With its racecourse, cool temperate climate, ocean of tea plantations, market gardens, trout streams, botanical gardens and faux Tudor buildings, Nuwara Eliya, bastion of Little England, is the perfect place to catch up on P.G. Woodhouse, fuelled by endless cups of orange pekoe tea.
Distance: Round trip = 104 miles
Car costs (1-3 people) $126.
Van costs (1-6 people) $164.
Additional Costs: Hakgala Gardens Ticket + Victoria Park Ticket Price. Hill Club (dress code sometimes operates).
One of the great pleasures of Nuwara Eliya is the gentle 3 hour drive there, the climate getting cooler and the land more densely planted with tea.
Our suggested itinerary is a first stop for a cup of tea at the Pedro Tea Factory, built in 1885, the factory, café and buildings still standing amidst a sea of tea bushes.
Thence a stroll around the manicured lawns of Victoria Park, home to wandering snake charmers, flower beds laid out when Queen Victoria was still reigning and home to a number of hill-country bird species, including the Kashmir flycatcher.
Lunch is best enjoyed at either The Grand Hotel or St. Andrew's Hotel, built in 1875 and now beautifully restored by Jetwing. The hotel sits next to the Nuwara Eliya golf course, handy if a quick round presents you with an irresistible call to action.
Lunch can be walked off with a languid stroll around the Hakgala Botanical Gardens.
This large and impressive botanical garden shares boundaries with a Nature Reserve and bears, moneys and birds, amongst others, have never much bothered to respect the borders.
Established in 1861, and divided by scores of small creeks, the garden is famous for its temperate plants, its roses, conifers, cedars, cypresses, pines oaks and pre-historic tree ferns. Abundant too are Eucalyptus, Camphor, Melaleuca, Rhododendron, water lily and endemic orchids.
A stop for tea on the lawns of the doughty Hill Club, established in 1876 by British coffee planters is a nice way to end the outing.