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Sri Lanka: a haven for families

Blissful stretches of glittering golden sand and charming, welcoming inhabitants make Sri Lanka a fabulous destination for a family beach holiday. But this is a country with much more to offer those travelling with kids of all ages.

Rock landscape
Stories for... The Heart

Sri Lanka is a place where adventures await at every corner, whether you explore a centuries-old temple, go searching for wildlife or simply zoom around in a tuk tuk ogling the incredible variety of landscape. Discover exactly why this enchanting country is an award-winning long haul destination for families.

Where to play

Tent pool
Where beach meets jungle

The perfect base for exploring Yala, the Wild Coast Tented Lodge has a prime coastal location next to the wildlife-rich National Park and Guide who will take you for sightings of sloths, elephants and perhaps even leopards, as well as fabulous birdlife. Parents are cossetted in luxury-boulder-shaped tents with king-sized four posters and freestanding handmade copper bathtubs. Kids can enjoy the novelty of being in their own little twin-bedded den beside it in adjoining Urchin Tents



Discover local wildlife

The animal life here is simply astounding, as a thrilling jeep tour or Yala National Park or one of the island’s many other stunning nature reserves will reveal: spot elephants, crocodiles, monkeys, rare birds including blued-tailed bee – eaters and brown-capped babbler and – if you’re lucky – a leopard.

Top of any family’s list should be Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery, where you can find out about local conservation initiatives and watch in awe as new-borns make their first tentative journey to the waters. You can also see turtles from glass bottomed boats at Hikkaduwa Beach with its child-friendly shallow waters, as well as take longer trips out to spot dolphins and whales.

Where to play

Hotel terrace
A heavenly hideaway

A surf centre and kids’ and teen clubs make Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort the perfect spot for seaside R&R after taking in the country’s wildlife and culture. Set amidst coconut plantations, it tempts families in search of relaxation with its stunning beach, split-level pool and sumptuous spa including Ayurvedic treatments. Dine on the cliff edge, feasting on Sri Lankan inspired teppanyaki or an upscale Italian dish

Temple statues

Traditional fishing

Explore cultural trails

With its rich Muslim, Tamil and Sinhalese heritage, Sri Lanka is also steeped in culture as you’ll discover if you hire a bike to tour the many lush tea plantations, lively villages, breath-taking temples and impressive ancient ruined cities. Sure to fire young imaginations is Sigiriya, a UNESCO World Heritage listed ancient fortress perched high on a 650 metre rock. Nearby Dambulla is famed for its spellbinding cave temple complex dotted with more than 160 statues of the Buddha, Sri Lankan kings, gods and goddesses.

Of the Cultural Triangle of three ancient capital cities, Kandy - historical bastion of Buddhist power – stand out. Here you’ll find botanical gardens, the National Museum, cultural shows and delightful arts and crafts to snap up mementos of your holiday of a lifetime. Not far from Kandy, Kitulgala is the place for thrill seekers, with white-water rafting, kayaking, canyoning and abseiling jungle treks among its exciting activities. 

Where to play

Lagoon Pool Evening
A family playground

A Cool Zone Kids Club including kite-making classes, a seven-metre-high trapeze, an outdoor water park, a kids’ pool, mountain biking and even drone-flying are make Shangri-La’s Hambantota Golf Resort and Spa on the southern coast the place to come for full-on family fun. For parents, temptations include a 18-hole golf course, yoga classes, an ayurvedic spa and an artisan village celebrating local crafts including weaving and batik.