Nuwara Eliya was founded by Sir Samuel Baker, the discoverer of Lake Albert and the explorer of the Nile around 1825. It soon became a retreat for British civil servants seeking to escape from the heat of the plains. The city is overlooked by Pidurutalagala, the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka.
Many of the buildings retain features from the colonial period such as Queen’s Cottage, General’s House, Grand Hotel, Hill Club & the Post Office.
Nuwara Eliya, known as “Little England”, now attracts visitors from all over the world for its picturesque landscape and cool climate. Both road and rail approaches to Nuwara Eliya are spectacularly beautiful; both routes hug narrow mountain passes to make the 6,000-foot climb in rather terrifying gradients. And in this case, it is as good to arrive as to journey.
The air is cold and intoxicatingly fresh, blowing clean and cold from the high cloud-crowned Pidurutalagala range, scented with cypress and faintly mentholated, with wild mint and eucalyptus. Deep springy turf, frosted with daisies and pink thrift; hillsides deep in evergreens or golden with gorse. The Nuwara Eliya post-office with its clock-spire is authentic English; so is the war memorial and the lovely old Anglican church. One might almost write an elegy among the mossed and lichened headstones and somber yews.
One doubts whether a more correct and precisely English institution than the Hill Club can ever be found – in England or outside. Old hunting prints, stuffed fish and Constance Spry flower arrangements adorn its dim interiors, gleaming with polished oak. Churchill stares down belligerently from the bar-room wall and Annigoni’s first portrait of the Queen still hangs in the lounge.
The jewel in the crown of Nuwara Eliya is the 117-year old 18 hole championship golf course in the heart of the town. The course starts from one corner of the town and is nestled into the valley, between the town and the surrounding forested hills. At 1890 metres above sea level, the course features fir lined fairways & bunkers. The 9th is an island green surrounded by bunkers. Water (rivers) come into play on 6 holes. The course is one of the most naturally scenic in the world. Par 71, 18 holes, 6056 yards, 5520 metres.
You have the option of enjoying a scenic train journey from Hatton via Great Western & Talawakelle to Nanu Oya, the closest railway station to Nuwara Eliya, which is about 10 km away. Tea Trails vehicle meets you at Nanu Oya to complete the journey to Nuwara Eliya. Return to Tea Trails by Tea Trails vehicle.