The Little England.
Located in the heart of Sri Lanka, Nuwara Eliya offers its visitors a haven from typical Sri Lankan life. You will find no other place on earth quite like this city which is often referred to as “Little England” due to its Tudor style architecture and history. Nuwara Eliya’s scenic landscapes are a nature lover’s paradise, offering hikes with breathtaking views and spectacularly diverse flora and fauna. The climate of Nuwara Eliya draws tourists and locals alike, as the cool mountain temperatures are a welcome change from the tropical heat bearing down on the rest of Sri Lanka.
The city of Nuwara Eliya has a population of around 700,000 and is easily accessible by train from all major cities. Nuwara Eliya’s main attraction is its remarkable British-style architecture. The streets are still dotted with buildings from the Colonial era, and some owners still maintain their English style lawns and gardens today. Be sure to check out The Queen’s Cottage which was originally built for the Governor of Ceylon but now is frequently visited by cabinet members and the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.
No trip to Sri Lanka is complete without a visit to a working tea plantation. Many tea plantations in the Nuwara Eliya area allow visitors the unique opportunity to pluck their own tea. After dressing you in traditional saris, a local expert tea-plucker will guide you in the art of harvesting tea leaves from the plants. When you have filled your basket full of tea leaves the plantation will process them by using a special blending method. You will be able to take your processed tea home with you and enjoy the pleasure of drinking tea that you plucked yourself.
A highlight of the Nuwara Eliya region is the Horton Plains, a protected National Park of cloud forest and grasslands. This popular destination is 20 miles from Nuwara Eliya, making the city a perfect base camp to visit this Sri Lankan treasure. There are trails galore, the most popular being a 9 km route to World’s End. World’s End is a steep cliff with a 2,854 ft. drop which offers such staggering views that people say it feels like you are looking over the entire world.
If you are ready to take a trip to Sri Lanka, make sure Nuwara Eliya makes the itinerary. The area’s weather and altitude are a sharp contrast from the lower coastal plains, and will leave you feeling like you got two vacations in one.
Written by Jessica Galbraith