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Established by the British in the 19th century, NuwaraEliya is often referred to as Sri Lanka’s “Little England”. Set in a wooded valley beneath the 2,524-m Pidurutalagala or Mount Pedro, the tallest peak in the country, it is the highest town on the island. With the cool through unpredictable climate, the town provides a welcome relief from the hot and humid lowlands.
The popular town becomes particularly busy in April during the Sinhalese and Tamil New Year holiday, when Sri Lankans flock here in droves. A festive atmosphere prevails during this period- many horse- and motor-racing events are organized and stalls line the streets- and accommodation prices tend to be higher.
Walking around is a good way to see a number of sights. In the town center is the well-maintained 18-hole Golf Club, which was founded in 1889. Behind the Club House are the remains of a British Cemetery. Where the infamous elephant hunter Major Thomas William Rogers is buried. Also in the town center is the pink Colonial-era post office with a conical clock tower. Nearby, the charming Victoria Park offers some excellent bird-watching; and also has a play area for children near the entrance. A little further on, there is an interesting covered market on New Bazaar Street, where vendors sell a wealth of fruit and vegetables as well as meat and fish.
NuwaraEliya also retains some elegant Colonial-era hotels such as the hill club and half-timbered Grand Hotel, located further north along the Grand Hotel Road. Visitors can go in for a drink, or simply admire the period exterior and colorful flower gardens. To the east of the center stands the Anglican Holy Trinity Church. Built in 1825, the church still holds regular services.
Further east lies Lake Gregory. The landscaped area around it is a pleasant spot for a stroll. An on-site boat house rents out pleasure boats or pedaloes for a ride across the lake. The racecourse is located south of the town.
The surrounding countryside offer some excellent walks. The shortest and easiest of there is a 2-km walk southwest to Single Tree Hill, from there are panoramic vistas of NuwaraEliya. For an extended, day-long hike, walk 4 km north from Single Tree Hill through tea plantations to the isolated settlement of Shandipura, the island’s highest village. From here, continue southwest to the viewpoint at UdaRadella, for sweeping views south to Adam’s Peak. It is advisable to hire a guide for this walk.