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Things to do in Memphis

Explore the wildlife with a Wolf River walk

Close to the Memphis suburb of Germantown, the stunning Wolf River Nature Area (tel: +1 901 452 6500; www.wolfriver.org) is some 7,284 hectares (18,000 acres) in size and offers nature trails lined with shady trees, a turtle station, butterfly gardens and tonnes of information on local wildlife. 

Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis never left this building

Possibly the most famous address in rock 'n' roll, Graceland (tel: +1 901 332 3322; www.graceland.com) was home to Elvis Presley for 20 years and is a pilgrimage for the King's fans. Although visitors can't see the (infamous) throne, tours do include his Jungle Room, gold discs and final resting place.

Learn of America's Civil Rights struggle

The National Civil Rights Museum (tel: +1 901 521 9699; www.civilrightsmuseum.org) is opposite the site of Martin Luther King Jr's assassination. Much of the Lorraine Motel exterior remains the same - and King's room is untouched - but extensive investment and renovation has created one of Tennessee's most important and educational museums.

Savour the blues and barbeque of Beale Street

Stroll down Beale Street (www.bealestreet.com) and it will be throbbing with crowds ducking into neon-lit blues music, feasting on succulent barbeque ribs and following the Brass Notes Walk of Fame. The Memphis in May festival celebrates the best the street and state has to offer and is unmissable.

Take a trail ride on horseback

Shady Creek Farm (tel: +1 901 262 1173; www.shadycreekfarm.com) offers 12 hectares (30 acres) of indoor and outdoor riding facilities. Just east of Memphis, a few miles north of Collierville, the experienced instructors of this welcoming farm cater for all abilities. The more experienced should tackle the Wolf River Wildlife trail.

Featured Hotels

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Gen X Inn

A chic boutique-style hotel in Midtown from the Best Western chain. It's in the heart of the Medical District and less than one block from Interstate 240, ideally located on the trolley line and only two miles from downtown. The décor in the 32 rooms is knowingly contemporary, and the king and queen rooms feature complimentary WiFi and cable TV. Breakfast is included and there's an exercise room and free parking.

The Guest House at Graceland

As part of the Graceland complex's renovations, the somewhat dated Heartbreak Hotel closed down but instead Elvis fans can opt for more luxurious accommodation with a stay at The Guest House, opened in October 2016. This 450-room resort was built to feel like an extension of the Graceland mansion itself with a touch of Southern colonial style to its exterior and décor and furnishings inspired by retro opulence from Presley's homes in Memphis and Palm Springs.

River Inn of Harbor Town

This 28-room boutique bolthole opened in 2007, one of the few properties on the well-to-do island of Harbor Town. For dramatic views of the city skyline and the Mississippi, you could do worse than their rooftop terrace. This Memphis hotel is a mix of European and Old South chic, with lavish sitting rooms to lounge in. A chocolate and glass of port wine await you as you retire to your room at night.

Madison Hotel

Transformed from an original bank building, this Memphis hotel now boasts Beaux Arts architecture and 110 well-appointed rooms. The interior has been transformed: for example, the fitness centre occupies the original bank vault and includes an indoor heated lap pool. One of the hotel's best features is its rooftop terrace. In the summer on Wednesday to Saturday nights, parties there feature live DJs and afford sunset views over the Mississippi.

The Peabody

The South's 464-room Grand Hotel is the epitome of elegant Southern hospitality, and the social hub of Downtown Memphis. This 1869 historic landmark was restored to its original splendour in 1981. See once, but only once, the famous Peabody Ducks' twice daily march at 1100 and 1700 to and from the marble lobby fountain. Sunday brunch and Thursday-night rooftop parties for dancing under the stars are the social highlights.

Days Inn Memphis at Graceland

Elvis fans on a budget should take a look at the Days Inn for an adequate alternative to the expensive Guest House at Graceland. With 60 rooms not far from the airport and a short walk to Graceland, the hotel has a guitar-shaped outdoor pool and inclusive WiFi, breakfast and parking.