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The Ultimate South

15 Days Escorted

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The romance, rhythms, and rich cinematic and civil history of the American South come together on this feature-packed 15-day road trip.

Taking you from the civil war to the civil rights movement, you’ll start your Deep South discoveries in Atlanta, visiting the childhood home of Martin Luther King and Stately Oaks Plantation, which inspired local legend Margaret Mitchell’s epic Gone With The Wind.

The Road to Tara museum will transport you to the 19th century with its movie memorabilia and costumes – but you’ll feel it first-hand strolling through the South’s most beautiful cities, including Augusta, Savannah, Montgomery, and Charleston, where you could even have your own ‘Scarlet O’Hara moment’ with a carriage ride.

Scenes from other movies unveil themselves too – from the Avenue of the Oaks at Boone Hall Plantation, which appeared in The Notebook, to the Antebellum architecture of Beaufort, as seen in Forrest Gump.

The rich history of the South is more dramatic than any film though, and you’ll discover the cotton trading sites and stories of Savannah; tales of Rosa Parks’ bus boycott in Montgomery; and accounts of the 1960s civil rights marches in Selma.

Of course, this is the great American South – so be prepared to party too. With five nights in New Orleans, Nashville, and Memphis, you’ll have time to experience the region’s crowd-pulling honky tonks, blues bars, jazz clubs, and country music venues and to hit famous local sightseeing spots, like Elvis’s Graceland, the Chattanooga Choo Choo, and the Antebellum mansions around Natchez.

Itinerary

Day 1: UK– Atlanta

Fly from the UK to Atlanta. Arrive at Atlanta International Airport where you will meet an ATI representative who will assist you with pre-arranged seat-in transfer to your hotel. Meet your ATI Tour Director at the Hospitality Desk. Accommodation stay – 2 Nights in Atlanta.

Day 2: Atlanta

This morning, enjoy a city tour of Atlanta, including a visit to the boyhood home of Martin Luther King. You will also learn about another of Atlanta’s most famous residents, Margaret Mitchell, who wrote the historical novel that became a masaterpiece of America cinema, “Gone with the Wind”. Visit the Road to Tara Museum and Stately Oaks Plantation which was the inspiration for the plantation in the film. You will have the opportunity to see memorabilia from the movie including costumes worn by the stars Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh. In the evening, enjoy a welcome reception which will give you the opportunity to meet your fellow travelers.

Day 3: Atlanta – Augusta – Charleston (Approximately 315 miles)

Leave Atlanta today and head west to Augusta. Augusta is the second oldest city in Georgia and is home to the prestigious Masters Golf tournament. In the late afternoon, we will arrive in historic Charleston. In the evening, you may want to enjoy a romantic carriage ride or a sunset cruise* (optional) – your ATI Tour Director can assist with your plans. Accommodation stay – 1 Night in Charleston.

Day 4: Charleston – Antebellum Plantation – Savannah (Approximately 117 miles)

In the morning, enjoy a locally guided tour of Charleston. Walk the streets of Charleston’s preserved historic district, the best protected in the nation. In the afternoon, you may wish to participate in an optional excursion to historic Boone Hall Plantation with its famous Avenue of Oaks. The property has appeared in numerous American movies, among them “North and South”. En route to Savannah, stop on Port Royal Island and see Beaufort, South Carolina’s second oldest city. Its impressive Antebellum architecture has been the backdrop to a number of Hollywood movies, including “Forrest Gump”. Accommodation stay – 2 Nights in Savannah.

Day 5: Savannah

Today, enjoy the charm of Savannah, once the world’s largest cotton port. When cotton was king, Savannah controlled the prices of the world cotton market at her cotton exchange. Founder James Oglethorpe laid out the famed city squares. The Civil War destroyed a large portion of Georgia, but Savannah was spared. Numerous buildings around the tree-shaded squares are hundreds of years old; providing the setting for the popular novel “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”.

Day 6: Savannah – Montgomery (Approximately 340 miles)

Set course west across the state of Georgia and into the heart of the Deep South, Alabama. Upon arrival in Montgomery, Alabama’s capital city and a central backdrop of the American Civil Rights Movement, visit the Rosa Park Library and Museum. Learn about the Montgomery Bus Boycott inspired by Parks, which ignited the Civil Rights movement and changed American history. You may also wish to visit the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr. led the Boycott with his powerful sermons. Accommodation stay – 1 Night in Montgomery.

Day 7: Montgomery – Selma – New Orleans (Approximately 355 miles)

Depart Montgomery this morning to discover Selma, Alabama. Visit the Edmund Pettis Bridge where the historic March from Selma to Montgomery began and where the brutal events of Bloody Sunday too place. Experience another historic site of the Civil Rights Trail, the Brown Chapel AME Church before heading south through Mississippi to New Orleans, a city immersed in Creole culture. 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. Experience this melting pot aboard a Riverboat Dinner Cruise* (optional) and enjoy the rhythms of a Dixieland jazz band. Accommodation stay – 2 Nights in New Orleans.

Day 8: New Orleans

The day is yours to explore the charm and excitement of one of America’s most unique cities and for you to take in the French flavor & grandeur of New Orleans. May we suggest starting the day with a visit to a working plantation* (optional). Explore the French Quarter with its trademark wrought iron balconies overlooking the narrow cobblestone streets.

Day 9: New Orleans – Baton Rouge – Natchez (Approximately 172 miles)

This morning, we will travel to the capitol of Louisiana, Baton Rouge, and conduct a brief city tour. From there, we will travel via the historic Natchez Trace Parkway to Natchez. The parkway is a 444-mile drive through exceptional scenery and years of Native American and European history. Natchez is the oldest European settlement on the Mississippi River. Before the Civil War, wealthy plantation owners from Louisiana built magnificent Antebellum homes here because the area was considered safer from flooding. This afternoon, we will visit one of the homes and learn about the wealth of these 19th century millionaires. Accommodation stay – 1 Night in Natchez.

Day 10: Natchez – Mississippi River Valley – Memphis (Approximately 325 miles)

Leave Natchez and drive on to Memphis, home of ‘Sun Records’. 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.” 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. 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 11: 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 program, 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 12: 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).

Day 13: 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). Accommodation stay – 1 Night in Atlanta.

Days 14-15: Atlanta – UK

Morning at your leisure before departure. Your ATI Tour Director will be available to assist you in arranging you individual transfers to Atlanta Airport for your flight back to the UK. Arrive into the UK on day 15.

Dates & prices

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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.

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