Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya is one of the largest and populated towns in the central highlands of Sri Lanka surrounded by acres and acres of tiered tea plantations. Fondly known as ‘Little England’ it is rich with colonial heritage including buildings and culture reminding visitors of British colonial times. 

Nuwara Eliya, situated in the central highlands of Sri Lanka, is referred to as ‘Little England’ by the locals. This nickname denotes its inheritance. This picturesque town was used as the summer retreat by British colonial masters who were in need of an escape of the heat of the south of the island. Nuwara Eliya was their playground. Today, the picturesque landscapes surrounded by mountains, tea plantations and temperate climate are the biggest attractions that draw people to Nuwara Eliya. Nuwara Eliya is one of the most important locations for tea production in the country. The cool climatic conditions averaging at 16°C provide the ideal weather for tea cultivation, especially the high grown, best quality tea. This area receives rainfall throughout the year without any prominent dry spells although January to April tend to be relatively drier. The winter months, November to January, is when there is the chance of frost as the temperature drops significantly, especially during the night.

Due to the cool weather, non-tropical plants and flowers grow in abundance, which has become quite signatory of Nuwara Eliya. The climate attracts many horticulturists’ endeavours and it has made a great locality for vegetable cultivation. As such, it is natural to see tiered cultivation of vegetables and flowers in home gardens as well as on a larger scale. The British converted Nuwara Eliya to be their preferred place for respite. Fox hunting, deer hunting, and elephant hunting were prevalent during these times. Cricket, tennis, polo and golf were other recreational pursuits. To date some of these traditions remain special including horse racing and golf. In the month of April, the town tends to fill with crowds as most locals gather to witness horse racing and motor car racing.

Colonial architecture adds to the richness of the landscape of Nuwara Eliya, showcasing the bygone days of colonization. The Grand Hotel, Town Post office, Queens Cottage and General’s House are a few of the building that highlight the rich colonial heritage; while the Hill Club and Golf Club continue the traditions of the British. Colonial heritage effortlessly blends with the local way of life. Colourful sarees with beanies and cardigans to keep warm are the everyday attire of the locals. It is fascinating to see the local markets and small stalls along the roads selling a colourful range of fruits, vegetables and flowers. Victoria Park and the paths around Lake Gregory are good for leisurely strolls. For birders, Nuwara Eliya is one of the best bases to explore Horton Plains National Park.

There are number of options for accommodation in Nuwara Eliya ranging from mid-range to upmarket in varied colonial styles. Mostly boutique in nature the options include standalone bungalows and restored tea plantation bungalows – some which are heritage properties. Nuwara Eliya can be easily fitted into an itinerary. A train ride from Kandy to Nanu Oya, the closest railway station to this hill country retreat, is the most scenic and idealistic way of getting there. However, a drive up the windy mountains wrapped in evergreen tea plantations is an equally breathtaking journey. A minimum two-night stay is a must to explore the area including the lush tea plantations.


Here are sample itineraries featuring Nuwara Eliyain Sri Lanka’s tea country. Click below to read more about things to do in Nuwara Eliya and accommodation in Nuwara Eliya or get in touch to receive a detailed, tailor made itinerary for your Sri Lanka holiday.


Amazing trip! We absolutely loved it. Sri Lanka is now a country we would definitely like to go back to and explore further.Thank you so much for all the work you did in putting the trip together for us. It was a great mix of places for us to get a good feel of the country. We will be encouraging all our friends to go to Sri Lanka.