Personal travel expert Garry has recently returned from a trip to Sri Lanka and one of his favourite experiences was a stay at the Heritance Tea Factory. This old tea processing mill has been converted into a hotel, which is full of old-world charm and character. Grand interiors of polished wood and brushed copper deck out the traditional colonial-style building, while staff are elegantly dressed to match in sumptuous uniforms.
The best way to reach the plantation is to take the train from Kandy to the village of Nanu Oya, from here it’s a one-hour drive to the hotel. The train ride takes around four hours and, while the journey may seem like a long one, Garry found it to be a fun and interesting way to see the stunning scenery of Sri Lanka’s hill country.
Up in the hills, the climate is different, cooler and you’ll be less troubled by mosquitos, which is a blessing in itself. However, it’s not just the weather that’s different. Our expert Garry said that his stay at Heritance Tea Factory was unlike anything else he did on his trip. So, if you’re looking for a truly unique experience, this could be the place for you.
Sitting high on the hillside, overlooking a whole valley of tea plantations, the hotel is surrounded by lush green terraces. Here, stepping out of the door and into the tea plantation is just like walking into your own garden at home. It’s certainly beautiful, but it’s not simply a case of look but don’t touch; what really made Garry’s stay was getting to join in the tea picking himself.
For this hands-on experience, guests are first dressed up in traditional garb: sarees for the women and sarongs for the men. Then, a guide explains which part of the leaf to pluck and how the process of drying out the tea works before letting you loose on the terraces. The whole experience takes around an hour and a half and you’ll receive a bag of your very own tea at breakfast the next morning – all for a very reasonable price of around just £9 per person.
Dining at the Heritance Tea Factory is also great value and, most importantly, delicious. Garry enjoyed lovely food during his stay and particularly loved the generously-portioned afternoon tea. If you want to really push the boat out, you can pay to dine in an old period railway carriage for something a little bit different.
Guests staying for a few days might want to explore the surrounding area and the hill country city of Nuwara Eliya is just a 45-minute drive from the hotel, with plenty to see and do. Those who are up for a real adventure might take the two-hour drive to Horton Plains National Park, where Garry enjoyed a spectacular circuit walk. The views from World’s End and Little World’s End and the magnificent Bakers Falls more than make up for the time spent getting there.
Another of our Personal Travel Experts, Iain has also visited Sri Lanka recently, to talk to either of our experts about their experiences and recommendations for your holiday, give us a call on 0191 285 9321 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re always happy to see you so feel free to pop by our store on Gosforth High Street for a chat.