Established by the British in the 19th century, Nuwara Eliya is Sri Lanka’s highest town and often referred to as the island’s ‘Little England’. It was a favourite retreat of the British who were attracted to its cool clean air and glorious emerald tea plantations that carpet the scenery. The views have remained fairly untouched since the 1800’s, with a glorious landscape still peppered with tea planters’ bungalows and colourfully adorned ladies picking tea by hand. The views are can be enjoyed as you glide through the winding roads elevated in a car, or when travelling by train from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya. It’s easily one of Sri Lanka’s most beautiful areas.
The town itself has retained some of its colonial charm, with a golf course and a gentleman’s club and is great to explore on foot or via tuk tuk. Victoria Park and Lake Gregory are worth a visit, as well as experiencing afternoon ‘High Tea’ Sri Lankan style on the manicured lawn of the Grand Hotel.
For walkers Nuwara Eliya acts as a fantastic base for Horton Plains National Park, which falls under the UNESCO protected ‘Central Highlands of Sri Lanka’. Its undulating plains are rich in bio-diversity and covered in grassland and cloud forest. Walks here often reach 8km and on clear days the views are outstanding. The area also offers the opportunity of learning how tea is made in one of the region’s traditional tea factories.