Day 1 : Arrive Nashville (3 Nights)
Good old fashioned southern hospitality and big smiles from locals will welcome you to 'Music City', otherwise known as Nashville. A place of pilgrimage for country music fans, Nashville has been attracting musicians, song writers and starlets since the 1920's and whilst country music wasn't born here, the city is certainly responsible for the evolution of the genre. The careers of some of the biggest names in music started right here in the basement studios of Music Row or on stage at the Grand Ole Opry, and that legacy is apparent all across town. Settle into your hotel and meet up with your Travel Director this afternoon, then the night is at your leisure.
Accommodation : Clarion Hotel Nashville Downtown Stadium
Day 2 : Nashville Sightseeing and Free Time
Get your bearings this morning on a tour that will take you to Riverfront Park, Tennessee State Capitol and the 132 acre Centennial State Park, where you'll be transported straight to Athens as you admire the Parthenon, a jaw-dropping exact replica of the original. Icons visited, you'll then delve into the incredible musical history of the city with a visit to Music Row, stopping off at Studio B where industry legends like Dolly Parton and the Everly Brothers have all recorded albums. No Nashville musical tour would be complete without a snoop around the Country Music Hall of Fame, which traces the history of country music and proudly displays priceless memorabilia from Hank Williams and Loretta Lynn. Scout out the tastiest hot chicken and biscuits this afternoon, cuisine synonymous with the south, then this evening you're off to the Grand Ole Opry to listen to a live recording of America's longest running live radio program.
Day 3 : Nashville Free Time
Ready to continue your country music education today? If so there's no better place to head than the Ryman Auditorium, where you can take a self-guided tour and watch music magic come to life through the 'Soul of Nashville' theatre experience. Jonny Cash fans will likely make a beeline to the museum that delves into the personal story of one of the best selling music artists of all time, whilst those interested in the history of the South could make a visit to the Belle Meade Plantation for a tour of the magnificent 1853 Greek Revival mansion. Tonight, it would only be right to experience a good old fashioned honky tonk under the neon lights of Lower Broadway.
Day 4 : Nashville – Memphis (3 Nights)
From one music obsessed city to another, you'll leave Nashville this morning and travel to Memphis. Home to the King who needs little introduction, music is the life blood of this toe tapping city with bluesy Beale St. a fine example of this. Arriving here you'll dive straight in with an orientation tour viewing the impressive Memphis Pyramid, the historic Peabody Hotel and the Lorraine Motel, perhaps the most significant place of the entire civil rights movement given the fact that Martin Luther King was assassinated here in 1968. With an evening free, you might want to check out our Optional Experiences. You could visit the Rock N' Soul Museum, which displays wonderfully curated exhibits telling the story of the birth of rock and soul music. Or you can groove on over to Beale Street for dinner at the Blue's City Cafe, a lively joint that serves up Southern treats accompanied by live music, naturally.
Accommodation : Holiday Inn Memphis-Downtown (Beale St.)
Day 5 : Memphis Sightseeing and Free Time
We hope you didn't peak too soon on last night's barbecue as this morning's Iconic Breakfast is another Southern family style dish. Likely rolling out of the classic 'greasy spoon' restaurant, today will be a special one for Elvis fans as you have the chance to make the pilgrimage to Graceland. Make a stop at Sun Studio where Elvis was first discovered back in 1954.
Day 6 : Memphis Free Time
It's your final day in Memphis today so be sure to make the most of it. Head to Peabody Hotel Drive at 11am to watch a time honoured tradition, the Peabody Duck March. Who knew that watching a group of pampered ducks waddle down a red carpet could bring so much joy? And yet it does, and has for nearly 100 years!
Day 7 : Memphis – Natchez
Follow the path of the famous Natchez Trace today as you travel alongside the Mississippi River. Originally used as a footpath by Native Americans, as a trail for the Ohio Valley farmers who were known as 'kaintucks' and a former slave route, 'Old Trace' is steeped in legend and makes for fascinating story telling. Arriving into Natchez, the rich history of the south will be further brought to life as you admire just some of the 668 antebellum homes that are scattered here. These large and elegant mansions were originally built as plantation homes and remained untouched throughout the plight of the South. This afternoon you'll have the chance to visit perhaps the finest example of an antebellum home, the grand and palatial Stanton Hall that was designed in the Greek Revival style and offers a glimpse into how a wealthy cotton merchant would have lived.
Accommodation : Hotel Vue
Day 8 : Natchez – New Orleans (3 Nights)
Heading south today, travel over the world's longest overwater bridge as you journey towards the 'Big Easy'. Famed for its Mardi Gras celebrations and diverse culture, everything in New Orleans is a little larger than life. The weddings are bigger, the funerals are louder, the food is richer, and every single day is a cause for celebration. Meeting up with a Local Specialist on arrival you'll head out on a city tour of the French Quarter, Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral and the Garden District, which boasts some seriously impressive houses, many of which are owned by the rich and famous. Learning more about NOLA's fascinating voodoo culture you'll also visit one of the city's many cemeteries, taking a peek around the elaborate stone crypts and mausoleums. Tonight it would only be right to sample some good old fashioned Creole cooking, and in our opinion there's only one place to go for the best food in town - the New Orleans institution, Dooky Chase.
Accommodation : Wyndham New Orleans-French Quarter
Day 9 : New Orleans Sightseeing and Free Time
Waking up with an extra NOLA induced spring in your step, today is entirely free for you to explore and perhaps try an Optional Experience. Head back to the cute cafes and decadent mansions of the Garden District, have your fortune told in Jackson Square or take advantage of the many activities we have on offer. Join our locally led walking tour of the lively and ever so beautiful French Quarter, learning the history of this charming neighbourhood before finishing off at the Court of Two Sisters restaurant for their famous Creole inspired Jazz Brunch. If the swamps and bayous of the Mississippi are of interest to you, why not join a boat trip through the Jean Lafitte National Park. Led by a native guide, spot 'gators, eagles, snakes and egrets as you cruise these lush waters. This evening we doubt you'll be able to resist the prospect of a steamboat jazz dinner cruise, accompanied by the sounds of the Grammy nominated band Dukes of Dixieland.
Day 10 : New Orleans Free Time
It's your final day in NOLA and the final day of your trip, so make sure you go out in style. Treat yourself to breakfast beignets at Cafe du Monde, then why not join an Optional Experience cooking demonstration to learn how you can recreate some of the city's tastiest dishes once you return home. The New Orleans School of Cooking is hosted by local chefs who share tips and stories, plus there are plenty of tasters to keep appetites at bay. History fans, why not opt in to visit the Oak Alley Plantation, a true shining star of the Antebellum era. Built in 1839 and boasting an alley of 28 magnificent old oak trees, the plantation even has a touch of Hollywood glamour to its name as the setting for movies including Interview with a Vampire and Primary Colours. Tonight, if you haven't already eaten one it would only be right to scout out the city's tastiest po boy.
Day 11 : Depart New Orleans
With the bluesy beats of Beale Street and the southern smiles of Nashville still fresh in your mind, your trip will come to an end today. A little heavier around the waistline but undoubtedly richer in memories, you'll say goodbye to your new friends as you head your separate ways. If you can't bear to leave NOLA just yet, you can also choose to extend your stay at the Wyndham hotel.