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Louisville & Bardstown

  • Louisville & Bardstown

    Louisville captures equestrian culture like nowhere else on earth. It is the centre of its very core accented by the warmth you would expect of a Deep South location. Bardstown is located in the heart of the Bluegrass State, offering the ultimate getaway with an atmosphere that seems to have magically leaped from the paintings of Norman Rockwell and the pages of Mark Twain.

    • 4th Street Live

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    • Belle of Louisville

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    • Churchill Downs

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    • Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse

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    • Kentucky Derby Museum

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    • Louisville Skyline

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    • Mohammed Ali Centre

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    • Bourbon comes from Bardstown

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    • Bardstown Courthouse

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    Louisville

    Louisville which is firmly embedded in the American national consciousness for its multimillion-dollar Kentucky Derby held each May at Churchill Downs. The Derby, known as the richest two minutes in sport, attracts 500,000 fans to this cosmopolitan and diversified city the first Saturday in May, but there is racing at Churchill Downs in April, May, June, October and November and the track is open for tours year-round.

    The adjacent Kentucky Derby Museum is an excellent hands-on experience and has a magnificent audiovisual display that captures the Derby Day atmosphere on a 360o screen.

    Downtown Louisville rolls gently down towards Main Street then abruptly lunges down to the river where the historic Belle of Louisville leaves for daily sightseeing cruises. Don’t miss the Slugger Museum and Factory and be sure to sample the Urban Bourbon Trail along Whiskey Row and around town.

    The Muhammad Ali Center rises on the south bank of the Ohio River and has majestic views of Kentucky’s largest city where Ali was born Cassius Clay in 1942. Ali went on to boxing fame and fortune but in his heyday he was known as the “Louisville Lip” and a loquacious self-promoter responsible for some of the finest quips to emerge from a sportsman. The Ali Center is not obsessed with glory and triumph and it does not shy away from Ali’s failings, but his boxing achievements are the centrepiece and fans can watch his fights in a multimedia area as well as follow his brave and principled stand against the Vietnam War and racism.

    On Louisville’s Museum Row, the Frazier is ‘where the world meets Kentucky’. It’s also the official start of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Most relevant is the permanent Spirit of Kentucky exhibition, which explores the logistics of shipping bourbon back in the day and the impact of Prohibition. There are portraits of early bourbon barons demonstrating the differences in bourbon-making then and now. The Frazier is excellent at telling stories using artifacts and live daily interpretations by costumed actors.

    Louisville also offers an Urban Bourbon Trail. It has been home to distillers for 150 years and takes its position very seriously. That’s why the Urban Bourbon Trail (a very sophisticated pub crawl) comes with its own official passport. The trail includes 44 Louisville bars and restaurants that really know their bourbon – you can pick up a passport at any one of them. Each stop has at least 50 bourbons behind the bar, and some have as many as 200, plus limited editions. You only need to collect stamps from six spots on the trail to earn your celebratory t-shirt.

    Bardstown

    Bardstown is Kentucky’s second-oldest city. Obviously, a lot has changed since then. But a lot has also stayed the same. Throughout Nelson County, there are more than 300 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, with nearly 200 of them located in the historic downtown district. In fact, the stagecoach stop that was built in 1779 still stands today as a tavern, restaurant, and bed & breakfast.

    But it’s not just the town structures that have stayed the same. You’ll also find the friendly attitude and Southern charm that can only be found in such a town. You also can’t make it without bourbon. Speaking of … who’s ready to come soak up some local culture?

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  • Kentucky Bourbon Trail

    Begins and ends in Cincinnati, Ohio

    7 Days / 6 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
    • Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, Louisville

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    • 4th Street Live, Louisville

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    • Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse

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    • Old stone tavern,Bardstown

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    • Beautiful thoroughbred farms in Lexington

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    • Bluegrass Tavern, Lexington

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    • Woodford Distillery, Lexington

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    Day
    01

    Arrive 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

    98Mi/157Km

    Day
    02
    Day
    03

    Louisville

    After a good nights rest your bourbon journey begins. Take a trip to the Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience at the Stitzel-Weller facility on the outskirts of Louisville. This new experience tells the story of Bulleit’s well-known brand on the hallowed grounds of this iconic site. Next, drive the five miles to Main Street and tour the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience. This fantastic new immersive, artisan tour is right in the heart of downtown Louisville, on famed Whiskey Row. For your second full day, why not step into the Jim Beam American Stillhouse to enjoy their interactive, multi-sensory tour. For lunch you could enjoy freshly smoked BBQ and delicious sides at Fred’s Smokehouse, named after 7th generation Master Distiller Fred Noe. Finally, for your last few hours in Louisville why not finish with a Bourbon-themed dinner at Bourbons Bistro, Louisville’s foremost Bourbon bar, located in the historic Clifton district.

    Hotel: Galt House Hotel

    43Mi/69Km

    Day
    04

    Bardstown

    Today you will make the short drive to Bardstown, the Bourbon Capital of the World®. On the outskirts, you may find the Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Centre enjoyable. Once in Bardstown, for unique Bourbon artifacts, peruse the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History. Also make sure to stop by the Kentucky Bourbon Marketplace – your one stop shop for one-of-a-kind Bourbon souvenirs, gifts, bottles and even a Bourbon cocktail at their barrel stave bar. Be sure to dine on classic Kentucky fare in the Old Talbott Tavern and have a nightcap in the “world’s oldest bourbon bar”.

    Hotel: Bourbon Manor Bed & Breakfast Inn (First Class Only)

    64Mi/102Km

    Day
    05
    Day
    06

    Lexington

    Today you will make the stunning drive through the emerald hills of Horse Country to Lexington. Located in the heart of the Bluegrass Region, Lexington is a true Thoroughbred town, where future Derby winners are trained and retired champions now reside. Among the farms that allow tours are Coolmore’s Ashford Stud, Darley at Jonabell and Darby Dan, whose proud history has included four Kentucky Derby winners. If the Bluegrass Region can claim a title other than that of “Horse Capital of the World,” it would be as centre of Bourbon Country, an area which produces 95 percent of the world’s bourbon. With the opening of Alltech’s Town Branch Distillery and two new craft distilleries—Wilderness Trace Distillery and Barrel House Distillery, there is a plethora of tours to choose from while in Lexington.

    Hotel: Griffin Gate Marriott Resort & Spa

    76Mi/122Km

    Day
    07

    Journey home

    Time for some last minute sightseeing or shopping before returning your car to Cincinnati International Airport and checking-in for your flight back to the UK.

    Prices

    From £1099 per person based on twin occupancy of Standard rooms in low season. Other prices available on request.

  • The Sumptuous Soul of America

    Begins in Chicago, Illinois and ends in New Orleans, Louisiana

    14 Days / 13 Nights

    Departures: May, June, September and October

    Add this Escorted Tour to planner

    Your escorted tour includes

    • Round trip scheduled flights
    • Accommodation for 13 nights as specified
    • 13 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 8 dinners
    • Air-conditioned motorcoach transportation
    • Services of a Travel Concierge
    • Classic tour
    • The Sumptuous Soul of America

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    • Arrive into Chicago, Illinois

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    • Fox Theatre, St. Louis

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    • Visit the top of the famed St. Louis Arch

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    • Bourbon Distillery, Louisville

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    • Churchill Downs, Louisville

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    • Honky Tonk Highway

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    • Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville

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    • Grand Ole Opry, Nashville

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    • Graceland, Memphis

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    • Sun Studios, Memphis

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    • Houmas House Plantation, Natchez

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    • Jackson Square, New Orleans

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    • Farewell Dinner at Arnauds

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    Day
    01

    Arrive Chicago

    Enjoy a toe-tapping trip of rock, jazz and country music, as you delve into the sumptuous soul of America. Depart the UK on your chosen flight to Chicago. Upon arrival, you will be met and taken to your exclusive retreat The Gwen, a Luxury Collection Hotel in Chicago. In the evening, join your Travelling Concierge for a scrumptious welcome dinner.

    Hotel: The Gwen, a Luxury Collection Hotel (Dinner included)

    Day
    02

    Chicago

    You'll begin the day with a 90-minute architectural river cruise and discover how the Great Fire of 1871 paved the way for the birth of the skyscraper. Continue your discovery with one of the Windy City's greatest highs - the 360 Chicago Observation Deck. Enjoy a Highlight Dinner with wine at Gibson's Bar and Steakhouse, a classic Chicago-style chophouse. You'll be served with a fixed steak menu that comes with roasted corn, potatoes and seasonal veggies.

    Hotel: The Gwen, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Chicago (Breakfast and dinner included)

    Day
    03

    St. Louis, Missouri

    Today you will make the journey to St. Louis where you'll take an exclusive guided tour of the Fabulous Fox Theatre which opened in 1929. This vibrant city played host to the World's Fair and Olympics of 1904, with both being held at St. Louis' prestigious Washington University.

    Hotel: Four Seasons Hotel, St. Louis (Breakfast included)

    Day
    04

    St. Louis Arch to Louisville

    Get a bird's-eye view of the city with a visit to the top of the famed St. Louis Gateway Arch standing 630 feet (190 metres) tall. Next, head east through the Hoosier National Forest to Louisville, before enjoying a dinner with wine at The English Grill in the evening. This elegant venue is situated at your hotel and offers a refined menu of contemporary American cuisine with a Kentucky twist.

    Hotel: The Brown Hotel, Louisville (Breakfast and dinner with wine included) (Breakfast and dinner included)

    Day
    05

    Louisville, Kentucky

    Continue your immersion into Louisville culture with an up-close look at some of Kentucky's celebrated four-legged residents during a visit to a retired horse farm. Enjoy a guided tour of the grounds where you will learn about some of the horses before taking time for lunch (at your own expense). Later, visit a bourbon distillery, where you will discover the secrets and meticulous details involved in the making of the South's signature spirit, before indulging in a sampling. The evening is yours to enjoy at your own leisure.

    Hotel: The Brown Hotel, Louisville (Breakfast included)

    Day
    06

    The Honky-Tonk Highway

    The fun continues with a guided historic walking tour of Churchill Downs to learn about the history of the Kentucky Derby, followed by a visit to the Kentucky Derby Museum. Once here you'll gain an insider's perspective during a private visit with retired jockey, Charles Woods Jr. Next, discover the history behind one of America's favourite sports cars at the National Corvette Museum, where you'll grab lunch. The museum features over 80 Corvettes in periodic settings, including mint classics, one-of-a-kind prototypes and modern-day wonders of engineering and design.

    Hotel: Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)

    Day
    07

    Nashville, Tennesse

    After breakfast you will be taken for a tour of the historic Studio B including 30 minutes with a professional sound engineer for a choir-style recording session. You'll be able to take home a copy of the recording as a one-of-a-kind souvenir. Head on to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, full of memorabilia from stars such as Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn and Garth Brooks. Once there, you'll join your Local Expert, a songwriter and singer, who will tell you the stories behind the biggest hits sung by well-known country music stars (subject to departure date). End your day with a trip to the Grand Ole Opry, for a live performance.

    Hotel: Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown (Breakfast included)

    Day
    08

    Memphis

    Today you will be taken from the home of country music to the birthplace of blues and Rock 'n' Roll. The evening is devoted to a private, after-hours, and docent-led tour of Graceland - as much an object of pilgrimage as a museum dedicated to the late, great, Elvis Presley. From the flowers and painted signs outside the gates, to the tear-streaked cheeks of fans inside, see the effect that Elvis and his music had on popular American culture. Enjoy a memorable dinner with wine at the Graceland mansion itself.

    Hotel: The Westin Memphis Beale Street (Breakfast and dinner included)

    Day
    09

    Memphis

    Experience Memphis your way by visiting Sun Studios or the Memphis Rock n' Soul Museum. Later, visit the National Civil Rights Museum and trace the history of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States from the 17th century to the present. Offering over 260 artifacts and more than 40 new films, you'll be guided through five centuries of American history.

    Hotel: The Westin Memphis Beale Street (Breakfast included)

    Day
    10

    Natchez

    Leaving Memphis behind, today you will depart for Natchez, founded by the French in 1716 when it became home to a flowering colonial culture. There you will experience a private, owner-led tour of Sunnyside, a restored antebellum cottage. At your charming luxury country mansion inn, wet your palate during a mixology class and learn the 'science' behind the signature drink of the South, the Mint Julep. Then enjoy a delectable three-course Highlight Dinner with wine, in the stunning main house.

    Hotel: Monmouth Historic Inn and Gardens, Natchez (Breakfast and dinner included)

    Day
    11

    Frogmore, Houmas House and New Orleans

    Today you will stop at Frogmore Plantation and journey back to a time when cotton was king. With your costumed hosts, you will tour a reconstructed 19th century plantation. Next, get a glimpse into the sweet side of the South with a visit to Houmas House plantation, once the largest producer of sugar in the country. In the evening, you'll visit the New Orleans School of Cooking to learn about Creole cuisine during a lively cooking demonstration. Enjoy these culinary creations over a special highlight dinner with wine.

    Hotel: Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans (Breakfast and dinner included)

    Day
    12

    New Orleans

    A local expert will join you for a tour of the city as you learn about its rich history steeped in the myriad of cultures that have found a new home here. See Jackson Square and the Treme neighbourhood before exploring City Park. Take in this picturesque scene and admire the oak trees with a warm coffee in hand. Next, visit one of the city's famous above ground cemeteries and learn about their uniquely joyful perspective on life and death.

    Hotel: Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans (Breakfast included)

    Day
    13

    New Orleans, Louisiana

    Start the day with a bayou expert on the rural side of the Crescent City, as you board a boat to meet the resident alligators and other fauna and flora. Enjoy some free time before gathering with your new friends and toasting to lifelong memories during a farewell celebration dinner with wine at the famous New Orleans restaurant, Arnaud's, with toe-tapping live jazz as your backdrop.

    Hotel: Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans (Breakfast and dinner included)

    Day
    14

    Journey Home

    Bid 'au revoir' to the Big Easy in the morning. A transfer is included from the hotel to New Orleans International Airport, where you check in for your flight back to the UK.

    Prices

    From £5630 per person based on twin occupancy of Standard rooms in low season. Other prices available on request.

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  • Bourbon Distilleries Tour

    Kentucky

    Add this Experience/Explore to planner
    • Bourbon Barrels

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    • A little sample

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    Sample some of the best, authentic Kentucky bourbons, distilled in big-league bourbon distilleries. During the day, you'll head to Heaven Hill, Maker’s Mark, and Jim Beam American Stillhouse, enjoying tastings and a behind-the-scenes look at the distilling process of Kentucky bourbons. This guided tour, departing from Louisville includes all tastings, transportation, lunch and narrated commentary.

    Duration: 10 hours

    Prices

    From £165 per person (minimum age 21 years)

    Bardstown Bourbon Distillery Tour and Tastings, Kentucky

    Bardstown, Kentucky

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    • Bardstown Bourbon Distillery Tour and Tastings

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    • Brewing Machinery

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    This small group tour provide an intimate, fun, social, and lighthearted way to see and taste Bourbon's best. The knowledgeable local guides will introduce you to the local history and culture and show you why Kentuckians are so strong in spirit. This tour includes one distillery tour and tasting, plus a tasting at a 2nd distillery.

    Duration: 4 hours

    Prices

    From £69 per person (minimum 21 years)

    Kentucky Craft Beer Tours, Kentucky

    Louisville, Kentucky

    Add this Experience/Explore to planner
    • A few samples!

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    • Cheers!

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    • Behind the Scenes

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    • Schnitzelburg

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    Saturday Beer Lovers Tour

    Get a taste of Louisville’s thriving beer scene on this small-group, half-day tour. You will meet your guide at the Gordon Biersch Brewing Company. Over the course of an afternoon, you’ll go behind the scenes at three different Louisville breweries, will enjoy numerous different beers, and will discover more about the brewing process.

    Sunday Funday Beer Tour

    Spend a lively Sunday afternoon out on the town, and get to know Louisville’s thriving craft beer scene, on this small-group tour. Don’t worry about logistics: traveling via minibus makes it simple to get around. Go behind the scenes at three different breweries, and taste four samples at each stop (including flagship beers, seasonal specials, and more). Over the course of the tour, you’ll learn more about the brewing process, and will have snacks and water at your disposal along the way.

    Craft Beer Tour and Tasting

    Go behind-the-scenes of three locally-approved Louisville craft breweries on this all-inclusive brewery tour. Unlike most brewery tours, this one offers unlimited five ounce pours, so you can sample everything on the menu at top breweries like Akasha, Mile Wide, and Monnik. You get a pretzel necklace, too, for convenient snacking between beers.

    Prices

    Saturday Beer Lovers Tour

    From £51 per person (minimum 21 years)

    Sunday Funday Beer Tour

    From £56 per person (minimum 21 years)

    Craft Beer Tour and Tasting

    From £76 per person (minimum 21 years)