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Kentucky

  • The lively state of Kentucky borders seven states and within its borders are some of the newest and best attractions. Kentucky also boasts a temperate climate, a gracious mix of urban and rural settings and a population known for its hospitality.

    • Evan Williams Bourbon Experience

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    • 4th Street Live

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    • Belle of Louisville

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    • Calumet Farm, Kentucky

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    • Horse Derby, Louisville

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    • Lexington

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    • Quilt Museum, Paducah

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    Kentucky’s geography varies from the Appalachian Mountains in the east to America’s largest inland peninsula “Land between the Lakes” to the west. In between are beautiful rolling hills, enticing waterways and bluegrass horse country.

    Kentucky is best known for horse farms (with Lexington being the horse-breeding centre and many of its surrounding farms welcome visitors on free tours), bourbon distilleries, mountain hollows and moonshine stills, fried chicken, bluegrass music and, of course, the famous Kentucky Derby which is held annually in Louisville.

    Louisville was founded by General George Rogers Clark in 1778 as a base from which to harass British troops during the American Revolution. Today, restored historic sites sit side-by-side with modern structures and visitors can wander through the quaint streets in Old Louisville.

    Our top five 'not to miss' activities:

    • Tour beautiful horse farms. If you've an equestrian passion, don't miss what is regarded as the greatest two minutes in sport - the Kentucky Derby.
    • Explore the acclaimed Bourbon Country where 95% of the world’s Bourbon is distilled. Take some time to enjoy a tasting on one of the behind-the-scenes tours.
    • Visit the birthplaces of legends; Abraham Lincoln, Muhammad Ali and the Corvette sports car.
    • Enjoy the sweet sound of bluegrass in some of the small music halls dotted around the state or experience a larger festival.
    • Explore the great outdoors, whether Mammoth Cave (the world’s longest cave system) or one of the many other outdoors adventures ranging from boating and fishing to 12,000 miles of trails for hikers, bikers and equestrians, not forgetting rock-climbing in Red River Gorge.
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  • Bluegrass & Country

    Begins in Cincinnati, Ohio and ends in Atlanta, Georgia

    15 Days / 14 Nights

    Departures: year round

    Add this Fly Drive to planner

    Your fly drive includes:

    • Round trip scheduled flights
    • Intermediate 4 door car hire, including insurances and satellite navigation.
    • Accommodations as stated
    • Personalised Road Book
    • Equestrain Delights

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    • Majestic Paddlewheel Voyages

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    • Bourbon Country

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    • A Diverse Range of Music Venues

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    • Historical Architecture

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    Day
    01

    Cincinnati

    Depart the UK on your chosen scheduled flight to Cincinnati. Upon arrival, collect your rental car and proceed to your hotel.

    Hotel: Hyatt Regency Cincinnati

    Day
    02

    Covington & Newport

    Today you commence your exploration. Start by crossing the Ohio River on a trip to Covington where you can perhaps enjoy a saunter across the Roebling Suspension Bridge. Next we suggest the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, which portrays three centuries of slavery from its introduction to abolition.

    Hotel: Hyatt Regency Cincinnati

    Day
    03

    Louisville

    Louisville is renowned for the annual Kentucky Derby. Horse racing enthusiasts will enjoy the Kentucky Derby Museum, offering a hands-on experience. Once in town, visit the Slugger Museum and Factory, take a river cruise on the Belle of Louisville or follow the Urban Bourbon Trail.

    Hotel: Galt House Hotel

    88Mi/142Km

    Day
    04

    Lexington

    Your first point of interest is The Muhammad Ali Center, which has majestic views of Kentucky’s largest city. Continue onto Lexington, the horse capital of the world, for a true equine experience at Kentucky Horse Park. During your stay we suggest a visit to Shaker Village in Pleasant Hill, which was once home to America’s largest and best-known communal society.

    Hotel: Griffin Gate Marriott Resort & Spa

    101Mi/162Km

    Day
    05

    Bowling Green

    This morning, visit Bardstown – voted America’s most beautiful small town. Mammoth Cave National Park is your next point of interest, where four hundred miles of passages and caverns can be explored.

    Hotel: Hyatt Place Bowling Green

    167Mi/268Km

    Day
    06

    Paducah

    Today’s journey takes you towards the heart of America’s inland waterways. We suggest visiting The River Discovery Center, which chronicles life on the river and a stop at the National Corvette Museum. Paducah is renowned for its creativity, and is home to the National Quilt Museum.

    Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott, Paducah West

    149Mi/239Km

    Day
    07
    Day
    08

    Memphis

    Continue to Memphis along the Mississippi River and immerse yourself in the city renowned as the home of the blues and birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll. We’ve allowed two full days for you to experience Memphis, an exciting city with a plethora of things to see and do. No visit to Memphis is complete without touring Graceland! In addition, don’t miss a tour to the Sun Studio and be sure to see the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Smithsonian’s Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and Gibson Guitar Factory.

    Hotel: The Peabody

    178Mi/286Km

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    09
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    10

    Nashville

    Today head east through picturesque cotton fields to Nashville. Visit the homes and museums of the country music giants, the Country Music Hall of fame & Museum, Johnny Cash Museum, Ryman Auditorium and Grand Ole Opry.

    Hotel: Renaissance Nashville Hotel

    212Mi/341Km

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    11
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    12

    Great Smoky Mountains

    Next it’s on to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, America’s most visited park, which stretches across half a million acres of Tennessee and North Carolina. Hike, bike, drive or even take a horseback ride through the scenic byways. You may also choose to visit Dolly Parton’s Dollywood theme park, which celebrates the heritage and people of the East Tennessee region.

    Hotel: Oak Haven Resort & Spa

    205Mi/330Km

    Day
    13

    Chattanooga

    Heading south, you journey into the ancient homeland of the Cherokee Indians before arriving into Chattanooga. Don’t miss the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum, Fort Loudoun and, of course, the infamous Chattanooga Choo Choo.

    Hotel: The Chattanoogan Hotel

    136Mi/218Km

    Day
    14

    Atlanta

    Ride the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway, go underground at Ruby Falls, or stroll to the National Park Service’s American Civil War Battlefield at Point Park before leaving Chattanooga. En route to Atlanta we suggest a visit to Rock City Gardens.

    Hotel: Grand Hyatt Atlanta

    116Mi/186Km

    Day
    15

    Journey home

    There’s time for some last minute sightseeing in Atlanta, before returning your rental car and checking-in for your flight back to the UK.

    Prices

    From £2130 per person based on twin occupancy of Standard rooms in low season. Other prices available on request.

    One way drop off charge on car hire is not included and payable locally.

  • Bluegrass and Blue Ridges: Louisville to Nashville

    Starts in Louisville and ends in Nashville

    9 Days / 8 Nights

    Departures: May, June, July and September

    Add this Escorted Tour to planner

    Your escorted tour includes:

    • Round trip scheduled flights
    • Accommodation for 8 nights as specified
    • 8 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners
    • Air-conditioned motorcoach transportation
    • Services of a Tauck Tour Director
    • Classic tour
    • My Old Kentucky Home

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    • General Jackson, Nashville

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    • Equestrian Kentucky

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    • Derby Museum

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    • Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville

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    • Blueridge Parkway

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    Day
    01

    Arrive Louisville

    Depart the UK on your chosen flight to Louisville. A transfer is included from Louisville International Airport to The Brown Hotel, a landmark in the heart of downtown Louisville near the theatre district. Since 1923, this gracious hotel has entertained celebrities and dignitaries with its opulence, charm, and impeccable Southern hospitality, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. A welcome reception and dinner is held at the hotel this evening.

    Hotel: The Brown Hotel (Dinner included)

    Day
    02

    Churchill Downs & Stephen Foster

    You'll begin the day with a visit to Churchill Downs, the legendary thoroughbred racetrack that has hosted The Kentucky Derby since 1875. Your visit includes a Tauck Exclusive tour of the backstretch with a professional jockey who’ll share insider views of the track’s history and daily operation while the horses take their morning exercise. On the racetrack grounds, you’ll also visit The Kentucky Derby Museum for insights into the race’s celebrated history, and what goes into the breeding and training of a thoroughbred champion. A short drive to Bardstown takes you to another iconic landmark, Federal Hill, a Georgian-style plantation house built in 1795 by Judge John Rowan that once entertained dignitaries like Andrew Jackson and Marquis de Lafayette, but is better known as the inspiration for Stephen Foster’s 'My Old Kentucky Home'. You'll tour the impeccably preserved mansion and formal gardens. After lunch at a historic tavern, you head to Frankfort for a guided tour of the Buffalo Trace Distillery, famous for its fine Kentucky bourbon, which it has produced continuously since 1775. During Prohibition, the distillery was permitted to output whiskey 'for medicinal purposes'. You arrive late afternoon in Lexington where the evening is free.

    Hotel: Griffin Gate Marriott Resort (Breakfast, lunch & dinner included)

    Day
    03

    Shakers, Bourbon & Bluegrass

    This morning you'll drive to Pleasant Hill, site of what was once the largest, most successful Shaker community in America. Founded in England in the 18th century, the sect known as Shakers had a profound effect on 19th century America, as documented in Ken Burns’s film, Hands to Work, Hearts to God. Known locally as 'Shakertown', the village, which flourished here from 1805 to 1910, comprises 34 original buildings, wonderfully restored as a living museum with costumed interpreters, where you’ll gain insights into the hearts and minds of the Shakers, and marvel at their engineering achievements; besides their fame for furniture making, the Shakers invented the circular saw, the clothespin, the wheel-driven washing machine, and numerous other labor-saving devices. Following lunch at the village, delve deeper into equine culture at The Kentucky Horse Park, a working horse farm and theme park showcasing breeds from around the world; you’ll also visit the International Museum of the Horse. Next you return to your hotel for a special, private 'Bluegrass & Bourbon' evening, including a banquet dinner, a live band, and bourbon tasting.

    Hotel: Griffin Gate Marriott Resort (Breakfast, lunch & dinner included)

    Day
    04

    Cumberland Gap

    Once you've stood at the Cumberland Gap you’ll never forget it. You’re standing at the first frontier, the first gateway to the west. Off the beaten pathway, it was a break in the Appalachian Mountains that provided a gateway to the west for migrating buffalo herds, American Indian tribes, and restless pioneers – including Daniel Boone, who blazed a trail known as the Wilderness Road here in 1775. And today you will join that long list of travellers when you pass through the gap yourself. Explore its rich history and cultural currents at a private presentation at the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park visitors’ center. The park also features unique geologic sandstone formations, magnificent underground caverns, and restored log cabins from an early 20th century pioneer settlement. Next it is on to Asheville, North Carolina, where your accommodation is both historic and gracious, exemplifying the best of Southern hospitality. Asheville has emerged as one of America’s top culinary destinations – a 'foodie haven' with many new twists on traditional southern cuisine.

    Hotel: The Inn on Biltmore Estate (Breakfast, lunch & dinner included)

    Day
    05

    The Biltmore Estate

    Back in 1895 George Vanderbilt II, grandson of railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt, decided to build himself 'a little mountain escape' in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The result was the Biltmore Estate, a fabulous 250-room French château for which he employed architect Richard Morris Hunt for the castle design and Frederick Law Olmsted (the designer of Central Park) to lay out the woodlands and formal gardens. You’ll have an opportunity to learn more about this magnificent estate on tours of both the estate grounds and through the mansion itself. See Antler Hill Village, a town built to house the employees who worked on the estate and tended its crops and livestock. After lunch on the estate, you'll take a short drive to the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a museum of Appalachian arts and crafts, for a private presentation on Appalachian music. Your evening in Asheville is at leisure.

    Hotel: The Inn on Biltmore Estate (Breakfast & lunch included)

    Day
    06

    Great Smoky Mountains National Park

    Today you’ll experience one of the most beautiful, and one of the oldest, places on Earth – Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in the US. Historically, it is known as a place of refuge; the fascinating story of its creation includes the heroic efforts of Horace Kephart, George Masa and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Ecologically, it is one of the world’s best examples of a deciduous hardwood forest – a UNESCO World Heritage Site with one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth, it is dedicated as an international biosphere reserve. Scenically, the grandeur and beauty of the Southern Appalachians is at its very core – from mist-shrouded mountains with their wide range of elevations to fresh streams and miles of forests; it is the very definition of the word 'vista'. In Cherokee, North Carolina, you'll explore 19th century wilderness settlement life with period interpreters at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park visitors’ center. You’ll also visit the Museum of the Cherokee Indian for a guided tour and exclusive private viewing of its archival collection of artefacts. A catered private lunch at the museum includes samples of traditional Cherokee flavors and is accompanied by a Cherokee flute musician. You arrive into Knoxville late afternoon.

    Hotel: Hilton Knoxville (Breakfast, lunch & dinner included)

    Day
    07

    Nashville

    You'll travel today to what has emerged as the music capital of America; the infamous Nashville, Tennessee. First up is a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame, where you’ll truly get a behind-the-scenes look at the industry during lunch with a Nashville songwriter. Enjoy time on your own to explore the museum, then head to the Ryman Auditorium for a private front-of-house and backstage tour. The venerable hall is best known as the former home of the Grand Ole Opry, from 1943 to 1974, having hosted the biggest country stars of its day. Your downtown hotel is a palatial Beaux-Arts landmark built in 1910.

    Hotel: The Hermitage (Breakfast, lunch & dinner included)

    Day
    08

    General Jackson & Grand Ole Opry

    Today you will visit The Hermitage, the plantation home of Andrew Jackson, military hero, populist, and 7th President of the United States. Dayton Duncan notes that you can understand Andrew Jackson by his own words – “I was born for a storm. And a calm does not suit me.” Jackson lived here until his death in 1845 and his brick mansion is considered the most accurately preserved presidential home in the US, with restored décor and original furnishings. Your next stop is the General Jackson Showboat, a paddle wheeler on the Cumberland River, where lunch includes live entertainment. Drive along Music Row to your hotel for an early farewell reception and dinner, then this evening it's a performance of country music at the inimitable Grand Ole Opry (schedule permitting).

    Hotel: The Hermitage (Breakfast, lunch & dinner included)

    Day
    09

    Journey home

    A transfer is included from the hotel to Nashville International Airport, where you check in for your flight back to the UK.

    Prices

    From £4,319 per person based on twin occupancy of Standard rooms in low season. Other prices available on request.

  • The Kentucky Derby 2019

    Louisville

    Add this Experience/Explore to planner
    • The Kentucky Derby

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    • Galt House, Louisville

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    One of the oldest and most prestigious horse races, the Kentucky Derby is known as 'the most exciting two minutes of sport in the world'. Join 150,000 spectators by taking our four night package.

    Departs: May 1st 2019
    Duration: 4 Nights

    Includes:

    • Four nights at the Galt House Hotel, Louisville
    • 2nd Floor Grandstand (Sec 224-228) seating for the Kentucky Oaks & the Kentucky Derby Race Days
    • Return transfers to Churchill Downs on Friday and Saturday
    • Breakfast each morning at the Galt House
    • Welcome reception at the Galt House
    • Admission to Evan Williams Experience party. A live bluegrass performance in the secluded Speakeasy vault room. Private distillery tour and tasting, with behind the scenes access to Heaven Hill brands. Special appearance by a horse racing industry expert.
    • Local Horse Farms & Attractions' optional guided tour. Discover the roots of horse racing and the local central Kentucky area on a tour of famed horse farms, a world-renowned distillery and more. Includes transportation and a local guide.
    • Official Kentucky Derby Souvenirs, Credential holder, and PrimeSport lanyard
    • Official souvenir program for the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby
    Prices

    From £5,775 per person based on two sharing a standard room. Ticket upgrades for the Kentucky Derby are available on request. Contact us for full details.