Kirchchiyan Bungalow

Kirchchiyan Bungalow This unique tea estate bungalow on Aislaby Estate and Farm is still owned by the only remaining British planting family in Sri Lanka. The family arrived in Ceylon in 1884 and the estate has been in the family since the early 1920's.

Set in the cooler climate of the hill country, Kirchhayn provides a wonderful retreat from the heat of the low country. Drive through picture postcard manicured tea to reach this traditional planter's colonial house set in 8 acres of gardens and surrounded by 42 acres of premium quality tea.

The house has been lovingly restored by the family of the original owners of the estate and is set in a stunningly beautiful garden and surrounded by tea. The house has been crafted to give maximum comfort after a hard day on the estate and has stunning views over the surrounding area.

Kirchhayn Bungalow can be rented as a whole or by the room and is ideal as a retreat from the heat of the south or from the chaos of the roads if you are traveling the country. 

The History of the Estate:
The Bostock family initially came to Ceylon in 1884 with the arrival of J H Bostock, the great grandfather of the current owners. He came to take up the position of Resident Engineer of harbour works in Colombo.

It was his son, Norman, who started the family estate. Although born in Horsham in Sussex, England Norman came to Ceylon soon after leaving college in 1910 but returned to England to serve in the South Stafford Regiment during World War I and was awarded the Military Cross. He returned to Ceylon in 1920.

During the 1920's Norman started buying land 3 miles north of Bandarawela together with A J Wickwar, the Surveyor-General. AJ bought his land on the right-hand side of the then Gansabawa path running from Bandarawela to Attampitiya and Norman bought land on the left-hand side. Norman called his estate Aislaby, after the village in Yorkshire where he proposed to his wife, Elizabeth (they had a son, Mark, born in Ceylon in September 1926). AJ and Norman ran the two estates as one unit with a shared factory. The building of the factory had a somewhat unusual start (for those days) as Norman did not have the necessary capital to invest, so he appealed to the Board of Directors of the Colombo Commercial Company and asked them to consider building his factory and accept payment once the factory was producing tea!

In 1940 Norman returned to England but was turned down for active service, he finished the war as Lord Beaverbrook's assistant at the Air Military in London.

Norman once again returned to Ceylon in 1945 for 18 months during which time he met up with his son Mark when he was changing aircraft carriers. During this time together Norman and Mark purchased another small tea estate, Kirchhayn adjoining Aislaby at Bandarawela and also 350 acres of land in South India near Trivandrum, which was to become Greenham Estate. Norman Bostock finaly left Ceylon in 1946 and retired to England where he died in 1970.

Mark was demobilised in 1947 and went straight to Aislaby Estate where he learnt tea planting for about a year and was assistant superintendent on Aislaby. He retired in 1986.

Mark Bostock was born in Ceylon in September 1926 and spent most of life there. He died in Sri Lanka in April 2000 and is survived by his wife, Elizabeth (Lif), who spends the majority of her time in Sussex, England. An elder daughter Gillian, married to Graham with two daughters Catherine and Alexandra, living in Kent, England and his younger daughter, Claire, married to Tony with two daughters, Olivia and Indiana, living in Sydney, Australia.

Location: Kirchhayn Bungalow on Aislaby Estate and Farm is located in the "Uva" tea growing district. The Bungalow stands at an elevation of 1,400 meters.

How to get there: 15 minutes from Bandarawela taking the Attampitiya Road. Turn right at Aislaby factory and follow signs to Kirchhayn Bungalow (7 minutes).

Climate: Average temperature during the day is between 19-24°C. The average temperature drops to between 16-18°C in the evenings. The area is affected only by the North East monsoon, from October to January and during this period it may tend to rain in the evenings. The months of July, August and September are the dry months and the average temperature is between 26-28 C.
Distance From Colombo : 192 km
Sitting Area: Being built as a traditional English tea planters house Kirchhayn has a comfortable drawing room with sofas and armchairs that you sink into as the fire roars in the hearth. There is a more informal sitting area with low sofas and planters chairs which has the garden on either side.

Dining: Breakfast is served on the verandah, from where you can see the tea pluckers starting their daily routine. Healthy tropical fruit and local "curd" or the full Sri Lankan breakfast of string hoppers, fish, beef or chicken curry, with Aislaby tea or Kirchhayn coffee.

Lunch can be a traditional rice and curry served on the verandah or a packed lunch can be arranged allowing you to venture to other parts of the tea estate to choose your picnic spot.

Dinner is in the candle lit dining room served by staff in traditional crisp white jacket and sarong. Here you will feast on a three course dinner accompanied by a selection of wines.

Bedrooms: There are 5 double rooms all with en suite bathrooms featuring bath and shower. Beds are turned down each evening and the mosquito nets set.

All rooms have a comfortable homely style. Two rooms can work well as family rooms. Baby cot available on request.

Bostock Suite - The master bedroom (named after the owners) has a queen bed, dressing room and French windows that lead onto the garden. The bathroom features an old fashioned claw footed wrought iron bath and walk-in shower.
Newly refurbished. Bostock Suite named after the owners of Kirchhayn Bungalow.

Pyman Suite -
Twin bedded room with en suite bath and shower (extra bed available)
Pyman suite named after Elizabeth Pyman (mother of Mark Bostock).

Lushington Suite - King bedded room with en suite bath and shower (extra bed available)
Lushington Suite named after Rony & Bobby Lushington who were the last expatriate managers on Aislaby Estate from 1956-1968.

Wickwar Suite - Twin bedded room with en suite bath and shower
Wickwar suite named after A J Wickwar, the original partner of Norman Bostock who were both instrumental in the building of Aislaby Estate.

Taylor Room - Two twin beds. Bathroom features walk in shower (no bath)
Taylor room named after Taylor who first introduced tea into Ceylon in 1842 after which date the coffee blight eradicated all coffee.

The Bungalow can accommodate a maximum of 12 persons (including children)
Kirchchiyan Bungalow
Positive :
  • Beautiful and tranquil location...
Negative :
  • Long drive from Colombo...
Activities :
You can plan your walk around the estate roads or get off the beaten track and head for the gum tree clearing. Whether it is a 30 minute leg stretch to "Bostocks seat" or a rigorous hour and a half through some of the best tea in the world culminating with a steep climb to the top of the "patna" to check out the most spectacular 360 degree view. Should you need some advice on the best walks, just speak with the Estate Manager.

Tours of the Aislaby tea factory can be arranged so you can witness the complete process of tea manufacture.

A quite game of croquet on the lawn before afternoon tea on the veranda, or for the more energetic a hectic game of "short tennis" made all the more tricky with the slope of the lawns.

Or just sit in a shaded part of the garden with a pair of binoculars and take in some bird watching. There are a variety of books on birds of Sri Lanka, found in the library which will make this past time all the more rewarding.

If wet, a game of carpet boulle or playing cards passes many a spare minute. or sit at the desk in the library used by past managers of the Estate and sense history, whilst admiring the views of the gardens through the picture windows and French doors. Here you can browse through the Visitors Book and enjoy some of the guest comments dating back years.
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