Sri Lanka offers something for everyone. There's the ancient Sinhalese ruins of the Cultural Triangle; the Hill Country's colonial plantation bungalows, misty peaks and endless tea; Kandy's revered Temple of the Tooth; national parks where leopards, elephants and bears roam free; and the warm turquoise seas where you can see whales and dolphins, and scuba to coral reefs.
This island's endless swathes of un-spoilt palm-speckled beaches are its biggest draw. The sultry south-west stretch linking the water sports capital of Bentota, the historic 17th century fortified city of Galle and the rustic shoreline of Tangalle is the most developed, accessible and popular, and also where most of the island's villas – many atmospheric heritage homes - can be found.
Sri Lanka's relatively small size means that you can take in the best of the island's attractions within a few weeks. The south-west coast and hill country are at their climatic best between December and April, which is when the majority of visitors come. The inter-monsoonal northern summer months are not to be avoided either as quick downpours intersperse long sunny days.
Escape to a cooler climate and relish the tranquillity of days gone by at 5-bedroom Craig Appin Bungalow near Hatton in the southwest Hill Country. Encircled by a pretty garden, the bungalow is fully staffed and features a living room, a TV Lounge, a dining room and a furnished veranda.
This atmospheric ex-planters abode perched on the summit of a tea-clad hill above Dick Oya features 4 spacious bedrooms, including a family suite, a handful of living rooms and a gorgeous four-acre garden bursting with flowers and vegetables. It’s fully staffed, and makes a perfect base for savouring the great outdoors.
From its private hilltop perch in the southwest Hill Country, 100-year-old Strathdon Bungalow gazes through stands of giant bamboo across spectacular tea-clad mountains and verdant valleys. Home to 4 bedrooms and a lovely ‘breakfast terrace’, this family house comes with a small staff team including cook and non-resident manager.