A taste of Colonial Britain in the hills of Sri Lanka is what you can expect when you arrive in Nuwara Eliya (also known as Little England). It’s colder than the rest of Sri Lanka (very British), is surrounded by green leafy tea fields and is dotted with Colonial mansions. I spent three days here wandering the streets and soaking up the interesting juxtaposition between Sri Lankan and English culture. From hiking to the World’s End to having high tea in the stunning grounds of the Grand Hotel, here are the top 5 things to do in Nuwara Eliya.
1. Take high tea at the Grand Hotel
Daaarrrling is there anything more sophisticated than taking high tea in the foothills of Nuwara Eliya? Well, no there isn’t, and for around $8 USD per person, you don’t even need to be earning that top dollar to attend. High tea runs from 3:30 – 6pm everyday at The Grand Hotel and was definitely one of my favourite things to do in Nuwara Eliya, so much so we went twice in three days. You’re served with the traditional tray layered with sandwiches and sweet treats and your choice of all you can drink coffee or tea.
How to Get to The Grand Hotel: The Grand Hotel is a 30-minute walk from the centre of town on Grand Hotel road.
Quick Facts: Cost: $8+ | Time needed: 2 hours| Verdict: Definitely one of the best places to visit in Nuwara Eliya, especially if you’re a foodie.
2. Wander around Little England
If you’re wondering what to do in Nuwara Eliya, start with a stroll around the beautiful streets of Little England. They are green and tree-lined and the properties are super impressive – old colonial style with gorgeous grounds. Just peeping through the fences is fascinating. The loop around Victoria Park is the most impressive, it takes you past the golf course and some amazing hotels and churches.
Quick Facts: Cost: free | Time needed: 2 – 3 hours| Verdict: It’s a lovely way to see many of the Nuwara Eliya Sri Lanka points of interest, however, isn’t mandatory if you’re short on time.
3. Hike to the World’s End
The hike to the World’s End is one of the most popular things to do in Nuwara Eliya, and for good reason. The view from the top of the 880-metre drop is incredible. And on a clear day, you can see all the way to Udawalewe National Park. To get from Nuwara Eliya to World’s End you’ll have to hire a driver (it’s a 1.5 hour drive), and the best idea is to set off early (around 5 am) so you have a chance of watching the spectacular sunrise over the valley. Want more details? Check out my article on everything you need to know before hiking the World’s End.
Quick Facts: Cost: Around $40 USD (this covers your driver and entry) | Time needed: 1/2 day | Verdict: Definitely one of the most spectacular places to visit in Nuwara Eliya, a must-do
4. Sip your afternoon away at a tea plantation
You can’t really go to Nuwara Eliya without visiting one of the surrounding tea factories. We stopped in at Bluefields Tea Factory and took a super informative tour with one of the ladies there. You also get a nice cuppa included.
How to Get to Bluefields Tea Factory Nuwara Eliya: This is another activity you’ll need a driver for. It will take about an hour to reach from Nuwara Eliya but it is possible to stop on your way up to Kandy.
Quick Facts: Cost: Around $25 USD (for a driver. $5 USD for the tour) | Time needed: 3 hours+ | Verdict: Sipping tea here, post tour, is one of the nicest things to do in Nuwara Eliya, And it can be organised as a day tour along with a visit to the Ramboda Falls.
5. Visit Ramboda Falls
Ramboda falls is about an hour out of town but is one of the more beautiful places to visit in Nuwara Eliya. It’s also a great spot to stop off at on your way up to Kandy if you have a driver. Most people get out and hike closer to the end of the falls, but our driver let us in on a little secret. If you stop at the Ramboda Falls Hotel enter and go down several flights of stairs to the right you’ll come out at a beautiful viewing point for the falls.
How to Get to Ramboda Falls: Organise as part of a day trip visit to the Bluefields Tea Factory, or on your way to Kandy.
Quick Facts: Cost: Around $20 USD (for a driver. Free to enter) | Time needed: 3 hours+ | Verdict: One of the most beautiful places in Nuwara Eliya, however if you’re short on time or not going past on your way to Kandy you can probably skip it.
Where to stay in Nuwara Eliya
From budget hostels to up-market hotels there are plenty of great places to stay in Nuwara Eliya. We chose to stay at the Mount Mary Inn. A cute little homestay style hotel located really close to the centre of town with great WIFI and really comfortable beds. (You can check the latest rates and availability here.) If you’re on the hunt for accommodation in Nuwara Eliya here are some more suggestions.
UYOU Ceylon Guest House
Cottage San Francesco
Singha Sanasa Luxury Homestay
How to get to Nuwara Eliya
Nuwara Eliya is a stop along the world’s most beautiful train ride from Ella to Kandy. A first-class ticket from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya costs around $10 USD and will take you 4 hours. The train ride from Ella to Nuwara Eliya also takes around 4 hours and costs around $10 USD. A few things to note. The train doesn’t actually stop in Nuwara Eliya so it can be a little confusing. It stops in Nanu Oya, so you just take a tuk-tuk or a taxi from there. Trains also fill up very quickly in the high season, so I would try and book 3-4 days in advance.
Completed all of the best things to do in Nuwara Eliya and want more of Sri Lanka?
Like it? Pin it!
There are links within this post – best things to do in Nuwara Eliya that I can earn commission on. This allows me to keep providing free travel tips and destination guides. If you’re thinking about purchasing something I have recommended I’d really appreciate it if you bought it through this site. All opinions as always remain my own.