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Colonial Buildings of Nuwara Eliya

Visit the monumental remnants of the colonial past in the hill country

© BT Images

Sri Lanka has a rich colonial heritage and for ages had been influenced by traders who found commercial interests in its many natural treasures like spices, tea and rubber. Nuwara Eliya, with it’s cold climes and lush vegetation appealed to these colonisers as an ideal place to set up a home away from home. As a result, fairly tale cottages, red bricked buildings and rose gardens are a common sight at Sri Lanka’s very own Little England. 

The Grand Hotel

Originally built as a Governor’s mansion, the Grand hotel is one of the most oldest buildings in the country. The building was initially called the Barne’s Hall in memory of its former owner, and the then Governor of Sri Lanka Edward Barnes. The ownership of the building passed between various people until it finally came to the Nuwara Eliya Group of Hotels who renovated the building to one of the most stately buildings of the country. Its white facade stands amidst a landscape of beautifully trimmed gardens full of flowers and towering pine trees. Having successfully retained its English charm the hotel has now become one of the idyllic retreats for people who wish to spend their holidays in the picturesque beauty of the hill country.

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The Hill Club

The Hill Club was built in 1876 as a clubhouse by a group of British planters. Spanning across 26 acres, the hotel lies nestled closer to the luscious woods of Nuwara Eliya. Beautiful flowers and climbers adorn the stone walled building adding to its whimsical allure. The initial establishment of the Hill Club was centred around the present billiard room and was successively renovated over the years to its present structure. 

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The Post office

Located at the centre of the town this 100 year old building is one of the most popular colonial constructions of “Little England’.The red brick exterior is hard to be missed while one is on the streets of Nuwara Eliya. Built in Tudor style, the post office has a distinctive edge and stands as a remnant of the old world Ceylon. A clock tower spirals from one side of the building. 

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Queen’s Cottage

The ivory coloured colonial manor house stands amidst the backdrop of extensive greenery and is currently the vacationing residence of the President. This sophisticated bungalow was built in the 19th century, and since then has been the holiday home of governor’s and prominent personalities of the nation.

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St. Xavier’s Church

Initiated in 1838 the St Xavier’s Church was built to its current structure in a span of 10 years. The towering walls of the church are light brown in colour following the same pattern of colonial houses.  With its pews that continue all the way to the altar and grand interior, the church is pervaded with the spiritual essence that seems to attract many who seek the blessings of the lord.

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