Tracks of the Deep South
Experience the musical cities of three Southern states, travel on historic railways, and experience the home of country music, the birthplace of Elvis, the liveliness of Beale Street, the enchantment of the 'Big Easy' and the sights of Atlanta.
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.
Highlights and Inclusions
- Flights from London Heathrow to Atlanta and return from Houston to London
- All rail and coach travel as described
- 12 nights' hotel accommodation (room only)
- Live music concert at the iconic Grand Ole Opry
- Visits to the Country Music Hall of Fame & Sun Studios
- Scenic journey on the Tennessee Valley Railway
- A tour of Jack Daniel's Distillery
- A visit to Graceland
- Mississippi jazz sightseeing cruise
- Guided tour of the Oak Alley Plantation
- Entrance and guide of Nasa Space Center plus a sightseeing tour of Houston
- Guided tour of Atlanta, New Orleans' French Quarter, and Nashville
- The services of a professional UK Tour Manager from start to finish
Day 1 - To Atlanta
We fly from London Heathrow to Atlanta and transfer to our hotel, the Holiday Inn & Suites Atlanta Airport South, for an overnight stay.
Day 2 - Atlanta & Chattanooga
A morning sightseeing tour explores this fascinating city. Entrance is also included to the Martin Luther King Center and Church which pays homage to the man himself as well as the civil rights movement which he was part 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. This evening, we check in to the Doubletree by Hilton Chattanooga Downtown.
Day 3 - Lynchburg & Jack Daniel's Distillery
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 of the distillery we continue to Nashville, staying for three nights at Gaylord Opryland Nashville. This evening, we visit the legendary Grand Ole Opry, one of the oldest and most iconic country music venues in the US. 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 - the likes of which we are treated to tonight. Enjoy live music performed on 'country's most famous stage'.
Days 4 & 5 - Nashville
Since the 1940s Nashville has been synonymous with Country Music, with its collection of recording studios and record labels 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 considered by many to be the true home of country music. 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.
Day 6 - Jackson & Memphis
Our journey through Tennessee continues to Memphis. En route we stop 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 Doubletree Downtown Memphis. The rest of your day is at leisure.
Day 7 - Graceland & Sun Studios
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 Studios, which lays claim to being the birthplace of rock 'n' roll, with a roster featuring Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash.
Day 8 - The City of New Orleans Train & The Oak Alley Plantation
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 enslaved here. One of the many sugar plantations that once lined the Mississippi River, Oak Alley retains the grandeur of its heyday, aided by restorations taken out after 1925. Featuring typical Greek-revival architecture, the approach to this antebellum property is particularly impressive, shaded by a canopy of bowed oak trees, thought to be 300 years old. Our guided tour reveals the history of the magnificent house, sometimes referred to as the 'Grande Dame of the Great River Road', along with its splendid grounds. Later, we continue by coach to New Orleans, where we stay at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel.
Day 9 - The French Quarter and a Mississippi Cruise
This morning's guided tour provides an introduction to one of the best-known parts of the city: the renowned French Quarter. Also known as the 'Old Quarter', the layout of this portion of New Orleans is as intended by 18th century French colonists, and offers an excellent example of the wrought iron lamps and elaborate balconies synonymous with the city's architecture. 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; perhaps head to Bourbon Street for a nightcap in one of the bars on New Orleans' oldest street, or slip into a jazz bar for a night of live entertainment.
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 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 rub shoulders here - from spicy Creole cooking to the fried meats that are synonymous with the south.
Days 11-14 - Houston & Homeward
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.
Train and Hotel Accommodations
Courtyard Atlanta Airport South, Atlanta
In Atlanta we stay at the 3-Star Courtyard by Marriot Atlanta Airport South, conveniently located just minutes from the airport. The hotel provides comfortable guest rooms and a great range of facilities, including a swimming pool, fitness centre, an à la carte restaurant serving American cuisine and a full bar.
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Chattanooga Downtown In Chattanooga, you will stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Chattanooga Downtown.
DoubleTree By Hilton Hotel Memphis Downtown, Memphis (2019 departures) Located in the heart of Memphis opposite the famous minor-league "Autozone Ballpark", the DoubleTree By Hilton Hotel Memphis Downtown is within easy walking distance of Beale Street - birthplace of the blues. The hotel has an outdoor pool and fitness room, and each room has air-conditioning, a telephone, television, tea and coffee making facilities and a hairdryer.
Sheraton Memphis Downtown Hotel, Memphis (2020 departures) The 4-Star Sheraton Memphis Downtown Hotel in Memphis is set in an attractive tower at the heart of Memphis and minutes away from the impressive Memphis Bridge. The tower itself offers magnificent views across the city below and the nearby attractions, while amenities here include an indoor heated pool and a fitness centre. Each room has complimentary WiFi, a hairdryer and a television.
Opryland Resort, Nashville (2019 departures) Located within walking distance of the Grand Ole Opry, the Opryland Resort in Nashville by Marriott is a modern, luxury hotel. Services for guests include a salon, concierge, game room, newspapers, safety deposit boxes, dry cleaning and access to the hotel's spa and fitness centre. Individual rooms feature high-speed Internet access, minibar fridge and coffee maker, telephone, TV with satellite, a safe and room service.
Clarion Downtown Nashville, Nashville (2020 departures) The 4-Star Clarion Hotel Nashville Downtown is our 4-Star hotel whilst in this area of Tennessee. With a wonderful location right near McFerrin Park in the centre of the city, this truly is a wonderful base to enjoy our time in. Here, you may enjoy a fitness centre, free breakfast, complimentary Wi-Fi, and a lounge and bar.
Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, New Orleans The Sheraton New Orleans Hotel is located on Canal Street, close to the French Quarter and Bourbon Street. The hotel has a bistro serving typical New Orleans cuisine, a bar offering a range of drinks and light snacks and a Starbucks. Leisure facilities include an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness centre with cardiovascular equipment, weights, steam rooms and saunas. (Please note: a fee applies for use of the fitness centre.) Rooms are air conditioned and feature a telephone, television, radio alarm clock, coffee maker, safe and a hairdryer. Many of the rooms offer views over the Mississippi or the French Quarter.
Crowne Plaza Houston River Oaks, Houston A short distance from the centre of the fourth largest American city, the 3-Star Crowne Plaza Houston River Oaks is our home in Houston, boasting comfortable, minimalist rooms with fantastic views across the city. Facilities here include an outdoor pool, a fitness room and a restaurant and bar. The rooms enjoy complimentary WiFi, a television and a fridge.
The City of New Orleans The City of New Orleans serves the 926-mile (1,490km) route between Chicago and the Great Lakes in the north to the Gulf of Mexico and the city of New Orleans in the south. On our Tracks of the Deep South tour, we join the train for just a section of this route from Memphis, Tennessee, through Mississippi and Louisiana to New Orleans - a journey of just under 9 hours, all in daylight. It is particularly apt, given the musical theme of our Tracks of the Deep South tour, that the City of New Orleans is the subject of a folk song of the same name written and performed by Steve Goodman. The song, which describes the journey made by the City of New Orleans, was subsequently covered by artists such as Arlo Guthrie, Johnny Cash, John Denver and Willie Nelson, amongst others.
Tennessee Valley Railroad The Tennessee Valley Railroad is a heritage railway company that was established in 1961. Unusually for a heritage railway, it was not formed to preserve a particular route or railway line from closing down. Initially it was designed to be a museum, preserving whatever railway equipment was donated to them. But in 1969, the company was given a 4-acre railway yard, as the Southern Railroad had built a new one, and so no longer had use for it. Using this site, the Tennessee Valley Railroad was able to construct an operational line for its steam locomotives, as well as a fine place to store and maintain them. A bridge had to be constructed to restore the track between the depot and the Cromwell Road terminus six miles away, which proved to be a lengthy process. The line was operational in 1977 and has been a great success, proving popular with all ages as an experience of the bygone age of steam. Our trip on the Tennessee Valley Railroad begins at the Grand Junction Station in Chattanooga, which is a modern replica of the station in Tuscumbia, Alabama. Hauled by either a steam or vintage diesel locomotive, we take the Missionary Ridge route on a 55 minute round trip to East Chattanooga Depot and back. The journey takes us through one of Tennessee's oldest railroad tunnels, which was constructed in the mid-19th century. We also witness the locomotive turning around using the Tennessee Valley Railroad's turntable at the East Chattanooga Depot and enjoy a guided tour of the maintenance and restoration shop where the railroad's historic locomotives are repaired, repainted and rebuilt.
Lookout Mountain Incline Railway Lookout Mountain played an important part in the American Civil War, as it was where the Union forces suffered one of their greatest defeats. So, by the late 19th century, Lookout Mountain had become a popular attraction for tourists, but it took a long time to ascend - horse drawn buggies were the quickest option, and they took about four hours. With the advent of railways, the idea of a mountain railway was proposed to reduce the time taken to reach the top. A direct route was planned and then built on; this ran for a mile from St Elmo to the summit. The Lookout Mountain Incline Railway was opened in November 1895, and has been a firm favorite with locals and tourists ever since. In 1911 the steam locomotives were replaced with diesel engines, but apart from that very little has changed on the line since its opening. Due to the tremendous scenery it passes, the railway is sometimes referred to as "America's most amazing mile". The line is also loved by railway enthusiasts as in places it reaches an incline of 72.7% - making in the steepest passenger railway in the world.
Dates & Prices
Select from the packages below to view prices for this tour.
|26th May 2019||Sold Out|
|1st September 2019||Sold Out|
|15th September 2019||Sold Out|
|6th October 2019||£2,695||Book Now|
|3rd November 2019||£2,595||Book Now|
|16th February 2020||£3,095||Book Now|
|19th April 2020||£2,895||Book Now|
|3rd May 2020||£2,995||Book Now|
|24th May 2020||£2,995||Book Now|
|7th June 2020||£2,995||Book Now|
|30th August 2020||£2,995||Book Now|
|13th September 2020||£2,995||Book Now|
|4th October 2020||£2,895||Book Now|
|1st November 2020||£2,695||Book Now|
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: Departs 26th May 2019 (Sold Out) 1st September 2019 (Sold Out) 15th September 2019 (Sold Out) 6th October 2019 (£2,695), 3rd November 2019 (£2,595), 16th February 2020 (£3,095), 19th April 2020 (£2,895), 3rd May 2020 (£2,995), 24th May 2020 (£2,995), 7th June 2020 (£2,995), 30th August 2020 (£2,995), 13th September 2020 (£2,995), 4th October 2020 (£2,895), 1st November 2020 (£2,695)
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Porterage is included at hotels and railway stations during the Tracks of the Deep South holiday. There are only a few occasions where you will need to handle your suitcases during the holiday. At railway stations the famous 'Redcaps' will load your luggage onto the train prior to departure. They will also take your luggage from the train on arrival at your destination. At hotels, 'bellhops' will ensure your luggage is taken to your room on arrival, and collected from your room prior to your departure.
Valid passport and proper documentation are required for this trip.
Prices are per person based on double occupancy. Prices are correct at the time of this web page going live; however are subject to confirmation at time of booking. Itinerary and accommodations may vary for 2020 departures, please speak with a rail specialist for details.
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