Sounds of the South
The American South breathes music. This tour leads from the jazz-filled streets of New Orleans to French-speaking Lafayette where Cajun and zydeco music provide a soundtrack to those steamy Southern nights. In the Mississippi Delta you'll see the plantations where blues was born. From Memphis, one of America's most lively and colourful cities, the likes of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Otis Redding stormed the charts the world over with rock & roll and soul. Finally, you'll roll into Nashville, 'Music City USA', where country and bluegrass battle in the bars and clubs of Second and Broadway.
- New Orleans
Welcome to Nashville, ‘Music City USA’, home of country music and some of America’s biggest recording companies. Trawl the outstanding music venues of Second and Broadway or head out to the Grand Ole Opry, the ‘church’ of country music.
With two full days to explore Nashvillebe sure to visit the famous Ryman Auditorium, the new Country Music Hall of Fame or RCA’s Studio ‘B’ where Elvis Presley recorded over 200 of his best-loved hits. Or you might choose to wander Music Row hoping – like thousands before you – to be ‘spotted’ by a talent scout!
Continue South to Memphis, the place where blues came of age and where rock & roll was born. We recommend you park the car at your centrally-located hotel and walk over to Beale Street for a night of great music. Beale Street was a key arena in which bluesmen from BB King to Howlin’ Wolf made their names. BB King’s Blues Club is now one of Beale Street’s best clubs.
Tour Graceland and Sun Studios or visit the exceptional Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum in the new Gibson Guitar factory. Here you’ll learn about the incredible contribution Memphis has made to blues, soul and gospel music. Drive out to the Full Gospel Tabernacle where Al Green is the resident preacher or explore the city’s many musical sites. You might choose to visit the National Civil Rights Museum housed in the old Lorraine Motel, the place where Dr Martin Luther King was assassinated. It’s one the most moving and insightful museums in the States.
Probably America’s most significant blues town, illustrious one-time Clarksdale residents include John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters and Ike Turner. Visit the outstanding Delta Blues Museum and drive out to Stovall Plantation where Muddy Waters grew up. This evening you might tour the town’s many ‘juke-joints’ – authentic blues bars – or you could dine at Hollywood star and local Morgan Freeman’s restaurant.
Leave Clarksdale on Highway 61 – the ‘Blues Highway’ – to Clarksdale. On the way you might want to stop to find the graves of Charley Patton and Robert Johnson and Dockery Plantation where Charley Patton defined the Delta blues. Continue to Jackson, the state capital of Mississippi. You have one night here to explore Farish Street, where the likes of Sonny Boy Williamson II and Robert Johnson were discovered, and the city’s many blues clubs.
From Jackson take the I-20 West to the Mississippi River town of Vicksburg which played a big part in the American Civil War when in 1862 it was besieged by Northern troops for 47 days. Find the past well preserved in Civil War battle scenes and charming antebellum mansions, in quaint tucked away stores and cozy antique shops.
Perched 200 feet above the Mississippi River, Natchez is the oldest civilized settlement on the river. Once the richest town in the US, Natchez is still dripping in antebellum finery. Explore the many plantation houses and enjoy some of the best restaurants on this tour.
Lafayette, capital of the French-speaking Cajun South and home to Cajun and zydeco music. Get to know this sleepy, Southern town where music and dancing are part of everyday life.
Drive across swampy Louisiana on Highway 61 to New Orleans. Drop off your hire car Downtown and take a cab to your hotel in New Orleans Historic French Quarter. Spend the next few days getting to know the Big Easy and its many sights and sounds. Take a steamboat trip on the Mississippi and sample some of the fabulous Creole cuisine that New Orleans is world famous for. Spend three nights in New Orleans before flying home.
- Return flights from London (please ask about other departure airports)
- 14 nights hotel accommodation and room tax
- Fully insured compact car hire (larger vehicles are available)
- A travel pack containing a detailed day by day itinerary, driving instructions, maps & suggested excursions
Daily departures throughout the year.