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Explore Sri Lanka’s British colonial history.

Nuwara Eliya

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Nuwara Eliya dates back to the early-19th century, when the British colonial administrator John Davy discovered this verdant bowl-shaped valley which is overlooked by the rugged, jagged peak of Mount Pidurutalagala (Sri Lanka’s highest mountain). This history is obvious from the moment you arrive in Nuwara Eliya – which is fondly termed ‘Little England’ by many locals. Quite apart from the temperate climate (Nuwara Eliya stands at over 1,800m and has a mean annual temperature of 16 degrees celsius), the town itself is awash with relics of the British colonial period, including country clubs, old hotels, a golf course and even a racecourse. Gorge on locally-grown strawberries as you walk along, and peer into tiny allotments bursting with fruit, flowers and vegetables. Stroll through the rose beds of the Hakgala Botanical Gardens, or visit a vibrant Hindu temple. Trek through Horton Plains and visit World’s End, where the plateau comes to an abrupt halt and drops 1,000m straight down. Go on walks and bike rides through the surrounding tea fields and explore a tea plantation with  resident planter.

Fun Facts

  • In Sinhala, Nuwara Eliya means ‘City of Light’. It was founded as a hill retreat in 1846 by the British explorer, Samuel Baker.

Experiences & Things to Do at Nuwara Eliya

A round of golf in Nuwara Eliya - Nuwara Eliya -  Sri Lanka In Style
A round of golf in Nuwara Eliya

This golf course, designed by a Scotsman during the time of British colonial rule, is a spectacular place for a round of golf.

A visit to Horton Plains - Nuwara Eliya -  Sri Lanka In Style
A visit to Horton Plains

Walk or drive through the spectacular scenery to the end of the plateau, a dramatic drop with stunning views which is known as ‘World’s End’.

Coffee and handmade chocolates with a sustainable farmer - Nuwara Eliya -  Sri Lanka In Style
Coffee and handmade chocolates with a sustainable farmer

Learn about the history and production of coffee, once the island’s key product before tea came into the picture.




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