"Little England" Top 5 Page for this destination Nuwara Eliya by mafi_moya
Nuwara Eliya Travel Guide: 101 reviews and 219 photos
Nuwara Eliya (pronounced Nurailia - I believe it means City of Light) is the highest settlement in Sri Lanka - a slow-paced hill town of tea estates, wide country lanes and cool nights. It was developed by the British as an escape from the heat and a cure for homesickness and at times resembles a quaint little English country village - complete with post office, Victorian era lamp-posts, a race course and strawberries and cream! There's even dew on the grass and damp morning air! Hence Sri Lankan's often describe it as 'Little England'. That said, some of the hillside hotels resemble an alpine skiing resort more than the English home counties. Generally quiet, the town explodes into life over Sinhalese New Year when Colombo's young middle classes empty the city and head for the hills to party.
The first mistake that many people make about Nuwara Eliya is to assume from its Little England tag that it's simply a clone of an English village. It certainly has remarkable similarities but this is still Sri Lanka after all - the locals are nearly all Sri Lankan, as are the shops, food and so on. The markets in the town can be as exotic and chaotic as anywhere else. The mix of Britain and Sri Lanka makes for a unique and somewhat bizarre cultural experience that can't be seen anywhere else. The second mistake is about the weather - the nights can be cold and you'll need to wrap up for any early morning walks, but the days are often hot and sunny. Nuwara Eliya is at an altitude of about 6000 feet so it does get cold, but again this is Sri Lanka not England. Although it does rain a lot!
Nuwara Eliya is a lovely, small town ideal for walking or lazing about on Lake Gregory. It's well known for its well-kept and colourful gardens, for its cooler-climate fruits and flowers (apples, strawberries etc) introduced at the behest of the great explorer Samuel Baker, and of course for its tea. The tea estates dominate the beautiful surrounding countryside and groups of Tamil tea pickers in brightly coloured saris are a common sight early in the morning. Nuwara Eliya is also an ideal base for trips to Horton Plains national park and the dramatic World's End cliff-face. It's a lot further into the hills than Kandy and takes a while to get to - the bending, narrow roads of the hill country make for very slow going. As a result many tourists give it a miss - but I give it a big recommendation.
If you've read any of my other pages on Sri Lanka you won't be surprised to know that nightlife in Nuwara Eliya is... more travel advice
Nuwara Eliya is blessed with some beautiful old colonial style hotels. St Andrews, near the golf course, is very homely... more travel advice
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