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Music Trails of the South

8 days Escorted

Virgin Holidays' view

Straight from the pages of a storybook, this trail takes you for romantic rendezvous in some of the South’s most page-turning cities.

One day you’ll be imagining yourself as The Notebook’s Noah and Allie as you glimpse the antebellum mansions and plantations around Natchez. Another as Rhett and Scarlett as you picture life in the Civil War ravaged streets of Atlanta. And another as A Streetcar Named Desire’s Blanche as you wander below the infinitely Instagrammable balconies of New Orleans’ French Quarter.

Of course this is music country too, with attractions that are irresistible to Presley groupies, Dolly devotees, and followers of anyone from BB King to Taylor Swift. Once you’ve checked off favourite guidebook fillers like Graceland in Memphis or the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, you can experience the cities’ soundtracks first hand, hearing them spilling out from the bars of Beale Street in Memphis, as you slink into the jazz rooms of New Orleans, or as you prop up the bar in the honky tonks of Nashville.

If there’s one thing that can vie against the music for attention in the South, it’s the food. You’ll see why when you’re tucking into overstuffed po-boys and sticky beignets in New Orleans, or finger-licking barbecue ribs in Rendezvous in Memphis — as seen on TV’s Man vs Food.

Itinerary

Day 1: UK – New Orleans

Flight from the UK to New Orleans. Welcome to New Orleans, Louisiana’s most important port city. Upon arrival at New Orleans International Airport meet an ATI representative at the airport who will assist you with pre-arranged seat-in transfer to your hotel. People from all over the world have been arriving in New Orleans since the Sieur de Bienville laid out the city’s streets in 1718. The city today is a unique blend of Spanish, French, Caribbean, African and Anglo-Saxon influences. This is obvious in the food, architecture and of course, the music. Your ATI Tour Director will be available to you in the evening to plan your stay in this charming and bustling city. Accommodation stay – 2 nights in New Orleans.

Day 2: New Orleans

The day is yours to immerse yourself in the charm and excitement of one of America’s most unique cities. Your ATI Tour Director will assist you with planning the day’s activities. Perhaps start the day with an early morning optional taking you to a famous Louisiana Plantation followed by a Jazz Brunch in the Quarter. Enjoy window shopping along Royal Street’s art galleries, or while away the day lazily sipping coffee in the Cafe Du Monde. Take a stroll along the Mississippi River or ride the St. Charles street car through the Garden District, an area known for its magnificent architecture.

Day 3: New Orleans – Baton Rouge - Natchez (Approximately 175 miles)

Today you will enter the state of Mississippi as you travel towards Natchez. Every year thousands of people come to Natchez for the pilgrimages that offer visits of the many Antebellum homes in the area. The gracious citizens open their homes, which have been lovingly restored, so that visitors can get a glimpse of the southern prosperous life. The town itself is a great example of late 19th century architecture. Enjoy a stroll through town and peek into the charming shops. Accommodation stay – 1 night in Natchez.

Day 4: Natchez – Mississippi River Valley – Memphis (Approximately 310 miles)

Leave Natchez and drive on to Memphis. As a large river port, it was one of the most important links in the cotton trade before the Civil War. Memphis is also known as the “Home of the Blues.” It was here that W. C. Handy first played his Memphis Blues and many other tunes that earned him the reputation of “Father of the Blues”. A brief city tour will take you to the city’s liveliest street, Beale Street, where the Blues and other types of music are played nightly in almost a dozen clubs. Travel along historic Front Street, known as Cotton Row in the days when cotton traders and merchants conducted business here. Look across the Mississippi River to Arkansas as Hernando De Soto did in 1541, as the first European to see the Big River. Of course, no visit to Memphis would be complete without a visit to Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley (optional). Accommodation stay – 1 night in Memphis.

Day 5: Memphis - Nashville (Approximately 213 miles)

Continue on to Nashville, known as the capital of country music. The city earned its title with the very first airing of the WSM Barn Dance radio programme, the forerunner of the Grand Ole Opry. The newly renovated Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville, once home of the Grand Ole Opry, the studios near Music Row, and Opryland itself attest to Nashville’s reputation as the most important city in country music. Accommodation stay – 2 Nights in Nashville.

Day 6: Nashville

Begin your day in this dynamic and thriving cultural and state capital of Tennessee with a morning city tour. While exploring the city’s landmarks, perhaps you’ll discover a new country music classic before they even hit the charts while visiting one of the many recoding studios around town. Perhaps enjoy dinner and a show in the evening* (optional).

Days 7: Nashville - Chattanooga – Atlanta (Approximately 267 miles)

Leaving Music City, we head to Chattanooga, home to the famous Choo Choo and which has received national recognition for the renaissance of its beautiful downtown and redevelopment of its riverfront. In the afternoon, our trails lead us back to Atlanta where you may want to check out one of the sites you were not able to explore at the beginning of the tour like Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca Cola or CNN Center* (optional). Accomomodation stay - 1 night in Atlanta.

Day 8: Atlanta - UK

Your tour ends upon check out from your hotel. Today we will transfer you to Atlanta airport by Supershuttle for your overnight flight home. Arrive into the UK the following day. We hope you have had a memorable journey!

Meals: this tour is based on a Room Only basis.

*Denotes local charge – Optional trips and excursions listed on the itinerary are bookable and payable locally.

This is a set tour itinerary, if you have booked any pre/post or optional tour arrangements please refer to your separate vouchers and final documents.

All hotels & locations are subject to change based on availability, final hotel list will be confirmed 25 days before departure.

*Denotes local charge – Optional trips and excursions listed on the itinerary are bookable and payable locally. This is a set tour itinerary, if you have booked any pre/post or optional tour arrangements please refer to your separate vouchers and final documents.

Dates & prices

The table below shows our escorted tour departure dates.

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Prices are described as Guide prices on this website and may be higher or lower due to availability and date of departure.

Prices are for departure dates listed, ex-UK and are per adult based on two adults travelling and sharing a standard room and with return economy flights where stated. Single room and flight prices are available at a supplement.

Please note some tours are subject to minimum numbers, please call our travel experts or visit your local retail store for full details as well as our latest prices.

Tour information

Please click here to download a pdf of the itinerary and additional tour notes

Pre/Post Tour information

If you would like to extend your trip or make the tour part of a longer holiday, we can easily add on a pre or post night stays for you. Our Sales Team will work with you to arrange the best connecting flights and book any additional hotel stays. Simply tell us what you’d like and we can arrange it.

Time difference

GMT -6 hours

Tour inclusions

  • Meet and greet at the airport
  • Pre-arranged (seat-in) airport transfers
  • Private air conditioned motorcoach transportation throughout
  • Accommodation and sightseeing as listed above
  • Service of an English Speaking guide

Tour exclusions

  • Flight upgrades and airport transfers in the UK
  • Insurance
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, tips & gratuities, video camera fees at monuments
  • The required ESTA application
  • Anything not detailed on the itinerary

Dining inclusions

No board included

Included activities

Tours listed in the itinerary.

Journey times

Please note due to long distances covered on some of the tours, there will be some days when the majority of the day will be spent on the coach, so just sit back and enjoy the view.

Group size

Maximum approximately 56 passengers (full coach).

Visa requirements

It's mandatory for everyone travelling to or transferring through the US, under the Visa Waiver Program, to obtain approval to travel no later than 72 hours prior to travel by completing an online process ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) scheme. Failure to obtain an ESTA could result in the passenger being denied boarding by the airline.

The cost of an ESTA is currently approx $14 per person and can be obtained by visiting https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov. Once completed & approved, the ESTA application is valid for two years and allows multiple visits without the need to reapply – simply update your details on the same website. Travelers can apply for an ESTA even if they have no firm plans to travel to the US.

If you need any further information on the ESTA or you have any other visa queries, then try the Visit USA Website atwww.visitusa.org.uk where further information on the scheme and up to date fee can also be found.

The ESTA is very similar to the automated visa that you purchase to enter Australia and is completely paperless.

Optionals

Tours will be listed in the itinerary. Should you choose to participate in an additional excursion, payment to the tour director can be made with cash, traveller’s cheques, or credit card. We encourage you to request and save your receipt. Please note that optional tours cannot be booked in advance, as many require a minimum number of passengers in order to operate.