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Tracks of the Deep South

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14 days Sold out


Discover the soundtrack of the USA’s Deep South

Operated by our sister company Great Rail Journeys

Mobility Rating 2

2024 Tour code: DSG24

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.


What’s included


Day 1 - To Atlanta

Our holiday begins with a flight to Atlanta, the capital of Georgia, where we spend our first night.

Day 2 - Atlanta and Chattanooga

We visit Atlanta, a railway city that played a crucial part in the American Civil War. We begin at the Martin Luther King Center and Church, which pays homage to the civil rights movement he was a driving force of. We continue to the World of Coca Cola where we have time to explore before making 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 board the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway for a journey on one of the world's steepest rail-ways, taking in views across the sprawling city below as well as the striking mountains and river.

Day 3 - Lynchburg and Jack Daniel’s Distillery

We head to Lynchburg, the capital of Moore County. Moore County has been 'dry' since the days of prohibition, which makes its main attraction even more extraordinary - it's the home of the Jack Daniel's Distillery. After a tour and tasting of the iconic whiskey, we continue to Nashville, where we spend three nights. This evening we visit one of the city's 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 'country's most famous stage' - an excellent introduction to Nashville's music heritage.

Day 4 - Nashville

Today, we delve further into Nashville's musical history. 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.

Day 5 - Nashville

Today, you're free to explore Nashville at your own pace. Alongside its reputation as a music city, Nashville is also known for its vibrant neighbourhoods packed with great indie coffee shops, breweries and boutiques. Plus there's some incredible cuisine to be enjoyed across the city. While you can take your pick from a fantastic variety of international dishes, from ramen to ravioli, the meals that Nashville does best are traditional southern comfort foods. Head to a café and order up some fiery hot chicken, rich mac 'n cheese, or a plate of mouth-watering barbecue - you won't regret it.

Day 6 - Jackson and Memphis

Our journey through Tennessee continues. After a stop at Jackson, we continue to the Tennessee Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville. This series of museums are dedicated to the diverse history of the southern states; from the rich musical traditions to the area's infamous history of slave labour in the cotton fields. We complete our journey to Memphis later this afternoon, checking into our hotel in the city before an incredible Memphis-style BBQ dinner at a local restaurant. Well known for being cooked 'low n slow', this feast is served to us in a traditional family buffet way.

Day 7 - Graceland and Sun Studios

We begin our day by paying a visit to Graceland - the fantastic mansion that Elvis Presley called home. We have a fascinating insight into the King of Rock' n' Roll as we experience his pre-served living quarters and admire his car collections. This afternoon introduces us to the sights of Memphis' musical history. We visit Sun Studio, an iconic studio that lays claim to being the birthplace of rock' n' roll, and a place that both Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash used to record in during their careers.

Day 8 - The City of New Orleans train and the Oak Alley Plantation

We board Amtrak's City of New Orleans service. It's claimed that Blues music spread along this route by rail, and we trace the journey through Mississippi to Louisiana. The views from the train are captivating, as the pretty, floral towns of Brookhaven and McComb lead into the exotic Cajun swamps of the Louisiana Bayou. We arrive in Hammond and take a coach to the Oak Alley Plantation for a guided tour. We learn the history of the house and grounds which stands as a testament to the grand lives of Louisiana landowners and the awful suffering of those enslaved here. Later, we continue to New Orleans, where we check into our hotel for three nights.

Day 9 - The French Quarter and a Mississippi cruise

This morning's guided tour introduces us to one of the best-known areas of New Orleans: the renowned French Quarter. We stop at Café Du Mond for a beignet, a delicious, deep-fried choux pastry, and coffee. Following some free time, 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 day is free to soak up the splendour of New Orleans. Roaring with life, it's known as the south's party city thanks to the Mardi Gras celebrations that take place here. But there's a year-round sense of spirited adventure and playfulness. A wander through the colourful streets offers an excellent introduction to the eclectic architecture that stretches back centuries. Bourbon Street is the place to go for a lively atmosphere and great cocktails. There are some fantastic landmarks you might like to visit in the city too, including the stunning St. Louis Cathedral, North America's oldest cathedral.

Day 11 - To Houston

We leave New Orleans behind today and board our Amtrak service to Houston. Speeding through the countryside, we make our way to the famous home of space travel - Houston. Found in the larger-than-life US state of Texas, Houston is the home of Space Center Houston and mission control for many space expeditions.

Day 12 - Houston

We delve into the intriguing heritage of Houston today. We explore NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, a research institute and the bustling hub of human spaceflight activity for more than half a century. Here, we see the historic Mission Control of "Houston, we have a problem" fame, alongside displays dedicated to NASA's history. The centre holds the world's largest collections of spacesuits and moon rocks currently on public display and they are incredibly fascinating to discover.

Day 13 - Houston and home

Our explorations of the south come to an end today, as we transfer to the airport for our overnight flight home.

Day 14 - London

We arrive back in the UK 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.

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 dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We will write to you around 10 weeks before your departure date with the precise meeting times for your tour group.

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.


Atlanta Airport Marriott, Atlanta

Atlanta Airport Marriott, Atlanta

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DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Chattanooga Downtown, Chattanooga

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Chattanooga Downtown, Chattanooga

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Crowne Plaza Memphis Downtown

Crowne Plaza Memphis Downtown, 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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UK rail connections
London hotels