Crowned by spectacular peaks and draped in rainforest, Sri Lanka’s highlands are reminiscent of England, both in terms of the cool weather and English signage. The road from the tropical lowlands weaves through a secret Eden of delicate rice paddies terracing up to a rolling sea of tea plantations, punctuated with cinnamon, where you can buy red bananas at the roadside stalls.
Hillsides around the agricultural town of Hatton, at 5,000ft, are kept as neat as botanical gardens by armies of leaf pluckers, who sing as they work.
A handful of tea estate bungalows have been turned over to tourism. Ceylon Tea Trails (teatrails.com) is Sri Lanka’s first Relais & Chateaux resort, although “resort” is a misnomer for these four bungalows idyllically located around Castlereagh lake.
Make a decision to stay in one, then take a walk to the next (around 30 minutes away), and stay there, too. Expect wood-panelled walls and big fireplaces, with verandas surrounded by sweeping lawns and rose gardens. Each has its own swimming pool and summer house.
Here the day starts with Bed Tea, charmingly served by your butler, then there’s the tea factory to inspect, and later on there are cucumber sandwiches and sultana scones served in the bungalow’s dining room. Just like Highgrove, no doubt. Read more: Sri Lanka’s crowning glory _ Travel _ Life & Style _ Daily Express