Tailormade tour Sri Lanka Colonial Heritage Route tour Sri Lanka

8 nights/9 days

Colombo • Tea Country • Galle

Experience the colonial heritage of this island, occupied over the centuries by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British; the life of a tea planter in the tea-clad valleys of the highlands, the old Dutch fortress city of Galle and bustling Colombo, as well as picturesque mountain scenery, coastlines, and tropical forests.

Holiday price guide

Available year-round subject to the opening period of the hotels, from about £2,270 per person.

Luxury touring holiday with driver-guide of the colonial heritage of Sri Lanka staying in Colombo, Tea Country and Galle

This 8-night tour takes you first from London to Bandaranaike International Airport. Here, your English-speaking chauffeur-guide meets you and transfers you to your hotel in Colombo, where you experience the traditional atmosphere of the Regency at the Galle Face Hotel. There is time to explore the capital with a guided tour and then you are at leisure to explore on your own. Then on day three you are driven inland towards Kandy, a bustling town of colonial buildings and ancient religious symbols. Your first tea country hotel is south of here near the famous first tea plantation established by James Taylor. A free day in this area gives you change to explore the history of tea and this region in more depth. Then on day five your driver heads south, stopping first at Nuwara Eliya, known as Little England, before stopping at your second tea country hotel in the Highlands, another tea planter’s house. There is a free full day here to explore, perhaps a tea factory, plantations or Hakgala Botanical gardens. Your final two-night stop is in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Galle and you stay within the Galle Fort itself.

Highlights

Colombo • Deltota • Kandy • Loolecondera • Nuwara Eliya • Ambewala • Galle

Day by day

You will be met on arrival and driven by your English-speaking chauffeur guide who will accompany you throughout your tour of Sri Lanka. You are taken to your hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s commercial capital and a hectic mix of old and new, colonial architecture sitting alongside modern glass. We suggest you soak up the traditional atmosphere of Colombo by staying at the Regency at the Galle Face Hotel for 2 nights.

Enjoy a city tour this morning, offering a chance for you to experience the colonial charm of buildings such as the Lighthouse Clock Tower in North Chatham Street and the 18th century Queen’s House, now the president’s official residence. Religious architecture reflects the mix of peoples here – there is the Dutch Church at Wolfendal and the Hindu Temple at Sea Street. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore on your own, perhaps to visit the National Museum or the lively Pettah Bazaar.

It’s a drive of about 3.5 hours from Colombo to your first hotel in the hills of the Tea Country, south of Kandy, where you stop en route to visit the town, the Temple of the Tooth and the botanical gardens at Peradeniya. You continue south to Taylor’s Hill, a tea planter’s house, named after James Taylor, who historically began the cultivation of tea in Sri Lanka. The small hotel retains the charm and warmth of a beautifully preserved colonial house. You stay here for 2 nights.

A full day to explore the cultural and historic sites of the area around the house, with Loolecondera tea estate being nearby and the plantation started by James Taylor in 1867. There is a museum at the estate.

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast as the sun burns through the morning mist. This 118-year-old English planter’s house is picturesquely tucked within the Ambewala mountain range overlooking a deep tea-clad valley, located on 30 acres of its own farm and tea plantation. Walk through the tea plantations and visit a tea factory to see how tea is manufactured. Attractions such as Nuwara Eliya, Hakgala Botanical Gardens and Horton Plains are nearby.

Today after an early breakfast, you will be driven through mountain scenery and down to the lush tropical forests and plantations of Sri Lanka’s south-west (approximately 6 hours’ drive). Stay inside the Galle Fort itself for 2 nights.

After breakfast, head off to explore Galle at leisure, taking in the rich heritage, culture and architecture of this historic fortress town and port. Galle Fort, constructed by the Dutch East India Company as a fortified town, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is still intact and has a thriving community living and working within its walls. Walk along the ramparts with the sea on one side and the famous Galle cricket ground on the other. The myriad narrow streets within the Fort are fascinating for their architecture and are lined with official buildings, shops and town houses, some of which have been converted to stylish villas and boutique hotels.

Transfer to the airport (approximately 2.5 hours’ drive) for your flight home.

We were incredibly impressed by our guide/driver. He helped make the trip. The holiday exceeded our expectations.
Mrs A, January 2019

Holiday price guide From about £2,270 per person based on two people sharing a double room and including economy flights from London.

Holiday Code SLDG04

Luxury touring holiday with driver-guide of the colonial heritage of Sri Lanka staying in Colombo, Tea Country and Galle

You will be met on arrival and driven by your English-speaking chauffeur guide who will accompany you throughout your tour of Sri Lanka. You are taken to your hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s commercial capital and a hectic mix of old and new, colonial architecture sitting alongside modern glass. We suggest you soak up the traditional atmosphere of Colombo by staying at the Regency at the Galle Face Hotel for 2 nights.

Enjoy a city tour this morning, offering a chance for you to experience the colonial charm of buildings such as the Lighthouse Clock Tower in North Chatham Street and the 18th century Queen’s House, now the president’s official residence. Religious architecture reflects the mix of peoples here – there is the Dutch Church at Wolfendal and the Hindu Temple at Sea Street. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore on your own, perhaps to visit the National Museum or the lively Pettah Bazaar.

It’s a drive of about 3.5 hours from Colombo to your first hotel in the hills of the Tea Country, south of Kandy, where you stop en route to visit the town, the Temple of the Tooth and the botanical gardens at Peradeniya. You continue south to Taylor’s Hill, a tea planter’s house, named after James Taylor, who historically began the cultivation of tea in Sri Lanka. The small hotel retains the charm and warmth of a beautifully preserved colonial house. You stay here for 2 nights.

A full day to explore the cultural and historic sites of the area around the house, with Loolecondera tea estate being nearby and the plantation started by James Taylor in 1867. There is a museum at the estate.

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast as the sun burns through the morning mist. This 118-year-old English planter’s house is picturesquely tucked within the Ambewala mountain range overlooking a deep tea-clad valley, located on 30 acres of its own farm and tea plantation. Walk through the tea plantations and visit a tea factory to see how tea is manufactured. Attractions such as Nuwara Eliya, Hakgala Botanical Gardens and Horton Plains are nearby.

Today after an early breakfast, you will be driven through mountain scenery and down to the lush tropical forests and plantations of Sri Lanka’s south-west (approximately 6 hours’ drive). Stay inside the Galle Fort itself for 2 nights.

After breakfast, head off to explore Galle at leisure, taking in the rich heritage, culture and architecture of this historic fortress town and port. Galle Fort, constructed by the Dutch East India Company as a fortified town, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is still intact and has a thriving community living and working within its walls. Walk along the ramparts with the sea on one side and the famous Galle cricket ground on the other. The myriad narrow streets within the Fort are fascinating for their architecture and are lined with official buildings, shops and town houses, some of which have been converted to stylish villas and boutique hotels.

Transfer to the airport (approximately 2.5 hours’ drive) for your flight home.

Holiday price guide From about £2,270 per person based on two people sharing a double room and including economy flights from London.

Holiday Code SLDG04

Our prices include ● Return scheduled flights with British Airways or Sri Lankan Airlines to Colombo in economy class
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in Colombo
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in Deltota
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in Ambewala
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in Galle
● Private English-speaking chauffeur-guide in an air-conditioned Japanese car throughout the itinerary
● Entrance fees to the monuments listed
● Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

Our prices do not include ● Visas (A visa is a requirement for entry to Sri Lanka and can be obtained on line from www.eta.gov.lk)
● Early check-in or late check-out at any hotels (although we can arrange this on request at additional cost)
● Any other services not mentioned above, such as transfers and meals except breakfast at hotels
● Personal holiday insurance. This is essential and cover should be in place from when you book the holiday.
● Local tourist tax, payable locally to the hotel
● Camera fees where applicable
● Optional excursions – to be pre-booked and at a supplement

Holiday price guide

From about £2,270 per person based on two people sharing a double room and including economy flights from London.

Holiday Code SLDG04

Luxury touring holiday with driver-guide of the colonial heritage of Sri Lanka staying in Colombo, Tea Country and Galle

About Colombo

Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo, has gradually grown from humble beginnings as a tiny 5th century trading post for gems to become Sri Lanka’s largest city and its most important port. The island’s commercial capital is a hectic mix of old and new, colonial architecture sitting next to modern glass and tree-lined residential suburbs bordered by shacks. Nifty 3-wheelers and the occasional bullock cart vie with noisy buses and 4-wheel drives for supremacy on the streets. There is a lot to see and explore during your stay in Colombo. To the north of the city is Fort, a business area with shops and offices and touches of residual colonial charm. The fort which gave the district its name has long since gone, though the Lighthouse Clock Tower in North Chatham Street and the 18th century ‘Queen’s House’, now the president’s official residence, still exist. To the south is Galle Face Green, a sea-front expanse of green lawn beside an esplanade which is used to host race meetings and sports events and is a popular gathering place, especially for kite-flying or a sunset stroll. At its south end stands the colonial Galle Face Hotel, the oldest hotel in Colombo which was built in 1864. Further south is Cinnamon Gardens, the city’s most fashionable neighbourhood with tree-lined streets and colonial mansions. A small national art gallery borders the pleasant Viharamahadevi Park. The National Museum, on Albert Crescent, has a collection ranging from religious bronzes to possessions of the last Kandyan kings. All around the city, Buddhist temples, Hindu Kovils, mosques and churches give a glimpse into the spiritual vibrancy of Sri Lankan life, especially during religious festivals. Gangaramaya Buddhist temple, in particular, is fascinating for any visitor, as well as the Hindu Temple at Sea Street which is lined with goldsmith's shops, the Dutch Church at Wolfendal, dating back to 1749 and the historic Davatagaha Mosque. Colombo also offers some excellent shopping opportunities: the lively Pettah Bazaar competes with shopping malls and fashion stores and you can buy anything from gems to cricket bats. Stores such as Barefoot, Paradise Road, Gandhara and Odel have a designer-chic range of home ware, fabrics, arts & crafts and clothes.

Highlights of Colombo

Fashion, jewellery, art, trendy homeware and Sri Lankan arts and crafts; Golf at Royal Colombo golf course; National Museum; Variety of restaurants; Afternoon tea or cocktails on the Ocean terrace of the Galle Face Hotel; Walking along the seafront at Galle Face Green; Pettah Bazaar; Buddhist temples (Gangaramaya, Bellanwilla); Colourful Hindu Kovils (Sri Subramaniam and Kailawasanthan Swamidevasthanam, the oldest); Dutch period museum. Near Colombo – Kelaniya Raja Maha Temple; Nightclubs and musical entertainment e.g. jazz, Asian pop bands, calypso, (mainly in the hotels).

Festivals in Colombo

Navam Perahera held in February is a 3-day pageant ending on Poya day (full moon), with dance troupes and decorated elephants, at Gangaramaya temple and along neighbouring streets.

Climate in Colombo

Colombo has an average temperature of 27° C, often reaching above 30° C during the day, slightly cooler in the evenings and during the monsoon season (May to August). It is hot and sticky, less so on the seafront with the sea breezes.

Travel around Colombo and Sri Lanka

We include private transfers with all our holidays to Sri Lanka, and a personal chauffer with all our touring holidays. Driving Distances: Colombo to Colombo International airport: 1 hour Colombo to Bentota: 2 hours, Colombo to Galle: 2 hours, Colombo to Kandy: 3.5 hours, Colombo to Dambulla: 4 hours.

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