Sri Lanka's tropical charm
Upon arrival at Colombo airport, you’ll be met and introduced to your private chauffeur guide, who’ll look after you all during your time in Sri Lanka. Your first stop is Kegalle, where you’ll spend a couple of days at a colonial planter’s bungalow. Set in a rubber and tea estate with lovely mountain views, it’s an ideal spot to unwind after your long journey.
During you stay you can explore the estate by foot or bicycle with a local guide, and visit a local tea factory to learn about the traditional processes. Then learn the spicy secrets of authentic Sri Lankan curry with a hands-on family cooking class.
Next up is a trip to Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle region, where the ancient Buddhist cities will capture everyone’s imagination.
Wander the temples, tombs and ruined palaces of the ancient capital of Polonnaruwa, come face to face with the Buddhist statues of the Dambulla Caves, and hop in a jeep to see the elephants of Minneriya National Park. Active older children will love clambering to the top of Sigiriya Rock Fortress, which rises a dramatic 200 metres from the central plains. You’ll pass remarkable frescos as you climb to the summit for outstanding views of the water gardens below.
Many of the ancient sites can be explored by bicycle. Pedal the flat terrain while pausing for pictures and exploring at your leisure, before your guide lays out a picnic lunch.
Temples, Trains & Tea
Sri Lanka’s former capital, Kandy, offers plenty for youngsters to enjoy, from exploring the beautiful open spaces of the Botanical Gardens to visiting the atmospheric Temple of the Tooth. Here you can witness the blessing ceremony and see the monks perform their daily rituals.
All aboard! Take the scenic train into Hill Country, winding past lush tea plantations, majestic peaks and rushing waterfalls. This everyday experience allows for lots of local interaction, before you’re met at the other end by your guide and taken on to your hotel.
For outdoorsy families, Sri Lanka’s hill stations offer plenty of hiking, from gentle walks to more challenging trails. Walk to the top of Ella Rock and through tea plantations to Little Adam’s Peak, or visit Ravana Falls and the ancient Dowa temple’s huge rock carved standing Buddha. It’s worth the early start for a morning excursion to beautiful Horton Plains National Park, where you can go walking and birdwatching before taking in jaw-dropping valley views from World’s End.
Head south to the arid boulder-scattered parklands of Yala National Park, famed for its dense population of leopard.
Excited kids will love rising early for a dawn game drive accompanied by knowledgeable trackers in search of elephant, leopard, wild boar, spotted deer, crocodile and jackal. Activities like animal tracking and nature quizzes offer learning opportunities, and spending a night under canvas in a fully-serviced tented camp is something none of you will forget.
Beaches & Forts
Follow the palm fringed coastline west to Galle, where you can choose to stay within the UNESCO heritage-listed fort or on one of the nearby beaches.
Walk the 17th century Dutch ramparts at dusk, go whale and dolphin watching from Mirissa or head to the beach at Unawatuna for reef protected swimming. Then get the whole family active with a guided cycling tour through spice plantations and rice paddies, glimpsing real local life in traditional villages before finishing up at beautiful Wijaya Beach.
Finish your trip with a night in Colombo, where we’ll arrange for you to discover the city’s hidden treasures on a walking tour of the recently rejuvenated Fort area. Your guide will show you old images of the streets where you are standing on his iPad, which really draws you into the whole experience.
You’ll then wander the teeming streets of the bustling Pettah market, sampling fiery street food and mingling with the locals.