If you are wondering where to go with your family to chase the tail end of the summer why not consider an escape to Sri Lanka, which is an ideal family destination during October half term and the festive period.
Sri Lanka is a superb destination for families – think sandy beaches, national parks and bicycle trails. Families can get out and about in the hills, exploring tea estates, or channel their inner Lara Croft in the Cultural Triangle, home to spectacular ruins of former ancient capitals. Stories about kings and queens, a different culture and friendly people all give them something to remember and talk about when they return home.
The island is incredibly diverse and comprises ancient ruins, colonial forts, beaches, wildlife reserves, tea estates and coconut plantations. Thanks to Sri Lanka’s relatively small size, many of these sights can easily be visited on a round tour and together they offer plenty to keep the youngest family members busy.
Many of our hotels are ideal for families – Why House, Taylors Hill, Camellia Hills, Fort Bazaar, The Last House, Noel Rodrigo’s Leopard Safaris and Leopard Trails, Water Garden – Sigiriya and The Wallawwa are some of our standouts.
Why House near Galle is superb for families – all rooms except the cabanas can fit extra beds for children (two in anterooms or a mezzanine to give parents’ their own space), there’s a big walled garden, a huge pool, outside games and a very accommodating team of staff who can arrange Sri Lankan cultural shows, snake charmers and even a visit from an elephant at a drop of the hat. They also have kids’ menus and can offer a babysitting service.
Children over three years are catered for at Noel Rodrigo’s Leopard Safaris who have family tents and offer a range of activities (such as animal footprint identification games and amateur photography classes) for younger members of the family. The summer months are ideal for spotting big game on safari as the onset of the dry season and dieback of the bush in July and August makes them much easier to see. Blocks 1 and 2 of Yala are often closed in September for a month, so as an alternative you’ll visit blocks 3-5. These don’t incur much extra travel time due to Noel’s advantageous location to the north of the reserve.
The Wallawwa, close to the airport, has family rooms and is ideal for a first or last night’s stay. Sister-hotel Fort Bazaar, in the World-Heritage listed Galle Fort, also has a Family Suite and interconnecting rooms. If a family is looking to stay put beside the sea, The Last House is an excellent choice – the Cinnamon Suite comprises adjoining double and twin bedrooms. Upcountry, Taylors Hill and Camellia Hills – are both small houses with big views ¬– and excellent Family Rooms. Further north in the Cultural Triangle, the freestanding villa rooms at Water Garden – Sigiriya are huge and they have two-bedroom duplexes as well as a kids swimming pool.
So where are the best places to swim with children? On the south coast, beaches such as Dalawella and Kabalana are accessible from Why House, Fort Bazaar and Kahanda Kanda while Mawella, where The Last House is located, is a super long beach with good seasonal swimming.
Sri Lanka’s Big Five
Sri Lanka is a huge destination for wildlife lovers. There are few places in the world where you could be sighting blue whales in the morning, and photographing elephants and leopards on safari by the afternoon. Other notable wild animals to look out for include leopards at both Yala and Wilpattu National Parks. The Indian Ocean is also home to dolphins and sperm whales.
Christmas and new Year Availability
There are still rooms over the festive period.
Where to Travel?
Sri Lanka offers some of the most family-friendly boutique hotels and villas, and a couple of suggested itineraries can be viewed here.
Special Seasonal Offers
Travelling in the quieter summer and autumn months represents excellent value for money as prices are lower and attractions much less busy. Hotels also promote special offers such as free night stays valid between now and mid December.