Lapped by the azure waters of the Indian Ocean, blessed with an ancient culture and Buddhist temples, dotted by wildlife-rich national parks and supremely verdant tea plantations, Sri Lanka serves up a joyous experiences at every single turn. Sculptures and serenity, the sea a tropical turquoise, the coastline sandy, gilded and glorious. You'll take in the very best of it on this curated itinerary, from UNESCO World Heritage wonders to cooling hill stations and vast jungles where leopards lounge languid. It's all complemented with stays in some of the country's very best hotels and the services of a private driver-guide throughout.
You Sri Lanka holiday begins in relaxed fashion as you enjoy included airport lounge access before boarding your overnight flight to Colombo.
On arrival, a private transfer will whisk you to The Wallawwa, a secluded and chic country house hotel close to Colombo and only a short drive from the airport. A superb spa and pool will soothe any post-flight fatigue.
After breakfast, take a private transfer to Sigiriya. This may well be Sri Lanka’s stand out historical and dramatically beautiful site. Jungle clad sheer rock rises skyward towards the ruins of a mythical ancient kingdom. The rulers used to look out over the same sweeping views that await you, after you’ve made your way past lily-studded waters, lush gardens and an immense pair of lion’s paws carved out of the cliffs, or Sihagiri, the Lion Rock.
Make the pilgrimage to the top and, as you rest, marvel at the commanding views atop this ancient fortress. Your accommodation here is at Vil Uyana, one of Sri Lanka’s finest boutique hotels.
Explore Sri Lanka’s beguiling Buddhist past further today, with a private tour of the old city of Polonnaruwa. This was the island’s capital in medieval times, and still bursts with attractions, from palaces and pools, to superb stupas and sculptures. In perfect contrast, your next stop is filled with wildlife wonders.
The Minneriya National Park is a place where elephants congregate around a water tank built by a king in the fourth century, where sloths drape themselves around tropical trees and monkeys leap from branch to branch. Back at base, relax into the creature comforts at the Vil Uyana, with its stunning lakeside pool and rooms with balconies or terraces surrounded by tropical vistas.
Savour a last breakfast at the Vil Uyana while gazing out over marshes, lakes and rice paddies, before setting out for Kandy’s cultural attractions. You'll receive a private transfer and, en route, stop off to visit the venerated Dambulla Cave Temple, a complex as ancient as it is impressive. Dozens of Buddha statues add to the atmosphere at this site established in the first century BC, set in spectacular lofty surroundings, over a thousand feet above sea level.
Your accommodation here Is the splendid Kandy House, where Sri Lanka's last king used to reside. There are just nine rooms to choose from in this heritage hotel and it is without doubt one of the island’s most charming retreats.
Jungles and rice fields surround the Kandy House, a tranquil setting for breakfast before immersing yourself in the heady and fragrant tropical delights of the nearby Peradeniya Botanical gardens. Suffused with spices, orchids and palms, these gardens date back to medieval times and are a living, thriving and vivid museum of flora.
Kandy town is as mesmerising and historically significant, not least for the Temple of the Sacred Tooth – to this day the belief is whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country – but political superstition aside, this is a defining Sri Lankan Site.
Small trains winding their ways through lush tea plantations are a romantic way to travel through some of Sri Lanka’s most iconic scenery, and today’s travel after breakfast involves exactly that. After a loop through the island's highlands and legendary tea plantations, a chauffeur will greet you on the station platform for your transfer to the extraordinary Tea Trails hotel.
This luxurious highland hideaway is set amid lakes and lush plantations, all waiting to be explored. Your accommodation will come in the form of a colonial bungalow; be sure to take advantage of the pool or, simply, stroll the gardens and enjoy the fresh surrounds.
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included
A private transfer takes you away from the cool highlights to the seaside charms of Galle Fort. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this part of the old port of Galle is perfectly preserved, architecturally significant and wonderfully atmospheric, with boutiques and bars, cafés and small restaurants, all overlooking the Indian Ocean.
You'll uncover it all on our included walking tour. It’s a balmy, beguiling place, and your base here, 25 Rampart Street, is as boutique as they come, and one of the only hotels in the Fort to feature a swimming pool.
25 Rampart Street, Galle Fort
Enjoy a last lingering breakfast on the teardrop island before a private transfer to Galle Airport before your flight back to the UK.
"For such a small island, Sri Lanka has it all - varying landscapes, rich cultural history, an abundance of wild elephants, welcoming people, one of the world's most scenic train routes and white-sand beaches that stretch for as far as the eye can see. So, the only question that remains is, why wouldn't you go there? With all that it has to offer the island makes for an irresistible retreat. And, I recommend taking shoes that are good for walking because there's just something about this country that makes you want to get out there and explore on foot. "
Low Season from: £4,600 pp
High Season from: £4,515 pp