WALKING GALLE’S WALLS
On first sight, the charming colonial town of GALLE (pronounced “gaul”), 35km along the coastal road west of Mirissa, might seem like one for the older members of the family, a parental payback for all the beach time of the last few days. But this is one of the best places for children to explore urban Sri Lanka. The compact FORT, an old Dutch quarter of Anglican churches, whitewashed mosques and imposing bastions, is the historic heart of Galle, at its most atmospheric on CHURCH STREET and PEDLAR STREET and in the surrounding side lanes. Keep an eye out for reminders of the town’s colonial past – in the names of the settlers interned in the DUTCH REFORM CHURCH on Church Street and the coat of arms of the Dutch East India Company, chiselled into the facade of the Fort’s OLD GATE. Galle has become quite trendy in recent years, and there are lots of chic boutiques and galleries to browse for vintage posters, local artwork and fashionable homeware; older kids might even let you rest your legs over afternoon tea and scones on the veranda of the elegant Amangalla hotel, at the top of Church Street [daily from 3pm | from Rs.2100].
In the afternoon, take a stroll along the ramparts surrounding the Fort to gaze across the quarter’s terracotta roofs, watch impromptu games of school-boy cricket that break out on any available patch of grass below, or catch the daredevil “Fort Jumpers” hurling themselves off of FLAG ROCK and into the waters below; you can access the walls up by the Fort’s clocktower and then follow them over a string of sturdy bastions to Galle’s iconic LIGHTHOUSE. There are spectacular views of the sunset from all along here, and from the oceanside restaurants in the stylishly converted GALLE DUTCH HOSPITAL shopping complex, a great place to end the day over dinner.
WHERE TO STAY
THE LIJOMA LOWDOWN
Delve deeper with our tips on what to read and watch before you go, foods and drinks your kids must try, and some key cultural advice
From safari camps to beachfront villas – our pick of the most memorable places for families to stay in Sri Lanka
NEED TO KNOW
A handy overview of Sri Lanka’s weather and climate throughout the year, with recommendations for the best time to visit
Pre-trip practicalities, including getting there, visas and passports, health and safety and how to get around
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