We fly from London Heathrow to Atlanta.
A morning guided sightseeing tour takes the American Civil War as one of its themes. Entrance is included to the Cyclorama & Civil War Museum, which features the world's largest oil painting and the historic locomotive, Texas. The tour continues to Margaret Mitchell House, where the author wrote her Pulitzer Prize winning novel, 'Gone with the Wind'. That afternoon, we transfer to the station. Our destination is Chattanooga, where we stay for two nights at the Chattanooga Marriott Downtown Hotel.
- Cyclorama & Civil War Museum
- Margaret Mitchell House
Today we experience a ride on two of Chattanooga's railways, trundling through the countryside on the restored heritage Tennessee Valley Railroad before experiencing 'America's Most Amazing Mile', the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway. Built in 1895 to service a hotel at the top of the mountain, part of the track has an incline of 72.7%, giving it the distinction of being the world's steepest passenger railway.
- Lookout Mountain Incline Railway
- Chattanooga’s railways
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, and a tasting of some of the produce, we continue to Nashville, staying for two nights at The Sheraton Music City, in easy reach of the honky-tonk bars and live Country music scene. This evening there is an optional excursion to the legendary Grand Ole Opry, one of the oldest and most iconic country music venues in the US.
- Jack Daniel’s Distillery
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. This evening we enjoy a true highlight of the trip, an exclusive dinner talk and performance by a member of Johnny Cash's family, as part of the Cash Family Experience.
- Country Music Hall of Fame
- The Cash Family Experience
Our journey through Tennessee continues to Memphis. En route we stop at Tupelo to visit the birthplace of Elvis Presley. A fascinating insight into the humble beginnings of Elvis,the town features a museum, the Presley family's two-room house and the restored church building where Elvis' love of Gospel music was formed. Later we arrive in Memphis for a three-night stay at the Crowne Plaza.
- visit the birthplace of Elvis Presley
Today 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. By contrast, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music covers another of the city's musical phenomena. Founded in the neighbourhood known as Soulsville USA, Stax was responsible for launching the careers of great soul artists such as Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett. In the afternoon we visit Graceland, Elvis' 14 acre mansion, and view his preserved living quarters, private aircraft and car collections.
Day 8 is free for you to explore Memphis independently. Beale Street's live music is a must as the evening draws in. It is here that Blues from the delta found a home before moving on to influence the world's musical tastes.
- Free Day
- Sun Studios and Stax
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. Following our arrival into the city of New Orleans, we transfer to our hotel for three nights, the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel.
This morning's guided tour provides an introduction to this fascinating city. In the afternoon we go a sightseeing cruise along the Mississippi before enjoying a creole dinner at the Tujaques restaurant. Day 11 is spent at leisure. The 'Big Easy' boasts unique architecture, influenced by Spanish, French, Creole and American styles, representative of the cultural melting pot that the city has become. On Day 12, departing from New Orleans, we board our Amtrak service to Houston, staying at the Crowne Plaza River Oaks Hotel.
- Guided City Tour
- Day 11 - Jazz cruise along the Mississippi
We begin our day 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. That afternoon, we transfer to the airport for our return flight to London, arriving the following day.
- Scheduled flights
- Guided City Tour
- Allen’s Landing
- NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center