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The British influence remains strong to this day as we explore some of the finest tea plantations Sri Lanka has to offer in Nuwara Eliya
After a week of travelling, we slow the pace down and relax in what was once the destination for the colonial empire’s Ceylon tea trails. The name Ceylon was given to Sri Lanka while the British controlled the country, which is why Sri Lankan tea is often called Ceylon tea. We find out the British influence remains strong to this day as we explore one of the finest tea plantations Sri Lanka has to offer in Nuwara Eliya. During the day, we visit Lovers Leap, explore the Pedro tea estate and enjoy a high tea. To experience the life of a local, there is an opportunity to pick your own tea leaves and discover the effort that goes into making the perfect cup of tea.
Nuwara Eliya was established as a retreat for the British during the period of British control of Sri Lanka. It’s the coolest place in Sri Lanka and thus the climate made the British colonists feel more at home and allowed them to undertake very British activities like game hunting, polo, horse racing, golf and cricket. The architecture of buildings around the town centre is grand and is not what you’d expect in Sri Lanka. The centrepiece of the city is the Queen Victoria Park and nearby Lake Gregory. The gardens in the park are perfect for an afternoon picnic or just relaxing in the warm sun.
Our guide will discuss options for guests to ensure they can experience as much or as little of Nuwra Eliya as they desire. Whether it be a round of golf, a walking tour of the towns architecture or indulging in cakes, tea and relaxation. The afternoon is free for guests to choose their own adventure, while the morning our guide takes guests on a tea hunting expedition in the plantation covered hills surrounding the town.
At our first stop, we arrive at the unfortunately named Lovers Leap waterfalls after our Tuk-Tuk navigates through beautiful tea plantations on the outskirts of town. The falls are thought to be named after a prince, rebelling from his father took the hand of his lover and then, before being dragged back to the palace, the pair leapt into the falls. Our visit will be somewhat less dramatic than the legend that the falls, however the 30m falls provide refreshing mist as you take in the view down the hill to the vegetable farms and villages below. If the weather has been wet, the thunder of the falls can be heard as you approach the viewpoint. Nearby, the jungle has begun to reclaim the edges of abandoned tea plants as we walk the last few hundred meters to the base of the falls.
Along the journey back down the hill the bright colours of tea pickers stand out from green carpet of tea, which provides a very Sri Lankan postcard view which many guidebooks talk of. Down the hill and across the road from Lovers leaps sits the Pedro tea factory. Some guests may have visited the tea museum in Kandy, however this factory is a working factory that produces tea using the same methods that the British brought to the area during colonization. A tour of the factory provides an insight into the production of tea, and how the tea from your morning cuppa makes its way from plant to tea pot. As is tradition in Sri Lanka, a visit to a tea factory isn’t complete without tasking a pot of the local brew while sitting on the balcony with a view of endless tea plantations.
The morning walk, cup of tea and educational tour of how tea is made should have worked up a British style appetite. Our next stop is at the aptly named Heritage Tea Factory Hotel. This tea house was converted into a luxury hotel about 20mins out of town and serves one of the nicest high teas around. Perched atop of the hill with amazing panoramic views guests will enjoy a fine high tea selection with a Sri Lankan twist. If you’re worn out, you can also book in for a massage at the day spa attached to the hotel, or if you have room after the high tea, a lunch or dinner in the train carriage attached to the building.
Arriving back in Nuwra Eliya, our guide will assist guests with whatever plans have made for the afternoon. We encourage an early night tonight as our early morning departure to Horton Plains the next day requires you to ensure you take some time to relax this afternoon.
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