Only a few hours from Colombo, Nuwara Eliya sits in the hill country in eternal temperate winter and is charmingly called “Little England”, due to it being where British settlers built their holiday bungalows and spent their down time. Here’s the top things to see and do in the area.
Stay at the Grand Hotel
Built in 1891 as the home for the governor of Sri Lanka, Sir Edward Barnes, the now Grand Hotel is the perfect place to spend the night the right way in Nuwara Eliya. The hotel has great dining options and a lovely high tea. They can also organize activities like trekking, fishing, and sunrise safaris.
Take a boat ride on Gregory Lake
Gregory Lake is a huge lake in the middle of the Nuwara Eliya. There is a calm park next to it with walkways and benches to rest on. There are horses roaming which are offered for rides, plus for a few hundred rupees, tourists can take a 20-minute speedboat ride on the lake. The cool air is lovely on the water and the sights are unbeatable. Gregory Lake was created by Governor William Gregory between 1872 and 1877. It was used for watersports during the British colonial period.
Enjoy a stroll in Victoria Park
The main park in Nuwara Eliya is called Victoria Park, in honor of Queen Victoria’s 60th Jubilee coronation in 1897. The park spreads out on 27 acres of land and is full of foreign trees and flowers. It’s the perfect place for a fresh natural walk. There is a little train for kids to enjoy with a playground too. At quiet times, plenty of native birds flock the trees and bridwatchers come to see them.
Roam the Winter Market
The Bale Bazaar in Nuwara Eliya is aptly nicknamed the Winter Market because they sell winter clothes for the cold Nuwara Eliya weather. Locals who live abroad shop for inexpensive winter fare here before going back. If you forgot a sweatshirt or want to have a fun stroll, head to the market.
Check out the Post Office
The Nuwara Eliya Post Office is housed in an antique Tudor Manor built in 1894. It’s one of the oldest post offices in the country and was featured on a stamp in 1990. Definitely worth a visit.
Eat strawberries at Adma Agro Farm
No visit to Nuwara Eliya is complete without a visit to the Adma Agro Farm and lots of strawberry eating. Strawberries love colder weather and Nuwara Eliya is perfect for them. Eat them off the plants or in the cafe with cream, condensed milk or drink in a juice!
Visit Ambewela Farm
The largest and more prestigious dairy farm is also in Nuwara Eliya. Just a little bit out of town and you reach the rolling hills of Ambewela where the cows roam free to graze in turns. Visitors can see the milking stations of the dairy cows and see the calves in the nursery. The cows are well taken care of and the visit is quite pleasant. The farm is pretty big so there is a lot of walking. Drink a fresh glass of milk at the cafe station up the hill and buy some cheese to eat.
Walk around the tea estates and see St. Clair’s Falls
Nuwara Eliya is hill country, meaning that it’s also tea country. There are hundreds of acres of tea plantations in Nuwara Eliya and plenty of tea factories to visit in the area. A little further away from town is St. Clair’s Falls, one of the widest falls in Sri Lanka and definitely worth a visit.
Take a hike on the Moon Plains
The Moon Plains of Nuwara Eliya is a rather new area for visiting. Moon Plains are an open area full of fields, forests, walking paths and surrounding mountains. This is the kind of place for visitors who love taking walks in nature or spending the day out in the open.
Smell the flowers at Hakgala Botanical Gardens
The Hakgala Botanical Gardens are believed to be the highest altitude botanical gardens in the world. On the road to Badulla, stop at the green gates and visit the beautifully manicured gardens full of roses and orchids and other plant species.
Hike along the Horton Plains to World’s End
Further down south after Ambewela and higher up the mountains is Horton Plains National Park, which includes World’s End. The hiking trails in Horton Plains are top-notch and a must if you like hiking. World’s End is a drop-off at the edge of a huge cliff at the end of the Horton Plains plateau.