stretching back centuries, whilst restaurants here offer a taste of hearty southern cuisine influenced by the various cultures that have rubbed shoulders over the years.
On Day 11, departing from New Orleans, we board our Amtrak service to Houston. We begin Day 12 in Houston with a guided tour of the city's main landmarks, including the Allen's Landing and NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. On Day 13, we transfer to the airport for our return flight to London, arriving the following day.
For our February 16th 2020 departure a grandstand ticket for the New Orleans Mardi Gras (or 'Fat Tuesday') celebrations is included in the price. Mardi Gras is one of the biggest and most colourful celebrations in America, with a plethora of parades, jazz, and food to enliven anyone who visits. Taking place on what is otherwise known as 'Shrove Tuesday' in the Easter season, this is one of America's oldest traditions, with the first one being held in 1699. Enjoy this incredible experience - it is certainly unforgettable.
Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.
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.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Enhancing your tour
Please note: This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 4 verified reviews
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.
Great holiday Tour Manager went above and beyond to provide information and assistance when and if needed
Well organised, excellent tour manager, good variety of experiences.
Great tour of exciting places. Some hotels below expectations and a couple of very long travelling days were the downsides. Overall a wonderful holiday.
Very well organised and lovely group of people
Great tour , some hotels not the standard I would expect
This holiday didn't meet the experiences we had on the Coast to Coast. Our tour manager James was brilliant which made the holiday. We spent more time on coaches than trains - and it is supposed to be 'Great Rail Journeys'!! Some of the hotels - especially Memphis not good and far away from the main activities. Some of the tour guides were of a much lower standard than the Coast to Coast. Bits were very good and I did enjoy it but just not as much. I also thought the last dinner wasn't very good and the venue for it awful in New Orleans. The New Orleans was perfect - a good quality hotel and central place. I felt your quality has gone down since last year....
Great holiday, with great Tour Mansger but can't give 5 stars as not every hotel was great.
Great itinerary, fabulous guide, terrific excursions
The soundtrack of Deep South USA