A hidden gem of northern Sri Lanka. Steeped in history with a rich, vibrant culture Jaffna is an off the beaten track getaway for any intrepid traveller. This is no quick whirlwind tour, more something to savour. Soak up the atmosphere, explore a range of hidden wonders, from Buddhist temples and ruins to an island inhabited by rare wild horses. Built in 1935 the original building was abandoned during the 30-year long war, used as a safe house by Tamal Tigers. It has been meticulously restored to its former glory and today stands elegant and proud offering guests a pool, spacious dining and living spaces (designed by the Cooray family themselves), and delicious authentic Jaffna food – which is unique to the region. You can travel by air in just 50 minutes from Columbo to Jaffna, however, the most accessible way to reach Jaffna overland is via train. HOW MUCH: Doubles from £148 per night.