Your Bristol & Somerset Wedding - August/September 2022 (Issue 90)

A PEACEFUL NIGHT’S SLEEP Cinnamon Bentota Beach offers 16 Suites with unique sets of artworks that were commissioned from Sri Lankan artists as part of Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts’ pledge to support the local arts and crafts. Eight artists were commissioned to depict a theme and record what they felt the name of the suite meant to them - resulting in each suite telling a story of the people and languages of Sri Lanka. ADRENALINE JUNKIE If watersports are your thing, you won’t be disappointed at Cinnamon Bentota Beach. Taking place on the Bentota river, there are endless options from water skiing, to jet skis, banana boats and doughnuts. While first trying my hand at the doughnuts, the jet ski was a definite front runner. With the water so calm and the river so vast, it was the perfect opportunity to open up and let rip! GET THERE Sri Lankan Airlines: T: +94117771979 E: TOUR GUIDE Walkers Tours ART AND CULTURE Well known for its jungles, Sri Lanka certainly didn’t disappoint on this front. Tearing ourselves away from the array of calming pools – and pool bar – we headed to the Lunuganga Geoffrey Bawa’s Country Estate, where we were treated to a tour. If art and culture is your thing – this is one excursion not to be missed. The country house of the renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, the estate is just a short distance from the hotel, and had been used as a cinnamon estate during the Dutch era and then a rubber plantation under the British. In 1949, the estate was bought by Bawa and was converted into a weekend house where he created a tropical version of a European Renaissance Garden. It took the architect 40 years to complete the house. OUT ON THE WATER However, for me, the highlight was most definitely the boat ride on the Madu Ganga and visit to the Mangrove Forest. With an excellent tour guide, we jetted down the river doing our best to spot all the animals that were highlighted as making the river their home. From bear monkeys to water monitors to jellyfish, to kingfisher’s – it was a veritable treat for an animal lover like me. The jury is still out on whether I’m happy or disappointed that the crocodiles kept themselves at bay. And with Mangrove forests stabilising the coastline, reducing erosion from storm surges, currents, waves, and tides, the intricate root system of mangroves also makes these forests attractive to fish and other organisms seeking food and shelter from predators. With little stops along the way, it was truly special to see cinnamon being made amidst the forest – and I’d recommend bringing some pocket change as it’ll be a feat to walk away empty handed. If you’re one for a spot of shopping combined with a walking tour of a beautiful town, make sure you head to Galle. We combined this with the river tour, and it was well worth the hour’s drive. A stunning town steeped in history there are views for miles and it would be well worth booking with Walkers Tours, and in particular Ashoka Dissanayke, to learn more about this beautifully resplendent town’s heritage. If you do head to Galle, don’t forget to leave space in your luggage for your journey home. With boutique shops and traditional stores alike, I’d challenge anyone to leave empty handed. If you’re looking for souvenirs or mementos of your trip – this is the place to get them. TOURISM SUPPORT Sri Lanka has had its fair share of upheaval, from the 2004 Tsunami, the terrorist attacks in 2019 and now the national crisis. However, in my opinion this is all the more reason to go and visit this wonderful country, and give its tourism industry the boost it so desperately needs. Not only did I feel safe wherever I travelled in Sri Lanka, I am already planning my next trip back, and this time I may buy an open-ended ticket home… HONEYMOONS 87