Heritage City Excursions – Nuwara Eliya

A golf course, a race course, private clubs and a "Grand" Hotel - the city is an ode to the past

Nuwara Eliya, 48 km from Tea Trails, was first conceived as a health resort – a ‘hill station’ in British jargon – about 1825. After Nuwara Eliya was ‘discovered’ by a British hunting party in 1819, Sir Samuel Baker, the well-known explorer, fell under its spell in 1846 and planning to make it his home, imported to Nuwara Eliya all the appointments of an English country town, including a bailiff, Hereford and Durham cows, and even a blacksmith and a forge.

Nuwara Eliya is where old-world English architecture meets an evolving city striving to define a new identity, with old symbols of British Heritage standing strong. One of these is the “Hill Club” – a castle-like private resort that was once a bastion of leisure and lifestyle or the elite. Visitors are welcome for a brief tour and a spot of tea on the lawn.

We also visit the Nuwara Eliya Golf Club, a century-old old 18-hole championship golf course in the heart of the town. Contrary to the typical golf club, this clubhouse is quaint and charming and welcomes visitors. A G&T overlooking the 18th fairway is a must. If the weather is misty, the cosy bar is lined with old pictures and tournament winner’s boards spanning a century – quietly boasting a proud heritage while hosting visitors for a wee dram by the fireplace. Other sites we visit include the old racecourse, Lake Gregory, the Hakgala Botanical Gardens and the lively commotion of the Nuwara Eliya Market.

The day trip to Nuwara Eliya is in the company of a Tea Trails resident naturalist who is well versed in the significance and detail of key points of interests. Guests also have the option to do part of the excursion by train, which we recommended for some beautiful views and scenery.

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