Sri Lanka beckons: get the family’s travel gear packed and ready to go! Today you depart the UK for an overnight flight to the charismatic capital of Colombo.
When your flight lands, a private car awaits to whisk you to your beach-front hotel for your first night. With the warm water of the Indian Ocean lapping at the sand, settle in with cocktail and unwind after your long journey.
Drive to Habarana to explore the ancient cities and National Parks of the Cultural Triangle. Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka’s medieval capital, is best explored by bike. Get your breath back and climb the spectacular Sigiriya Rock, a ruined palace in the sky. In Minneriya National Park a game drive may bring you face-to-face with a wild Asiatic elephant, or two, three, four... Some of the world’s largest gatherings can be seen here.
Come to Kandy at the right time of year and you’ll hit the colourful Esala Perahera carnival. This features a spectacular cast of beautifully adorned elephants, thousands of drummers, dancers and acrobats on stilts. Marvel at cracking whips and swinging fire pots, as a replica of the Buddha's tooth is paraded through the city streets.
After the excitement of the carnival, travel by train to the cooler climate of the Nuwara Eliya tea plantations. Known as Little England, here you’ll stay in a converted tea factory, learning how to pick the leaves from the bush. You’ll then discover the fascinating process that transforms these humble leaves into the perfect cup of tea we all know and love.
After all your travel, today you can explore Nuwara Eliya at your own pace. This mountainous region is covered with rejuvenating cloud decks, lush canopies and misty waterfalls. However, if you fancy a dose of culture, we recommend visiting the nearby Seetha Amman Temple. This colourful Hindu shrine is decorated with ornate religious figures.
After exploring the hillside tea plantations, head back to the south of the country and Yala National Park. This luxurious forest is home to the highest density of leopard anywhere in the world. Spend two nights here, enjoying your first family game drive in this unique landscape soon after your arrival. Make sure your camera is charged.
Wrenching the kids out of bed for a game drive at dawn will be totally worth it when you see how much of the wildlife is awake. Come afternoon, another game drive around the arid landscape of the national park provides your best chance of glimpsing the magnificent leopard. In the evening, you’ll receive a thrilling talk from a researcher on this fascinating but elusive mammal.
With a leopard sighting hopefully under your travel belt you’ll head west to the impressive Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spend three days relaxing at The Fortress hotel. There’s plenty to keep both adults and children entertained in this lovely beachside resort. Visiting the nearby turtle hatchery and, of course, the historic fort itself. Otherwise, simply relax on the beach and enjoy the pool with a cocktail or two.
After a few days of sun-kissed rest and relaxation, your Sri Lankan adventure must sadly come to an end. We’ll take you to the airport in plenty of time to catch your flight back to the UK.