"Little England" Top 5 Page for this destination Nuwara Eliya by mafi_moya

Nuwara Eliya Travel Guide: 101 reviews and 220 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.

  • Last visit to Nuwara Eliya: May 2003
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (9)

Comments (5)

  • sachara's Profile Photo
    Aug 16, 2004 at 8:23 AM

    I have forgotten a lot about my stay in Nuweira Eliya. Your great page brings back the memories. Thank you.

  • irisbe's Profile Photo
    May 12, 2004 at 12:08 PM

    Marvelous page! Wished I had a digital cam when I was there! Those small colonial houses used as hotels are great :-) cheap and very social and personal, prefered it over the big ones. I remember the horse race field & the market of fruit and vegetables.

  • freya_heaven's Profile Photo
    Apr 7, 2004 at 4:19 PM

    Good Page, We didnt spend very long in Nuwara Eliya itself, just had lunch & a wander before back in to the Hill Country. The Tea Factory sounds like a great place to stay. Happy Travels (~_~)

  • nepalgoods's Profile Photo
    Feb 3, 2004 at 2:02 AM

    Such a beautiful little town!! Great page!

  • Umea6's Profile Photo
    Dec 10, 2003 at 4:37 AM

    Looking at your photos brings back nice memories of this beautiful country. Great pages!


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