In Sri Lanka they call it ‘Little England’, and as our car climbs the winding roads that lead up to Nuwara Eliya, it is clear why. Hotels bear names like “Blackpool” and the countryside looks a little like the Sussex Downs in the summer. Dotted along the insanely beautiful countryside you’ll spot dairy farms and an abundance of grazing cows as well as wind farms and fields, and somewhere in all of this is Sri Lanka’s highest point, at 4600 metres above sea level.
Dotted along the insanely beautiful countryside you’ll spot dairy farms and an abundance of grazing cows as well as wind farms and fields.
It is easy to sometimes forget that Sri Lanka is more than the seaside and its coastal areas. The name ‘Dilmah’ is familiar to most, but we forget how much of this countryside is devoted to rolling tea estates up in the hills. As it happens, as much as we now associate this country with tea, Sri Lanka wasn’t always a tea island. In fact, right up until the late 1860’s, those same hills were covered in coffee plants, and the country was the world’s largest producer of the beans.
But in 1869 a fungus known coffee leaf rust wiped out this crop almost overnight, and they were replaced with tea bushes, converting the Brits from coffee drinkers to tea sippers, changing the drinking habits of the entire nation. Today you think of Ceylon and you think of tea.
To cast your eyes over all of these estates, and for a proper bird’s eye view of Nuwara Eliya, you need to trek to World’s End. Situated in Horton Plains National Park, a protected area in the central highlands that’s covered by mountain grassland and cloud forest, this three to five-hour trek (depending on your own pace) is rich in biodiversity, super-peaceful, and the best way to spend a morning. This should go without saying, but make sure your shoes are comfortable. We spotted a couple of people limping along in sandals and trust us, you don’t want to be that person.
You’ll end up at World’s End, a sheer cliff with a vertical drop of around 4000 feet, where you’ll be treated to amazing views of the tea plantations and landscape below and, on a clear day, views all the way out to the sea.
Stay at: Langdale by Amaya
Tucked away in these mountains, amidst tea estates and gardens as far as the eye can see Langdale by Amaya is a stately century-old manor that takes you back to a simpler time, plus little luxuries like high tea on their lawns, cocktails come sunset, or a dip in their pool while you look out onto the surrounding hills. Plus there is a spa. Need we say more?
We travelled to Sri Lanka with IBEX Expeditions; this itinerary was created especially for Nicobar and booked entirely through IBEX.