Tailor-Made Holiday

A Family Holiday to Sri Lanka

14 days

from £5,150pp (excluding flights)

Families will be enchanted by Sri Lanka's warm welcome and the country is diverse and easy to get around. This family itinerary includes many of the highlights along with some fun activities that should prove especially appealing to children. Visit the quieter Wilpattu National Park, cycle through the sites found within the Cultural Triangle, return to colonial days by staying on tea plantations. The perfect ending to the holiday is a fully staffed villa on the beach near the colonial city of Galle.

  • Witness the incredible 'gathering' of the wild elephants at Minneriya
  • Explore the wonders of  ancient Anuradhapura by bicycle
  • Be at home in your very own private villa on the beach at Galle
  • Camp in Wilpattu or Yala National Park while tracking leopard and elephant
  • A day in the life of a tea planter, pick your own tea and watch the processing
  • Ride the rickety train to Nanu Oya, through plantations and verdant jungle

We've chosen our favourite selection of tried and tested homes away from home, including tea planters residences, ancestral estates, comfortable boutique hotels and hand picked private villas, all of which we know and think would be perfect for a family. We also appreciate that families need to travel during school holidays so this trip has a price that has been based on travel from July. However, we can tailor make this itinerary for you throughout the year.

During August Kandy hosts an annual festival over 10 days. Costumed elephants on parade, nightly torch processing and drumming makes for an unforgettable experience.

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 5150 £ 650
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • All accommodation
  • Internal flights
  • International flights as detailed
  • Sightseeing with private guide as per the itinerary
  • Transfers as detailed

what is excluded

  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas

PLEASE NOTE THE COST SHOWN INCLUDES INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM THE UK, BASED ON AN APPROXIMATE AIR FARE. PLEASE ASK YOUR TRAVEL EXPERT FOR AN ACCURATE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT QUOTE. INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM THE UK ARE ATOL PROTECTED.

Itinerary at a glance

Collapse all
Day 1

Fast Track at Colombo Airport
On arrival at Colombo airport you will be met by our representative holding a sign with your name on it. From there you will be fast-tracked through immigration and escorted to the Silk Route Lounge. Take time to relax with a cup of tea whilst your baggage is brought to the lounge.

Sri Lanka's sprawling capital buzzes with an effervescence and ebullience not seen anywhere else in the country. Drawing on its colonial past, it now combines ancient, colonial and modern influences in a swirl of cultures, colours and aromas particular to Sri Lanka.

Drive from Colombo to Negombo (Road Journey)


The drive to your hotel in Negombo will take around 15 minutes.


Negombo is a modest beach town located just 10km from the International Airport. With a stash of decent hotels and restaurants to suit all pockets, a friendly local community, an interesting old quarter and a reasonable beach, Negombo is a much easier place to find your Sri Lankan feet than Colombo.


Time at leisure to relax after your international flight.


You will be staying at Villa Hundira, bed and breakfast

Day 2

Fish Market
Early this morning, visit the buzzling Negombo fish market with your guide.

The cluster of huts in the traditional fishing village of Negombo, located along the borders of the lagoon waters with palm-thatched roofs is a sight hard to miss. It is not only renowned for its quaint beauty but also the flourishing fishing industry.

It is possible to observe traditional fishing equipment/methods used by local fishermen such as the outrigger canoes carved of tree trunks. If you are an early bird, you could even witness the fishermen returning home with their daily catch, others hauling the heavy nets in as well as the busy bargaining that follows between the fishermen and the merchants.

One of the most common sights sure to catch your eye while strolling through this village would be the many layers of fish laid out in the sun to dry, which is one of the commonly practiced local preservation methods.


You will be staying at Villa Hundira, bed and breakfast

Day 3

Drive from Negombo to Dambulla (Road Journey)


Transfer from Negombo to Dambulla taking approximately four hours.


Dambulla is a busy town found in the Matale District of central Sri Lanka. Dambulla is commonly mentioned as it is from here the Damubulla Cave Temple is visited.


Your driver will make some interesting stops along the way to break the journey


You will be staying at Wild Grass Nature Resort, bed and breakfast

Day 4

Half Day Visit to Ritigala
Ritigala is an ancient Buddhist monastery and mountain in Sri Lanka. The ruins and rock inscriptions of the monastery date back to the 1st BC. At 766m above sea level, Ritigala Mountain is the highest mountain in northern Sri Lanka.

According to legends, it is believed that powerful medicinal herbs called 'Sansevi' are found near the crest. These herbs are believed to have the power of prolonging life and curing all human pain.


You will be staying at Wild Grass Nature Resort, bed and breakfast

Day 5

Rise early if you desire for an interesting breakfast this morning!


Safari in Minneriya National Park
Located between Habarana and Polonnaruwa, the 8890 hectares of Minneriya National Park is one of Sri Lanka's greatest eco systems. The park covers 8,890 hectares and consists of a mixed forest of evergreen shrubs, a favourite habitat for animals including leopards, deer and wild elephants.

The park's main feature is the former reservoir built by King Mahasen in the third century AD.

During the dry summer months of June to September the wild elephants of this park come to graze in their hundreds. You will also see huge flocks of birds, including cormorants and painted storks that come to fish in the shallow waters.


Afternoon Jeep Safari to observe Elephants
Set out this afternoon on a jeep safariat either Kaudulla, Hurulu Eco Park or Minneriya National Parks. All of these parks are located close by to Dambulla and are famous for the elephant herds.  The elephant herds move so one park will be ideal at certain times. Encountering these giants at close range is an unforgettable experience.


You will be staying at Wild Grass Nature Resort, bed and breakfast

Day 6

Drive from Dambulla to Kandy via Dambulla Caves


Journey time is approximately three hours, visiting the Dambulla Caves on route. Dambulla Rock is more than 1.5km around its base and the summit is at 550m and the caves were the refuge of King Valagambahu when he was in exile for fourteen years. When he returned to the throne at Anuradhapura in the 1 Century BC, he had a magnificent rock temple built at Dambulla. The site has been repaired and repainted several times. It was designated a World Heritage Site in 1991and now it not possible to photograph the insides of the caves. The caves comprise a mixture of religious and secular paintings and sculptures and there are several reclining Buddha's, including a 15m long sculpture of a dying Buddha. There are a fair few steps to reach the top, but it is worth it once at the top.


Kandy is the second largest city in Sri Lanka after Colombo and is home to some of the most famous sites in the country. The Botanical Gardens, which are the second largest in the world after Kew in England, house an amazing collection of flowers and trees aswell as a world famous orchid house. It is also possible to see the outside of Lord Mountbatten's colonial house within the gardens. Temple of the Tooth, which is also found in Kandy is believed to house a tooth of Lord Buddha himself. This precious relic attracts white-clad pilgrims, bearing lotus blossoms and frangipani, every day. When the capital was moved to Kandy, the tooth was taken to the new city and placed in a temple built to honour it. The temple was originally built under Kandyan kings between 1687 and 1707, but later severely damaged during the 18th-century colonial wars against the Portuguese and Dutch. After the wars, the original wooden structures were restored in stone.


Half Day Trip to the Temple of the Tooth
Visit the revered Temple of the Tooth, which houses a tooth that is said to have come from Buddha himself. Attracting vast numbers of white-clad pilgrims, the temple is often swarming with people bearing lotus blossoms and frangipani.
According to legend, the tooth was removed as Buddha lay on his funeral pyre. It was smuggled to Sri Lanka in the fourth century, escaping the Hindu armies that were sweeping through India. Since then, this precious relic has been treated with great reverence and has survived several attempts to capture or destroy it. The tour will take approximately two hours.


You will be staying at Ellerton, bed and breakfast

Day 7

Pedalling through the Tea Estate

Visit Orange Field and meet Mr Sebastian who will indulge you with the details on how this tempting brew gets prepared. Thereafter, proceed on a cycling tour that will take you around pristine views of the village, tea plantations and your breakfast will be arranged as a picnic at a nearby scenic location for an experience unlike any other. Head back to the property and spend the rest of the day at leisure enjoying the homely atmosphere together with your host.


 


You will be staying at Ellerton, bed and breakfast

Day 8

Travel by train from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya


Travel from Kandy (Peredeniya Station) to Nuwara Eliya by train, a charming and historical route giving a chance to see the countryside and tea estates that scatter this region.Take some bottled water on the journey and prehaps a picnic from the hotel however there are vendors on the platforms, where you can buy some local snacks. The train journey usually takes around four hours.


You will be staying at Dutch House, bed and breakfast

Day 9

Learn to be a Tea Plucker
After a relaxed breakfast set out with the resident estate tea pluckers and learn the art of hand picking.


Morning Trek
Choose to take a leisurely hike up Little Adams Peak in Ella takes about one hour and the views are wonderful. 


Spend the rest of the day at leisure


You will be staying at Dutch House, bed and breakfast

Day 10

Drive from Bandarawela to Yala National Park (Road Journey)


The drive to Yala National Park will be 3.5 hours.


Yala covers an area of approximately 500 square miles and is located in the south eastern corner of the island. Its northern boundaries border the Lahugala Elephant Sanctuary and it has the added bonus of being on the sea. The terrain ranges from open parklands to dense jungle. Watering holes, small lakes, lagoons and streams provide water for the animals and birds.

One of the biggest, most illustrious, and most frequently visited national park in Sri Lanka, Yala can have a reputation for being too crowded, too touristy and lacking in conservation regulations. However, with the right tour provider, you can avoid the crowds and still get a unique eco-friendly wildlife experience. Notable inhabitants are the leopards, sloth bears, diverse birdlife, sambar deer and mongoose.


You will be staying at Taru Villa Yala, bed and breakfast

Day 11

Morning and Afternoon Game Drives
Today you will explore Yala National Park by 4WD. You will have morning and afternoon jeep game drives into one of Asia's finest wildlife reserves, accompanied by an experienced naturalist. The park's undulating terrain is home to a large number of elephants, but it is the thriving leopard population that garners most attention. After each day's morning drive, return to camp for a delicious lunch. Have time to relax, or to spend time spotting wildlife and birds from the camp itself. Then head out again in the afternoon for further exploration. Return in the early evening, as night falls, keeping an eye out for the nocturnal animals as they emerge.


You will be staying at Taru Villa Yala, bed and breakfast

Day 12

Transfer from Yala to Galle


Today you will be driven to Galle, approximately four and a half hours.


Galle is considered the most important town in the south and has managed to retain its colonial atmosphere. The Portuguese, Dutch and British have all made their mark on this interesting port and it is well worth spending time exploring the town within the fort walls, which was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.


Half Day Street Eats - Walking and Tasting Tour
Eating options in the Fort are vast, but with a local guide as your culinary compass you will uncover some of the most off-the-eaten track eating spots in the area. Learn about spice tea's medicinal uses and discover a quaint Sri Lankan tradition - short eats, on bicycle-mounted cabinets. Meet the thambili karaya and drink fresh king coconut. Learn how cinnamon, if sniffed daily, will increase your long-term memory and if you hear the cry of 'Maalu, Maalu', it's just the local fishermen selling his latest catch off the back of his bicycle. Round off the morning or evening with hot, freshly-made pol roti and experience the living history that makes this the most exciting fort in Asia.

Day 13

Traditional Mask Making Workshop
Masks have been used in Sri Lanka for generations, originating from rituals in village settings that followed ancient beliefs, and also used for curing illness. It is believed that masks have healing and protective powers. Today masks are used in dramas and dance performances but in rural areas used in rituals that are very much alive. This hands-on workshop in Kolam mask-carving takes place at Sithuvili, a boutique antique, arts and crafts shop tucked away on Leybann Street in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Galle Fort. The workshop is hosted by an artisan craftsman and takes you through the stages of the age-old tradition in mask carving from start to finish.


Tradtional Village Experience
Experience the diversity and beauty of Galle. In just three hours, this experience brings to life nature, wildlife, rural communities and all through a boat and bike ride. The journey begins with a boat ride that serenely floats down the Kapu Ela River. Accompanied by a local naturalist, whose wealth of knowledge on the local bird and reptile life is as impressive as it is humorous. Pass along river banks, through canals, under bridges and by local village hamlets. Children will race up to the river bank to wave. Grey fish eagles swoop by. Water monitors lazily cling to low branches after a big meal, while others zip through the waters in search of unsuspecting prey. The ride passes through rubber and cinnamon plantations, and even a few low bushes of tea can be spotted from the back yards as you float on by. The ride will stop by where small mounds of coconut husk can be seen drying up in the sun; one of many places where coir rope comes to life from the humble coconut husk. From here, mount bikes and begin a nine kilometre breath-taking ride through rural Galle and the heart of the south. Whizz by paddy fields and through small villages, past humble markets where the villagers trade and end up at a cool mud for refreshing herbal teas and traditional fresh hoppers straight from the fire, made in the ways of the past. At the end there is a choice to ride back to a pickup point or be driven back to the drop off point.

Day 14

Travel Between Galle and Colombo


Travel to Colombo, a journey of approximately three and a half hours.


Proceed to the airport for your onward flight home

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Sri Lanka

Joe Parkes, Travel Expert

"It was extremely helpful to work in conjunction with Joe and his much more up to date knowledge of India and arrive at an itinerary which we were happy with. We enjoyed the whole trip and probably what made it special for us was the fact that all the arrangements worked so well and we really didn’t have to worry about anything at all. Even when we decided to make a small change it was dealt with efficiently and promptly. We can't think of anything that would have made our trip more enjoyable."

"The service from start to finish has been excellent. Joe was very quick to respond to any queries and put together an excellent itinerary at short notice."

"A pleasure to deal with Joe. Efficient, helpful, knowledgeable and fun!"

Read More

Kate Hitchen, Travel Expert

"Kate was calm and bent over backwards to accommodate my jitters about going to Kashmir in the light of tighter FCO guidelines just a few days before our departure. She was absolutely correct in advising against what I thought we should do. Several times during the holiday we said that, 'Kate was dead right about that!'."

"We asked for a rather particular kind of Indian holiday. You delivered it in full. Highlights? Honestly, each day was a highlight in itself. "

Read More

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Enquire about this holiday:
Speak to a Sri Lanka holiday expert:

Tailor-Made Holiday Ideas

Booking a Tailor-made holiday gives you the flexibility to customise your journey, travelling when and where suits you.

Holiday Ideas in Sri Lanka

You are unique, so we believe your holiday should be too.

We listen to what you want and create a personalised itinerary tailored around you.

Your holiday. Your experience. Your way.

Can’t find what you’re looking for?

Call our Travel Experts on +01285 880 980
Start Your Journey
 

Expertise

  • Established for over 25 years creating journeys across 100 destinations worldwide
  • Exclusive access to the best private guides

PRICING

  • We negotiate the best rates with hotels and expert guides
  • Be protected from fluctuations in exchange rates

RESPONSIBLE STEPPES

  • Each time you travel with us we donate £5 to a local charity in the UK and £10 to an international charity

Fully Protected

  • Your monies are financially protected
  • 24/7 Emergency UK contact whilst abroad
 

Featured in the Press

Financial Times
The Telegraph
Sunday Times logo
CNT
Wanderlust

Our Partners

African Parks
Galapagos Conservation Trsut
OF_Primary_Logo_Tan
Restless Development
Save The Rhino
Tusk Trust
World Land Trsut
Gorilla Doctors
 

© Steppes Travel, 51 Castle St, Cirencester, GL7 1QD, United Kingdom