From tea time in Sri Lanka to solace in Somerset, eight Telegraph Travel writers recall the highs and lows of their travelling year, providing inspiration for the months ahead.
No place anywhere else on earth offers such a sensational combination of the beautiful and the beneficial as Bogawantalawa. Otherwise known as Sri Lanka’s “Golden Valley of Tea”, it is 4,000ft up in the hill country near Hatton, a vast counterpane of slopes neatly braided with bright green tea bushes. The leaves are plucked daily, creating an atmosphere of eternal spring, and this lucrative landscape is still embellished with enchanting woods, exotic gardens, misty lakes and Victorian churches. You can learn all about tea on a tour of the Norwood Estate, and visit its working factory – a fascinating world of precision harvesting, heritage machinery and devotion to quality. Nearby, Tea Trails is a quartet of grand bungalows from the 1920s, turned into well-appointed lodges. Guests can follow dreamy walks through the plantations, enjoy a detoxifying green-tea bath, then dine on Earl Grey-encrusted roast lamb. Every day starts with a cup of “bed tea” brought to your room, then ends with the pleasant discovery of a hot-water bottle slipped between the sheets. Read more Luxury travel best and worst experiences of 2011 – Daily Telegraph, see page 3