The heart & soul of the South
Combining the magic and musical wonders of the 'Southland' with the 'Big Country' sights and sounds of Lone Star State Texas, this wonderful escorted tour, where each day brings a host of new delights, takes in Jazz City New Orleans, Country Music capital Nashville, Elvis' beloved Memphis and 'cattle-town' Fort Worth, before ending with a two-night stay in Tex-Mex capital San Antonio.
WHAT DOES THE PRICE INCLUDE?
Day One: Fly to Houston
Fly to Houston, meet your Tour Manager and transfer to your hotel in the Galleria area for your first overnight stay in the USA.
Day Two: Optional Steamboat Dinner Jazz Cruise
Head east towards Louisiana and 'Creole Country' to the great city of New Orleans, the unmistakable Big Easy. Enjoy your first evening in this intoxicating place, perhaps joining our optional Steamboat Dinner Jazz Cruise.
Day Three: Optional tours of New Orleans and Louisiana Swampland
This morning's optional guided city tour introduces the Big Easy, and will include the famous French Quarter of time-warped, iron-balconied buildings centred on Jackson Square.
This afternoon, join our optional Louisiana Swampland excursion to explore the surrounding countryside, and later head back to the 'Quarter' to enjoy the night time atmosphere of the place that gave the world jazz.
Day Four: Journey to Muscle Shoals
Head north today through sleepy Alabama to our next stop, Muscle Shoals. This town is home to Rick Halls' Fame Studios, which put the likes of Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin on the map, as well as the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, where Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and the Rolling Stones all record.
Day Five: Included visit to the Rick Halls' Fame Studios
This morning we will visit the Rick Halls' Fame Studios, the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio and the entertaining Alabama Music Hall of Fame, before travelling on to Nashville, the undisputed world capital of country music.
Day Six: Optional excursion to Studio B
An optional excursion will introduce the legendary Studio B - where countless country standards and a galaxy of Elvis's RCA hits were recorded - and to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
This afternoon, head to the great city of Memphis on the bank of the Mississippi. Our base is the new and impressive Guest House at Graceland, located right next to the Mansion. This evening, perhaps soak up the party atmosphere of Beale Street.
Day Seven: Included visit to Sun Studio and Graceland
Today's full-day Memphis Sounds excursion will include a visit to legendary Sun Studio and to Elvis's beloved Graceland, home and final resting place of The King. This evening, why not try some delicious pork ribs? After all, Memphis is America's barbecue capital!
Day Eight: Travel into Arkansas
Enjoy a free morning exploring the heritage of Elvis's hometown, perhaps visiting the Stax Records Museum or the more sombre Museum of Civil Rights.
Later, travel west into Arkansas and to Little Rock, home to the William J Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, which honours the work of the state's most famous son. Later, why not visit the restaurants and bars of the colourful River Market District?
Day Nine: Arrive in Fort Worth
Journey to the cattle-trading town of Fort Worth, the starting point of the famous Chisholm Trail, and still home to authentic Western culture. The famous Stockyards are the focal point of the Historic Quarter, where wooden boardwalks and old-fashioned store fronts recreate the days of the Old West.
Day 10: Optional visit to the Sixth Floor Museum
Spend this morning at the Stockyards, perhaps witnessing a Texan cattle-drive, before you continue to glittering Dallas, forever associated with the tragic events of November 1963. Today the Sixth Floor Museum (entrance payable locally) of the Texas Schoolbook Depository overlooking Dealey Plaza - unchanged since the Kennedy assassination - recreates the hideout from which the fatal shots were fired.
This evening, back in Fort Worth, perhaps visit Billy Bob's Texas, the world's most rip-roarin', all-singin', all-line-dancin' Western Saloon.
Day 11: Journey through Austin to San Antonio
Today you'll make your way to the Texan State Capital of Austin where the city's thriving music scene is home to countless clubs and bars, including the famous Broken Spoke. Listings magazine might reveal some famous names when they're in town.
Later, we'll continue to San Antonio, our base for the next two nights.
Day 12: Free time to explore San Antonio
San Antonio, capital of Tex-Mex culture and one of the USA's most attractive cities, greets you today. Discover the famous River Walk that snakes its way across the city, and relive the siege of The Alamo - when Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie held out heroically for almost two weeks before finally succumbing to the overwhelming forces of Mexican general Santa Anna.
Day 13: Included visit to the Lyndon B Johnson Space Centre
Depart this morning for Houston to visit NASA's world-famous Lyndon B Johnson Space Centre. This was the heart of the moon-landings nearly 50 years ago, and remains a working base for the International Space Station. The site offers an incomparable taste of modern history, with its restored 'Mission Control' and the sight of the towering 'Saturn V' rocket that fired the astronauts into orbit.
During the afternoon you'll continue to the airport to catch your overnight flight home.
Day 14: Arrive back in the UK
Arrive back in the UK, after a wonderful journey through America's fascinating Southern Heartland.
Texas, Memphis and New Orleans Touring Hotels 2019
Hotel transfer times
The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately two hours.
Passports and visas
When travelling to the USA, British citizens require passports with an integrated chip (shown on the front by a small rectangular symbol beneath the word PASSPORT), valid beyond the return date from the USA. Visas are not normally required for entry, but visitors must apply for an ESTA online with US Immigration at least 72 hours before departure at www.cbp.gov/esta . The current charge is $14 for British Citizens. British subjects and anyone who has a criminal record or has ever been arrested should consult the US Embassy as a visa may be required. Note too that if you have visited Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia or Yemen since March 2011, or have dual nationality with any of these countries, you do require a US visa and cannot travel on the Visa Waiver Program.
Foreign Office travel advice
Visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to find out the latest Foreign And Commonwealth Office travel advice for your holiday destination, as well as information about passports and visas.
Smoking is not permitted on any coach forming part of your holiday; regular stops will be made though for your comfort en route. The majority of hotels in North America are non-smoking throughout including in all bedrooms. In general smoking outside is acceptable, but do look out for signs prohibiting this close to public entrances or bus stops.
Gratuities are a way of life in North America, and it is generally accepted that they form part of a person's earnings. The customary gratuity for a coach driver or Tour Manager is about $5 per person per day. It is normal to tip 15-20 per cent of the bill for a taxi or in a restaurant, and to leave a dollar or so per drink in a bar.
On your flight
All outbound flights depart and arrive on the same day. All return flights leave in the evening and land in the UK the next day. On-board meals will usually include lunch and a snack on outward flights, and dinner and breakfast on flight home. Soft drinks are complimentary, but some airlines will charge for alcoholic drinks.
You are permitted to take one suitcase per person on the aircraft, which should not exceed 23kg.
If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.
The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.
Changes to your hotels
Should circumstances require, we reserve the right to accommodate you in alternative hotels, of a similar standard, nearby. Full details of your hotels will be sent with your Final Travel Documents.
Standard hotel rooms in North America will contain one or two double- or queen-sized beds, and it is not possible to add extra beds to the room. Parties consisting of more than two travellers, but who have only booked one room, will be expected to make use of the two beds provided. If this is a concern, you may wish to consider booking more than one room for your group.