Journey through America’s musical heartland, from the birthplace of jazz and the cradle of rock ‘n’ roll to the undisputed capital of country music.
This wonderful holiday is crammed full of highlights, and infused with the magic and mystique, sights and sounds of the South. Beginning in Georgia you’ll travel through the world of WC Handy, Robert Johnson, Fats Domino, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton and – of course – Elvis Presley. Stay in New Orleans, the laid-back Big Easy. See Tupelo, the King’s birthplace, and Memphis, where he made his home. And, finally, head to the guitar-pickin’, banjo-playing songwriters’ city, Nashville, Tennessee.
Day One – Fly to the USA
Meet your tour manager at the airport, and transfer to your first hotel, in the Alabama state capital, Montgomery. Spend the night in the city where country legend Hank Williams was laid to rest, and where a special museum celebrates his short, spectacular career. Rest and relax after your journey, and enjoy your first evening in the South.
Day Two – Travel to New Orleans
Today you’ll head south across Alabama, into Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast to the great city of New Orleans. You spend two nights in the Big Easy, but you should waste no time in soaking up the atmosphere of one of the most exuberant places on the face of the planet.
Day Three – Optional New Orleans tour and Manchac Swamp excursion
This morning’s optional guided tour is the perfect introduction to New Orleans. See the iron balconies and covered sidewalks of the iconic French Quarter, the brightly painted wooden houses of Tremé and the three spires of St Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square.
This afternoon, take the optional Louisiana Swampland excursion for a glimpse of the surrounding countryside and a taste of Creole life. Tonight, head back to the French Quarter to immerse yourself in the incomparable atmosphere of the place that gave the world jazz, a century ago, and where the sounds and spirits of Louis Armstrong and ‘King’ Oliver still live on in the many, many bars and clubs.
Day Four – From New Orleans to Tupelo and Memphis
Bidding farewell to New Orleans, you’ll travel north into Mississippi, cradle of the Delta blues and home to the likes of Robert Johnson and Sonny Boy Williamson. You’ll visit Tupelo, home of the tiny house in which Elvis Aaron Presley was born, in January 1935, (entry payable locally). You’ll then continue to Elvis’s beloved hometown, Memphis, the bustling city on the bank of the Big Muddy. As well as being forever linked with The King, Memphis boasts a musical heritage to match any city in the world. This evening, why not soak up the atmosphere of colourful Beale Street and its near endless choice of restaurants and bars, many of which offer live music?
Day Five – Optional Sun Studio and Graceland excursion
Don’t miss today’s optional, full-day Memphis Sounds excursion, which will include legendary Sun Studio where rock and roll was born, in 1951, with the recording of ‘Rocket 88’, and where music history changed forever three years later with Elvis’s live recording of Arthur Crudup’s ‘That’s Alright, Mama’.
From Sun Studio, you’ll make your way to Elvis Presley Boulevard to pay a visit to Graceland, the King’s home, last recording studio and final resting place. After a fascinating day, enjoy another evening in Memphis, perhaps sampling the pork ribs that have led to its unofficial position as The Barbecue Capital of America.
Day Six – From Memphis, Tennessee to Nashville
There’s a change of musical genres, today, as you journey east to Nashville – the country music capital of the world and your base for the next two nights. Home of the legendary Ryman Auditorium and the Grand Ole Opry, and to scores of hugely accomplished guitarists and songwriters, Nashville is every inch one of America’s foremost music cities. Why not head out, tonight, to catch some more live music?
Day Seven – Optional Country Music Hall of Fame and Studio B excursion
Our final optional excursion will take you to legendary Studio B – home to countless country hits and a galaxy of Elvis’s RCA recordings – and to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
You’ll have the afternoon free to experience still more of Nashville’s musical delights.
Day Eight – From Nashville to Chattanooga and Atlanta
Take a scenic drive south to Chattanooga (of “choo-choo” fame), a quintessential southern trading town beautifully set on the Tennessee River, before heading to Atlanta airport to check in for your flight back to the UK.
Arrive home, this morning, after an overnight flight and at the end of a wonderful journey through America’s musical heritage.
- Steamboat Dinner Jazz Cruise Excursion (Evening)£77pp
- New Orleans City Tour Excursion (Half Day) £22pp
- Bayou & Alligators Tour Excursion £25pp
- Memphis: Graceland & Sounds of the South Excursion (Full Day) £99pp
- Studio B & The Country Music Hall of Fame Excursion (Half Day) £49pp
- Visit Elvis’s birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi
- Beale Street in Memphis, the “home of the blues”
- Discover Nashville, the world capital of country music
- Spend two nights in New Orleans
- The atmosphere of New Orleans’ famous French Quarter
- Two nights in Memphis, in the Guest House at Graceland, right next to Elvis’s famous mansion
- Stay in Montgomery, the resting place of country legend Hank Williams
- Journey through the sleepy countryside of Alabama