Places to visit in Nuwara Eliya – The little England of Sri Lanka

by Toti

Last updated on May 1st, 2020 at 06:50 pm

While we were on our amazing trip in Sri Lanka we almost forgot that on our itinerary there was a place called “Little England”. So we embraced the fantastic blue train, from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya and going to get lost in tea fields and green hills. This post will show you all the places to visit in Nuwara Eliya, an awesome spot in the heart of Sri Lanka.

While visiting places in Nuwara Eliya, we understood why it was called Little England. A chill place on top of the hill with mid-temperatures and quick changes of weather, from raining to shine in a matter of minutes.

Nuwara Eliya is an authentic gem of Sri Lanka, in a middle way from Kandy to Ella riding the instagrammable train of Sri Lanka.


PLACES TO SEE IN NUWARA ELIYA

An awesome guide to the best places to visit in Nuwara Eliya


BEAUTIFUL PLACES IN NUWARA ELIYA

  • Boat ride on Gregory Lake
  • Nuwara Eliya Tea plantations tour
  • Pedro Tea Estate
  • Nuwara Eliya Falls
  • Ramboda Falls
  • St. Clair’s Falls
  • Laxapana Falls
  • Davon waterfalls
  • Glenn Waterfalls
  • Walk in Victoria Park
  • Blue Train from Kandy to Ella
  • Nuwara Eliya Golf Camp
  • Galway’s National Park
  • Shantipura pointview

A BIT OF HISTORY ABOUT NUWARA ELIYA

This place sits in the hill country, in a kind of winter with similar conditions of Great Britain Island. Because of that, it has been renewed with the name of Little England.

A charming nickname was given because in the shape of a proper British village, with holiday bungalows and style. But originally Nuwara Eliya was an uninhabited land, full of forests and meadows.

It starts to get a British shape when the colonists start to grow typical English products for their own consumption while in Sri Lanka. The production of vegetables, fruits such as strawberries and lettuce was starting to grow very well thanks to the weather conditions.

British tried to grow coffee, before tea on the hills of Nuwara Eliya

Best Places to visit in Nuwara Eliya

After that, the colonists tried to grow coffee, with the intent to make it an export product. This was a failure due to a disease. The British switched to the cultivation of tea plants. It started to go really well, with the first plantation at Loolecondera Estate.

This new product was started in the mountains between Nuwara Eliya and Kandy. After this one, the town started to grow with workers coming from India, experts in this kind of cultivation. Many other British started to grow their own tea fields in Nuwara Eliya, making it the little England district we know today.


NUWARA ELIYA FAMOUS TRAVEL PLACES


Boat ride on Gregory Lake

Gregory's Lake Nuwara Eliya - Sri Lanka

This is the first place you will see in Nuwara Eliya. Lake Gregory is the place where the local family hangs out on a free day or public holiday. You will see how gorgeous the scenery of the lake is, and how it gets crowded with sunshine.

The landscape of Lake Gregory is a breathtaking scenario that will remain in your memories. Whether you are visiting Nuwara Eliya for one day, or more, you will end up spending a lot of time around this lake. We suggest you hire a bike and go cycling around the lake but there are plenty of other activities.

You can hire a speed boat or if you feel romantic, going with your other half on a swan boat. You will have fun seeing all the places to visit in Nuwara Eliya.

Nuwara Eliya Tea plantations tour – Places to visit in Nuwara Eliya

Best tea plantations in Sri Lanka
The green leaves of the tea plantations are giving to this part of Sri Lanka an awesome landscape. That’s why visit a tea factory is in our list of places to see in Nuwara Eliya.

If you are placing Nuwara Eliya in your itinerary of Sri Lanka, you are considering visiting one of the many tea plantations in the area. We suggest you check out a tea plantation tour of Nuwara Eliya, to have a better idea of what this cultivation means for the people here.

Sri Lanka is renowned for the best tea in the world, and once it was called Ceylon for this reason. If you are keen to spend a day in the field with local workers, learning much more about tea and sipping a cup of a good one, we suggest checking our guide to the best tea plantations in Sri Lanka.

A tour to the best tea plantation is a must-do in our guide of best places to visit in Nuwara Eliya. The below is the list of some of the best tea plantations in Nuwara Eliya.

Pedro Tea Estate

While we were visiting Nuwara Eliya, in a typical English climate situation. Puring, cold (that we didn’t have enough clothes for these conditions), but ready to sip the best tea in the world.

The high altitude of the region has given to Pedro Tea Estate a unique taste for their tea production. Visiting one of the most incredible factories in Sri Lanka you will also see how tea leaves are processed, from picking to packaging.

The local worker is so nice to take you through the tea fields, showing you which are the best tea leaves to pick, and which are not. You will learn how to pluck tea leaves and also chat with a local worker.

At the end of the tour, you will get your eyes lost on the amazing landscape sipping a cup of the best tea in the world.

Lipton Tea Fields Nuwara Eliya – Lipton Seat

Lipton tea plantations in Nuwara Eliya

One of the most scenic tea fields in Sri Lanka is the Lipton Estate. Well known worldwide as the best tea in the world, the Lipton tea fields are close to Nuwara Eliya. The Lipton’s seat is a scenic viewpoint situated at the edge of Dambethenna tea estate. Check for a tour in the fields.

Sir Thomas Lipton was used to enjoying the view from this place when he was at Dambethenna estate. The Haputale-Dambethenna buses are going till Dambethenna tea factory. You can get a tuk-tuk from Dambethenna tea factory or walk though tea estate (It is about 6 km but there are short cuts down the curves) to reach the place. 

You can get a view of five provinces from Lipton’s seat. There is a separate observation deck built at a higher place. Better to visit this place in the morning hours, otherwise, you will lose the right lights and scenario. The mountains and hills get surrounded by a mist that covers the view.

–> Book your tour of Lipton’s fields


BEAUTIFUL PLACES IN NUWARA ELIYA – THE FALLS –


Nuwara Eliya Falls

Being at this altitude is giving Nuwara Eliya some of the most beautiful landscapes of the entire country. If you are seeking adventure and curious to see what looks like the wild forests, you should go to a Fall.

  • Ramboda Falls | A scenic landscape that you won’t forget
  • St. Clair’s Major Falls | Not huge, but spectacular
  • Laxapana Falls | 126 mt falls from nowhere, 8th highest waterfall in Sri Lanka.
  • Davon waterfalls | A 97 metres spectacular and dramatic waterfall
  • Glenn Falls | Not as spectacular as the others, but easy to reach close to the city centre

A short Walk in Victoria Park

Arriving there you will understand what it means to visit Nuwara Eliya, it is a proper encounter with nature. Here is the ideal place to relax and enjoy the surrounding landscapes. Victoria Park is for many the symbol of the British coloniser in an empty land.

This is a public park, and can’t miss it. Named after Queen Victoria, the park was originally a research field of the Hakgala Botanical Garden. The awesome scenery and quiet atmosphere make it the absolute spot where to enjoy the calm Nuwara Eliya. Head to the riverside, which runs through the Park, the Nanu Oya River. That stream is creating a few small lakes home to rare bird species. This is a perfect spot for kids as well, thanks to the playground and an awesome miniature rideable railway.

Nuwara Eliya Golf Camp

Being a place built up like British county, Nuwara Eliya couldn’t miss having a golf camp too. The oldest golf camp in the country is here, in the centre of Sri Lanka. Established in 1889 is an 18-hole camp of 100 acres, built on about 1800 metres above sea level and today counts 2000 members.

If you are not a golfer we can understand that, but you can still have access to the establishment and visit the awesome terrace. It will be like coming back to the past, with an old fashioned bar with a view over the golf course. To remain on topic, you should have a traditional English Breakfast at the Nuwara Eliya Golf Camp.

TAKE THE MOST GORGEOUS TRAIN RIDE IN THE WORLD, ON BOARD OF THE BLUE TRAIN FROM KANDY TO ELLA


The beautiful blue train ride is an awesome dream for every traveller. Take the cheap ride from Kandy to Ella and snap your best shot.

Blue Train from Kandy to Ella

Nuwara Eliya has become famous thanks to the tea fields, the awesome landscapes and also for the instagrammable train which goes from Kandy to Ella. Nuwara Eliya station is right in the middle of the ride from the amazing second biggest city of Sri Lanka, and the new backpacker’s town of the Island, Ella.

Travellers from everywhere in the world are attracted here by the photos of Sri Lanka posted on social media. We did it too, and it was incredible. It is not easy to catch the perfect shot, and both photographer and model should be careful while trying to snap it.

We have to be honest it was dangerous, many say that the train is going slowly so it is easy, but for us, it was not. The train was fast and gambled a lot. We tried to catch our shot while it was approaching the train station, so it was slowing down. Don’t do that if you are not used to this kind of photography set.

Galway’s Land National Park

This park does not last for importance, instead is one of the wildest spots and for sure a place to visit in Nuwara Eliya. This is not a popular spot in Sri Lanka, but still, a good place to visit. A 2 Kilometres long walk will take you inside the forest. 

Mainly known as a place ideal for bird watchers, if you have spare time in Nuwara Eliya you should consider taking a break from sightseeing and tea-sipping, visiting Galway’s Land National Park.

Shantipura Point view

If you are looking for the highest point of view over the city of Nuwara Eliya, you should take a tuk tuk to Shantipura Point view. This highest point has the best view in town. On a clear day, you will be able to spot the stunning Pidurutalagala and Adam’s Peak to the distance. But this is 360 views over the hills and mountains of the Nuwara Eliya district. On your right, you can notice Kikiliyamana and Kakgala.

TOURIST MAP OF NUWARA ELIYA


HOW TO REACH NUWARA ELIYA


NUWARA ELIYA FROM COLOMBO

Nuwara Eliya is 180 Km away from Colombo. It is not an easy journey because of traffic and dusty roads with just one lane for each side. There is a bus from Colombo, the number 79, which goes back and further 3 times per day, with a drive of six hours. You can also try to reach Kandy before Nuwara Eliya, splitting the trip in two.

This is also the cheapest solution to reach Nuwara Eliya from Colombo. The bus ticket will cost you 200 LKR which is 1$ USD. We don’t mention the train ride from Colombo, which includes a short ride from Nanuoya to your staying in Nuwara Eliya by Private Transport.

If you wish to go by train to Nuwara Eliya, you should take the train at Colombo Fort to Nanuoya, which costs from 1$ USD to 3 $ USD depending which ticket you purchase, 1st to 3rd class. At Nanuoya, you have to go by a bus ride, which is not guaranteed, or by taxi for 6 miles. It will raise up your costs, for the same journey hours, 6 hours, but with one more chance.

COLOMBO TO ELLA BLUE TRAIN TIMETABLE

From Colombo Fort | 05:55 am, 08:30 am – This doesn’t stop in Kandy
From Peradeniya Junction | 08:32 am, 10:55 am – This doesn’t stop in Kandy
From Kandy | 08:47am, 11:10am

Blue Train Photos Sri Lanka

ELLA TO NUWARA ELIYA

You can also do the track in the opposite way travellers used to do. Starting your trip from Ella, and passing by Nuwara Eliya, reaching, in the end, Kandy and then Colombo. This is an unusual way to take a ride on the blue train, but no less gorgeous.

From Ella, you have just to take the train in the direction of Kandy, or Peradeniya Station. The last one is just about 7 Kilometres away from Kandy.

KANDY TO NUWARA ELIYA TRAIN

Let’s stick on the original track. Many people are going to travel in the same way from Kandy to Ella, passing by Nuwara Eliya. You will see awesome scenery that will be imprinted in your memories forever.

The best way to go from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya by train is actually to catch your ride at Peradeniya Station, which is 7 Kilometres away from Kandy. An old fashioned station that will be part of your travelling memories.

From Peradeniya, you have to take the train to Nanu Oya, which is running twice a day, at 8:40 and 12.23. The train is quickly approaching the station, so be quick to jump in. Remember that the 1st class is in front, and the last two carriages are the 3rd class. Usually is the second platform, but check before, if it is yours, the train is going to the right.

Check the active timetable and more information.

From Kandy to Peradeniya

While there are more options to catch your train to Nuwara Eliya from Kandy, you should reach Peradeniya first. From Kandy train station there is a train at 8:25, which arrives in just 5 minutes to the station. While there are just two platforms you should not run to catch your train.

If you are not keen to run, you can take a tuk tuk, which will take about 10 minutes, or a taxi.

Couple on a blue train in Sri Lanka

HOW FAR IS NUWARA ELIYA FROM KANDY?

As said, reaching Nuwara Eliya from Kandy by train will take you to Peradeniya Station in order to catch your ride. The distance is not a lot, just 40 Km by train, but it is not the best conditions and so it will take 6 hours. The same time it will take using roads. The distance between the two awesome places in Sri Lanka is 80 Kilometres.

DOES THE KANDY TO ELLA TRAIN STOP AT NUWARA ELIYA?

YES. The scenic train ride that has been shown many times on Instagram by travellers from everywhere in the world is passing by some of the best landscapes in the hill country.

The blue train was initially built per commercial use. It was the main transport way for tea and coffee from the hill country to the major port of Sri Lanka, Colombo, for export purposes.

Today, this train is the best and affordable way to travel through one of the wildest parts of Sri Lanka, and also a vital transport link for locals.

The Kandy to Ella train

If you are staying in Kandy, follow our itinerary of things to do in the capital of culture of Sri Lanka. You can catch the blue train toward Ella. This train is actually starting in Colombo, as you can see from the time table above.

The train ride is a long journey of about 10 hours, sometimes less. It is stopping in Kandy, where you can catch the train toward Ella. This train will also stop in Nuwara Eliya and Haputale, for a unique experience in Sri Lanka.

You can book your ticket in advance, here. Or 2nd class ticket with assigned seat for 15$.


Essential information travelling to -Nuwara Eliya –


WEATHER NUWARA ELIYA

Arriving by train in Nuwara Eliya, we were almost in shock. The temperature changed while the landscape was changing. We were more high compared to Kandy, but the temperature was dropping. We were not really prepared for that, with just one jumper and raining coat, that was all our equipment for chilly temperatures.

Sri Lanka is a tropical Island, which consists of two specific seasons, wet and dry. Despite that Nuwara Eliya is an internal area of the country and brings this distinction of seasons to excess.

It was decided by the British to create a perfect area for particular conditions for a specific reason, the unique weather conditions of Nuwara Eliya. The constant change of climate, temperatures and the rapid transition from cloudy to sunny, has made it the name of “little England”.

ACCOMMODATION IN NUWARA ELIYA

Those are our suggestions for your stay in Nuwara Eliya. We have tried to point you to the best hotels in the tea fields for a true experience in Sri Lanka.

The Tea Garden | Fine villas close to the lake, surrounded by the green meadows and tea fields. Check Availability and Prices.

Luxe Wilderness | The best view in town, with luxurious appliances should be the first choice while visiting Nuwara Eliya. Check Availability and prices.

The Golder Ridge Hotel | Pricey compared to the others, but absolutely the best. This hotel features the best in the industry, with a full glass view pool to enjoy even if it’s cold outside. Look at the stunning rooms.

Queenswood Cottage | English Cottage Style in Sri Lanka, a good alternative to see how far can go the British Culture away from the UK. Check the amenities.

Tea fields landscape by the blue train from Kandy to Ella

HOW TO APPLY FOR AN ETA TO SRI LANKA

So far Sri Lanka has opened the door to travellers, giving free visas to many countries in the World. We are Italian and had the chance to apply for a free visa, but unfortunately, we requested it before that was going on and paid 35$ for our access to the country.

Generally, a Visa for Sri Lanka will give you access for 30 days to the country but is renewable two times for another 30 days each. Even if your country is on this list of free visas, you must request it. Applying for an ETA to Sri Lanka is easy, Getting a Visa for Sri Lanka is easy. Just follow the steps on the local government website.

We did apply for our ETA online and within half an hour we had it accepted. It is so easy and quick that we suggest you do it prior to your trip. There is a chance that you can do a Visa on Arrival at the airport, but obviously it will cost you a bit more, 40$ and you should queue for it.

ESSENTIAL THINGS TO PACK FOR YOUR TRIP TO SRI LANKA

If you are packing your bags, there are a couple of things that you need to have with you.

COMFORTABLE SHOES | Those will save your life if you are looking to hike Pidurangala and Sigiriya Rock. But also strolling around the cities.

REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE | Humid and Hot could be beaten just drinking a lot. Buy a reusable water bottle in advance of your trip to Sri Lanka.

SUNCREAM | Sun will be direct and you need sun cream to don’t get burnt.

TRIPOD | Everyone loves taking pictures and sometimes with a tripod it can be easier than asking someone else. We use this!

SANITISER WIPES OR HAND SANITISER | Spending your day always around you won’t be able to wash your hands frequently and this is why you should have a hand sanitiser.

POWER BANK | Your phone battery is very important especially if you love taking pictures with your phone. So, don’t forget to pack a power bank. Check this power bank for your next trip!

CAMERA | It can be the most incredible adventure of your life. Go on a safari in Sri Lanka could be the perfect time to take back that old dusty camera you wish always to use more. This is our Camera Gear, have a look.

DO YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT SRI LANKA? CHECK OUR GUIDES

VISIT COLOMBO |The ultimate guide on how to spend 2 days in Colombo.
12 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN KANDY | A complete itinerary of Kandy, the capital of the culture of Sri Lanka.
THINGS TO DO IN JAFFNA | How the Norther capital of Sri Lanka. An adventure in the pearl of the Indian Ocean.
PIDURANGALA ROCK HIKE | Watch the best sunrise in Sri Lanka from the top of Pidurangala.
THE SECRETS OF SIGIRIYA | Come with us to discover the gems of Sri Lanka. Visit Sigiriya one of the most important Unesco World Heritage Site of the country.
NEGOMBO | Enjoy your holidays in Sri Lanka on a palm beach.
PHOTOS OF SRI LANKA  |A photo gallery through one of the beautiful. Those photos will inspire you to visit Sri Lanka.
SRI LANKA ITINERARY | Our Sri Lanka itinerary in 10 days.
CEYLON TEA | A trip through the best tea plantations of Sri Lanka
ELEPHANT SAFARI | An amazing adventure in Minneriya National Park.

See all our posts about Sri Lanka

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