Located just off the southern tip of India the charming tear-drop shaped island of Sri Lanka offers the perfect mix of activity and relaxation for a family holiday.
The cultural triangle of Sigiriya, Dambulla and Giritale tells of Sri Lanka’s history and is packed full of ancient Buddhist temples, brightly painted caves and giant Buddha statues. Climbing to the top of Lion Rock offers views across the flat plains and it’s easy to see why the kings of the past chose the spot for their fortress. One of the best ways to explore this area is on two wheels. Bikes are available for children of all ages and cycling allows you to explore not just the major sites but also the smaller villages along the way.
Not to be missed is the lakeside town of Kandy, home to one of the island’s most treasured relics, the sacred tooth of Lord Buddha. Thousands of pilgrims attend the daily ceremony at the Temple of the Tooth to make offerings of flowers. It is a wonderful chance to experience the island’s dedication to the Buddhist way of life.
No trip to Sri Lanka would be complete without a visit to a tea plantation. Set in the cooler highlands in the centre of the island the rolling green hills come alive with the chatter of the tea pickers harvesting the bushes. Take the time to sample the different blends and see how they are produced before picking your favourite.
If your children love wildlife there are plenty of chances to spot herds of elephant in Minneriya or Udawalawe National Park, or try your luck at spotting the elusive leopard in Yala National Park. The coastal areas offer white sand beaches with swaying palm trees, warm waters for swimming and from December through to April it is possible to spot schools of blue whales and sperm whales passing by the southern tip of the island.