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For the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

Destination of the Month: Sri Lanka

March 1, 2014

 

It's so much more than just a beach holiday.

Sri Lanka is a destination for an immersive holiday, a place of intense and permanent memories.

It is an island of stunning beaches, arid plains, lush vegetation in the low hill country and stunning expansive estates in the high tea country.

British colonial heritage is everywhere, the influence of Dutch and Portuguese settlers and a deep cultural and Buddhist religious heritage is felt throughout the island and its culture.

Sri Lankan cuisine blends the best of vegetarian, meat and fish with aromatic spices and abundant locally grown produce, to create an explosion of taste.

All of which means there's a mix of things to experience, from landscapes and wildlife to culture, food and relaxation.

The best months to travel to the west coast are December to April or July to September.

The east coast is best experienced between May and November. Climate is sub-tropical, with year round temperatures of 26-32C.

August sees the 'Grand Perahera', a 10-day religious festival with a nightly parade of elephants clad in embroidered silk and travelling between temples. The circuits grow in length as the days elapse, with the climatic 'Randoli Perahera' involving 100 or more animals.

We offer a variety of hotels from basic to luxury, but to get the best from this wonderful country we recommend boutique and authentic properties like Rosyth Estate House.

Set in a working tea and rubber estate, guests can visit the local tea factory, chill by the pool, laze in the library or take in the stunning views of this private paradise in the hills.

In fact you could get this for free, as Abbotts and their partners, Travel Gallery, are giving away one prize of a complimentary two-night stay at the Estate House for two people on a half board basis.

But every guest who books two nights here between May and June or October and November will receive a third night free, as a thank you.

It's possible to fly direct from London on Sri Lankan airlines, but other options – including stopovers in Dubai or the Maldives – are available.

A quick tip: when planning an itinerary don’t be fooled by distances. Roads and progress can be slow so avoid one night stops, unless you are looking for a nonstop driving holiday.

Alternatively, let Abbotts help plan your perfect trip.

 

Sample Itinerary for 15-day Sri Lankan holiday

Days 1 - 3

Arrival in Colombo, and transfer to Vil Uyana, a boutique hotel located in the cultural triangle and named by Harper's Bazaar as Best Eco Luxury Hotel in Sri Lanka.

Tours of Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa, and spend time on the Minneriya Elephant Jeep Safari, witnessing herds gathering around a third century reservoir to drink.

Days 4 - 6

Transfer to Kegalle for three nights at Rosyth Estate House, a former planters bungalow set in a 62-acre private estate, and which comes with impeccable reviews.

Tour Dambulla and visit a range of sights from a tea factory and Elephant orphanage to Kandy Tooth Temple and also the Botanic Gardens. Spend the rest of your time at leisure.


Days 7 - 8

Transfer to Nuwara Eliya's Tea Factory, a gorgeous conversion which, as the name implies, lets you pick your own tea from the plantation.

Aside from that plantation you can also take a train trip to Nan Oya, returning by car, and visit Horton Plains National Park.

Days 9 - 10

Transfer to Yala for two nights at the luxury Jetwing Yala, set close to one of the best wildlife destinations in Asia.

The highlight will be a Leopard safari, because Yala has one of the highest concentrations of these beautiful big cats of anywhere on Earth.

Days 11 - 15

Transfer to Kogalla for five nights of relaxation at the Fortress Hotel.

Take a tour of Galle City and spend a morning whale watching. The rest of your time can be spent experiencing the hotel's incredible spa treatments or taking the sun on its pristine beaches, letting the warm waters of the Indian Ocean lap at your feet!

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