Sri Lanka – The Viceroy Special

Saturday 13th February to Sunday 28th February 2021
16 - Days

Prices from: £5050

Explore ‘the finest island in the whole world’ (Marco Polo) on the impressive Viceroy Special Train as you discover the exotic wildlife, holy Buddhist sites, verdant landscapes, unspoilt beaches and rich colonial heritage of this beautiful island in the Indian Ocean.

Departure Date: 13-Feb-2021
Book Now
  • Your ‘Viceroy Special’ train comprises two air-conditioned lounge cars and a restaurant and bar car, hauled by British-built Edwardian steam locomotives of the classic 4-6-0 type or diesel locomotive.
  • Staying at the best hotels you journey on the Viceroy Special past tea plantations, cascading waterfalls and lush forests as you visit the outstanding historical sites of an island whose recorded history stretches back 2,500 years.
  • Countless tour highlights include visits to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, a trip to the sacred Buddhist ‘Tree of Enlightenment’ and a jeep safari to Minneriya National Park, heavily populated by wild elephants.
  • Discover Kandy, Sri Lanka’s cultural centre and the sacred city of Buddhism, now a UNESCO World Heritage site and visit the Temple of the Tooth, housing one of Sri Lanka’s most important relics – a tooth of the Buddha.
  • With fine cuisine, luxury accommodation and travel and an abundance of photo opportunities, this exotic holiday is a must for even the most seasoned traveller and offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience for those new to steam travel tours.

Saturday 13th February
Fly to Colombo
You leave London on a mid-morning indirect flight to Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo.

Sunday 14th February
Steam train from the Airport to Kandy via Elephant Orphanage
You arrive at Colombo Airport early morning and transfer to the nearby railway station. Here you join the Viceroy Special, a chartered train hauled by B1 class 4-6-0 steam locomotive No. 340 ‘Sir Thomas Maitland’. Breakfast and lunch will be served on the train as you travel to Kandy. En-route you stop to visit the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, one of Sri Lanka’s most popular animal attractions. Later you continue along the spectacular route into the hills, and on arrival at Kandy transfer to the luxury 5-star Mahaweli Reach Hotel, where you can relax for the rest of the afternoon before dinner. (B L D)

Monday 15th February
Kandy to Nuwara-Eliya, the highest town on Sri Lanka
Today your special train will be hauled by a diesel locomotive as you travel from Kandy into the sublime green heights of Sri Lanka’s hill country, passing tea plantations, cascading waterfalls and verdant forests. You stop at Nanu Oya village, from where you transfer by road coach to Nuwara Eliya, the highest town on the island. It boasts many colonial style homes with English-type lawns and gardens looking out across a placid lake. You enjoy a visit to the Hakgala Botanical Gardens following which the rest of the day is free to relax. You’ll stay at the impressive Grand Hotel tonight, where dinner will be served. (B L D)

Tuesday 16th February
Nuwara-Eliya to Badulla and back
After an early breakfast you transfer by coach to the Nanu-Oya Railway Station for a one-day excursion on the Viceroy Special along the highlands railway to the mountain terminus station of Badulla. This rail journey is rated one of the world’s best. The rolling hills are strewn with tea plantations, gushing streams and cascading waterfalls. En-route, photo stops at Pattipola Summit Level (15 minutes), Idalgashinna View Point (5 Minutes), a run Past at Demodera Nine Arch Bridge (30 minutes) and a photo stop at Demodera Loop (15 minutes) will be staged. Lunch, tea and coffee will be served on the train. On this scenic journey you descend from the heights of Nuwara Eliya at nearly 2,000 metres down to Badulla at 680 metres on the banks of the Badulu Oya (river). The railway features numerous spirals, loops, spectacular viaducts and quaint colonial stations. You then enjoy a sightseeing tour of Badulla by tuk tuks, before returning to Nuwara Eliya by either coach or on board the train. You stay overnight again at The Grand Hotel. (B L D)

Wednesday 17th February
This morning, you have a guided tour of Nuwara-Eliya scheduled, which includes a visit to the Pedro Estate Tea Plantation & Factory. The rest of the day has been kept free for you to explore Nuwara-Eliya, the self-styled ‘Little England’ set in a scenic valley at the base of the island’s tallest mountain, Piduruthalagala. Colonial-era bungalows, Tudor-style hotels, well-tended hedgerows and pretty gardens abound here, and the parks, Lake Gregory, the post office and the market place offer excellent reasons to stroll around. You stay overnight again at The Grand Hotel. (B L D)

Thursday 18th February
Viceroy Special to Kandy
This morning you re-join the diesel hauled Viceroy Special at Nanu Oya. The train descends between mountain ranges through thickly wooded areas to the interior of the island at Kandy for a tour of this sacred city of Buddhism. Kandy was the last capital of the Sinhala Kings, is Sri Lanka’s cultural centre, and has now become a UNESCO World Heritage site. A tour highlight is the famous Temple of the Tooth, housing one of Sri Lanka’s most important relics – a tooth of the Buddha. In the evening you visit the Kandy Lake Club for a memorable cultural pageant and to watch a fire-walking show. Overnight accommodation is at the Mahaweli Reach Hotel this evening. (B L D)

Friday 19th February
Golden Temple; Lion’s Rock
You travel by road coach this morning to Habarana, en route you stop off at Dambulla to visit the impressive Golden Temple, a multi-cave complex containing statues and paintings. Following lunch at Habarana you visit the 600-foot-high ‘Lion’s Rock’. This massive ancient fortress and palace ruins is surrounded by one of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world. Your accommodation tonight is at the luxury Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Habarana. (B L D)

Saturday 20th February
Minneriya National Park; Steam Train to Trincomalee
This morning after breakfast, you have a Jeep safari to Minneriya National Park, which is heavily populated by wild elephants, after which you join a special train, hauled by steam locomotive No. 251, at Gal-Oya Junction Station and travel north-eastwards via to Trincomalee, sited on one the world’s finest natural harbours. Lunch is served on the train. On arrival at Trincomalee you visit the Fort Fredrick and the famous Hindu Temple built on Swami Rock within the fort area. In the evening you transfer to the 4-star Chaaya Blu Hotel for dinner and overnight accommodation. (B L D)

Sunday 21st February
By steam from Trincomalee to Passekudah (Batticaloa)
After breakfast you re-join the Viceroy Special at Trincomalee Station. Your train will be hauled by steam locomotive No. 251 as you return first to Galoya Junction. Here you change direction and head south-eastwards along the Batticaloa branch line. Lunch is served on the train. On arrival at Valachchenai you transfer to an idyllic beach resort. In the afternoon you enjoy a tour of Batticaloa, situated on the flat Indian Ocean eastern coastal plain where three lagoons and several islands link to the mainland by bridges. Your sightseeing tour includes a walk around the parapet of the small fort, and visits to the Catholic Church and Mahatma Ghandi Park. You stay overnight stay at Uga Bay Beach Resort. (B L D)

Monday 22nd February
Batticaloa beach resort leisure
Batticaloa enjoys a spectacular coastal position surrounded by idyllic lagoons with palm-filtered sunlight glancing off the water. Batticaloa District is also home to the pristine beaches of Kalkudah and Passikudah Bay, and you are free to explore the area today, with options to join a boat trip and do some sightseeing, or simply relax and enjoy the unspoilt natural beaches. In the afternoon you can enjoy a sightseeing tour of Batticaloa. You spend the night at Uga Bay Beach Resort once more. (B L D)

Tuesday 23rd February
Steam Train to Maho
This morning you travel by road coach to Habarana. Your train will have left Batticaloa the day before and will be waiting for you. Steaming south-westwards, you pass through areas where elephants roam wild in the jungle. At Maho Junction, your locomotive changes to diesel and travels northwards to Kankesanthurai and back to Jaffna. This journey has only been possible since peace was restored in Northern Sri Lanka and the Northern Line reconstructed. The route mainly runs through open country, across the North Central plains. At Elephant Pass, it crosses the lagoons to enter the Jaffna Peninsula. On arrival at Jaffna itself, you transfer to the Jetwing Jaffna Hotel for overnight accommodation and dinner. (B L D)

Wednesday 24th February
City tour of Jaffna
Jaffna Peninsula is a region characterised by fields of Palmyra palms, technicolour temples, holy springs and miles of coastline. After breakfast, you have a city tour scheduled to see its notable buildings, such as the Public Library, Nallur Kandaswamy Temple, and Jaffna Fort. The afternoon is free for further sightseeing and leisure. Overnight accommodation is again at the Jetwing Jaffna Hotel (B L D)

Thursday 25th February
Anuradhapura, the ancient capital
Following breakfast this morning you travel diesel hauled to Anuradhapura, arriving around lunch for an afternoon tour of one of the historic capitals of Sri Lanka, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This sacred city features many ancient ruins, including huge bell-shaped stupas built of small sun-dried bricks, temples, sculptures, palaces, and ancient drinking-water reservoirs. You’ll visit the sacred Sri Maha Bodhiya ‘Tree of Enlightenment’, alleged to be the oldest living tree in the world. Tonight, you are accommodated in a tranquil setting at the Palm Garden Hotel. (B L D)

Friday 26th February
Steam to Mount Lavinia
Today you travel on the Viceroy Special diesel hauled to Maho Junction. Here you change locomotives and travel southwards under steam through Polgahawela Junction, where you join the main line to Colombo Fort and Mount Lavinia Station. On arrival, you check in to the adjacent Mount Lavinia Hotel, an impressive colonial building at this beach resort. In the afternoon there’s an optional visit by road coach to the Dematogoda locomotive depot to view an interesting collection of both broad and narrow-gauge steam locomotives. A drive around the city of Colombo is also scheduled. In the evening, you return to the Mount Lavinia Hotel for overnight accommodation. (B L D)

Saturday 27th February
Mount Lavinia to Galle by ‘Viceroy Special’ Train
Today you set off on the last leg of your journey aboard the Viceroy Special. Departing Mount Lavinia you steam south through outer suburbs and along the coast. The line frequently runs parallel to the beach allowing great sea views. Lunch is served on board before you arrive in Galle for a tour, finishing at the World Heritage-listed old fort complex known as the ‘Ramparts of Galle’. Annexed by the Portuguese in the 16th century and extensively fortified by subsequent Dutch and British custodians, the fort has a remarkable old-world atmosphere after 500 years of occupation. The minimalistic, stately and elegant Lighthouse Hotel is another Sri Lankan gem designed by the famous Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa. Your farewell dinner and accommodation tonight is at the Jetwing Lighthouse Hotel Galle overlooking the Indian Ocean. (B L D)

Sunday 28th February
Return to UK
After breakfast in the hotel, if you have not opted for the beach extension you transfer to the airport for your direct flight back home. (B)

BEACH EXTENSION Sunday 28th to Tuesday 2nd March (Both days Inclusive)
3 Day Beach Extension
If you have opted for the Beach Extension you transfer by road coach from Lighthouse Hotel Galle to the RIU Ahungalla Hotel for three nights full board accommodation (B L D)

Wednesday 3rd March
Return to UK
You have a morning departure from the hotel for your afternoon flight direct to London Heathrow. (B)



  • Tour price £5695
  • Single supplement £935
  • Ground only (Colombo – Colombo) £5050
  • Beach Extension includes 3 nights Full board accommodation and ground transfers £495
  • Beach Extension Single supplement £295

All prices shown are per person based on two persons sharing.

Price Includes

  • 14 Nights hotel accommodation
  • 15 Breakfasts, 14 lunches and 14 dinners
  • All rail travel shown
  • All visits, coach journeys and entrance fees as detailed in the itinerary
  • All entrance fees
  • The services of a National Tour Guide
  • The services of a tour manager

Meals included each day are shown as:
B = Breakfast - L = Lunch - D = Dinner


Map feature coming soon!