Nuwara Eliya literally means the city of lights and is in the heart of tea country. Fondly called Little England owing to its many colonial structures built on the mountains, give the impression of an old English countryside with a surrealist Sri Lankan spin on it. Nuwara Eliya used to be the favourite get away location for British colonials living and working in Colombo. While the chaos of the town is truly Sri Lankan, it’s coupled with old red post boxes, horse stables, Pidurutalagala – the tallest mountain peak and a golf course that still hosts royalty on their visits to the island they once colonized.
Beautiful Scottish cottage style homes line your view on mountain tops, a continuing tribute to the tea industry that still keeps Sri Lanka number one for growing the finest teas in the world. Colonial bungalows sport beautiful floral gardens with rare rose bushes and other flora. Nuwara Eliya town is also a short drive away from the Haggala Botanical gardens that are undoubtedly a trekkers dream come true.
Visit tea plantations that lead you to factories that are still running in their original state from colonial times, having only updated their machinery. The dark skinned, colourfully dressed women who pluck tea are a signature view across the Nuwara Eliya plantations.
A day out when in the city of lights could start with an early morning drive to Horton Plains, home to rainbow trout, massive strolling sambar, misty lakes, rocky outcrops and waterfalls all leading you to a vantage point called World’s End.
Accommodation in Nuwara Eliya is also a novelty. 5 star hotels are in fact old English mansions, budget hotels are rustic bungalows and the service is a perfect combination of friendly Sri Lankan and charismatic English. The food varies from local cuisine to a classic pot roast and some places require you to wear a jacket before entering their dining halls.
If you’re looking for colonial charm combined with a touch of Sri Lankan style, then head for the hills, go straight to Nuwara Eliya and let it take your breath away.