Brief Garden

Ten kilometres inland from Bentota is the Brief Garden, house, which used to be the home of landscape architect Bevis Bawa, brother of renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa. The estate was formerly a rubber plantation, but in its current form it is a hillside garden with excellent views and artwork – from erotic sculpture to a wonderful mural of Sri Lankan life in the style of Marc Chagall, which were created both by Bevis himself and other artists. The mural was created by Australian artist Donald Friend, who originally came for six days but stayed six years. Other guests Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier  stayed here during the filming of Elephant Walk in 1953. 

Recommended review time for sightseeing: 1 h

Tourist reviews about Brief Garden

"Breif Garden, a dream killer"
Nimsis J [TA], , Galle, Sri Lanka

It was my dream to visit the world famous Breif Garden- Bentota by Bevis Bava since i were a little girl. Heard about its unique beauty and the the out standing creativity of Bava in planning everything. So after several years of endless dreaming we made our way to visit the so called garden of heaven.
It was a very rough route to access and after all the hard traveling of around 2 hours from Galle, we managed to reach Kalavila.We had to take the train,then the bus and finally a tuk tuk. The access road was pathetic and not well managed. it was a terribly hot area.
But the management refused to allow us enter. It was very rude how they behaved and how they treated us. Their reason of refusing us was that we were a couple. They insisted not to allow us enter so we had to return back. This was a very pathetic and uncomfortable experience for both of us because we were exhausted after the tiresome journey.
If this were their hospitality for two locals, i am very confused how they would treat the foreign visitors who would come there all their way from the motherland. It was indeed a dream killer a terrible place to visit.

Left dissapointed
David S [TA], , Wakefield, United Kingdom

Visited here on the strength of reviews but left extremely dissapointed. After arriving by Tuk Tuk over some rough terrain which was nice to be out of the hustle of the main roads it cost 1000 rubes to enter. I thought I was in for seeing spectacular gardens but it was generally over grown and the house was a dissapointment too. I have to say in its defence I am not a tourist who is a lover of historical land marks and a couple who were in English who were there at the same time were raving about it - so not for everyone but some yes.

Not to be missed when in the Bentota area
Shuala [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

Beautiful gardens and residence with an interesting history. The Brief Garden is a bit off the beaten track, so arrange round-trip transportation. This site is not to be missed if in the Bentota area.

Interesting history lesson
Roger W [TA], , Collaroy Beach, Australia

An interesting place to visit and hear the history surrounding the house and gardens .
maybe not the best place when it's raining . The road is a bit on the rough side but a bit of fun .

Still has its Bawa charm
GaryVanBr... [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

The Brief Gardens were built by the the famous Bevis Bawa. It has not been kept up very well but still worth a visit. price is R/1000 per person. A 25 minute ride from Aluthgama.

Brief visit to Brief
chewmanst... [TA], , Kent,UK

Brief Gardens are a real treat for anyone that loves a bit of horticulture. Simple masculine layout to the house and gardens alike. I love the fact that the gardens are not manicured to within an inch of there lives and certain areas have a real feel of the wild. Then of course there are the various statues dotted about, that present a real sense of mischief, you will see for yourselves. We had a lovely pot of tea up at the house, but I understand that this is not always available, so we counted ourselves as lucky. A lovely place to wander and soak up the beauty for a couple of hours, maybe longer if you really take time to enjoy it all.

Esther A [TA], , Australia

I did not know a lot about Bevis Bawa before visiting this place and probably would have appreciated it more if I had done more research. The gardens give a hint of the magical place they once were. There was a guide in the house who explained all of the features and the stories behind the artwork. Lovely, but out-of-the-way place to visit.

Charming curiosity!
PaulandSu... [TA], , Huddersfield, United Kingdom

The gardens and house are a fascinating insight to Bevis Bawa's life and Sri Lankan culture in general. Some of it unexpected and a delight. The grounds are immaculately kept and full of flowers and birds, whilst the house is preserved in a 'shabby' charm!

See how the other half lived.
Roger H [TA], , Melbourne, Australia

Pleasant,verdant garden. Enjoyed a one hour ramble amongst unexpected water features and overgrown paths;even saw two mongooses at close quarters big colonial house with a bit of history.

Architecture and nature in tandem
Zihanjj [TA], , Sri Lanka

Architecturally designed garden and bungalow by Bevis Bawa. The garden is divided in to different stages, right in the center is the bungalow. Many man made Lakes and countless trees makes it the ideal place to relax.

Bungalow is designed in a way that air flows without any assistance from technology, feels cool inside. has lot of Antiques. the caretakers will give you a tour around the bungalow explaining how it was designed.

The entrance fee is way too much if you ask me. but it is a price to pay if you really want to see it.

Last visit 2012

Tranquil setting
woo1955 [TA], , Broadstairs, United Kingdom

We took a TukTuk for a day visiting these gardens as part of our excursion. What a beautiful and tranquil place. We were able to wander around at leisure and when visiting inside the house a guide gave us an interesting insight into the history of the owner and his family. I would strongly recommend this place for gardeners and non gardeners alike. Not too expensive either.

Lovely garden with nice collection of statues
goalgent [TA], , Gent

A nice garden to stroll around in. The grounds are rather big and there is lots to see. The visit ends with a tour of the house and the art collection of Bevis Bawa. Nice and gives some insight in his life. Loved all the stautues and little ponds and features.

great experience
Tudu T [TA], , Bentota, Sri Lanka

This is great and lovely place what we can see in bentota.nice garden and very claen palce.hope to go back soon

Beautiful gardens and house.
jubes65 [TA], , Melbourne, Australia

Make the time to come and see this beautiful garden. Easy to get to and in some ways much more beautiful than Lunaganga. A real treat.

Laurie W [TA], , London, United Kingdom

Beautiful grounds to wander through followed by a tour of the house with an informative guide, but wear mosquito repellant otherwise you'll have loads of itchy bites!

Still as gorgeous as ever.
Rebecca M [TA], , Banbury, United Kingdom

This really is a wonderful garden and house now owned and run by the previous gardener and his family, who used to tend to the gardens for Mr bevis and his partner. It looks simply sumptuous in the rain and still has that wonderful charm and magic about it. Well done Dan and the de Silva family for continuing to uphold Bevis's legacy.

Interesting garden with unrealized potential
gilesgolf [TA], , Melbourne, Australia

The biggest problem with Brief Garden is the lack of directions both to get to the gardens and once their around the garden itself. Constructed in 1929 and opened to the public 40 years later, not a lot has been done to assist the visitor. Even the toilet located in the garden is a health hazard, certainly not there to be used!

Amazing Experience
Seema828 [TA], , New Delhi, India

On our visit to Turtle Hatchery we had one of the most memorable experience of our lives. Holding 3 days old turtles in our hand was something amazing. There were different varieties of turtles and of different ages. We also saw one handicapped turtle who is there in hatchery since long. This was indeed a different kind of experience.

Afternoon tea in a quaint setting
Linda H [TA], ,

We spent a lovely afternoon here wandering round the neat lawns. An English garden with spectacular exotic flowers. The house is beautiful and the lovely gentleman who showed us round and made our tea brought the house to life with stories of the past. Magical

Tranquil gardens
UKbadiabr... [TA], , Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Tranquil gardens on a much smaller scale than those of his brother at Lunuganga but worth a visit. There was no guide to walk around and explain everything here but when I reached the houes the guide gave much information about the house, statues, Bevis Bawa's artistic friends and house guests. Very interesting.

perfect clearing in the jungle.
ninjatrav... [TA], , Great Missenden, United Kingdom

Hidden away inland it is not the easiest of places to find. But it is worth it, not a huge garden but lovely views and interesting house. Peaceful. Bevis bawa was an interesting chap.

Helen L [TA], , Bentota, Sri Lanka

Lots of grounds to cover. Tour not as good as we hoped. The pet dog knew the tour blindfolded so we followed him.

The secret garden
DG888 [TA], , Northampton, United Kingdom

Definitely worth leaving the beach for a couple of hours to visit this hidden gem. Bevis Bawa's garden and house are stunning and incredibly well kept. One could spend hours inspecting the garden alone. The house has been left as it was when he lived there. One can't help wandering about the crazy parties which must have gone on there!

if you are passionate about landscaping, don's miss this
RanjPer [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

if you are passionate about landscaping, architecture, this is a place that you need to see. But if you are not really interested about these, you will not finding anything much interesting.
if you are going there via Southern highway, please don't follow the road that google maps shows (via road to Sri Sudarmarama temple rd) - instead go via Aluthgama-Mathugama- Yatidola road which is more closer to Darga town- this is a better road.

this place has comparatively expensive entry fee (for locals also - Rs. 350 for garden and Rs. 1000 if you want to see both garden and house). I rather recommended both house and garden option. don't miss to talk to caretaker in case you are visiting the house. He guide you through the house and tell you lot about history.

also make sure that you see following in the house,
old photo collection of bevis bawa (about 10),
painting that brief whole Sri Lanka
three painting on the walls of same corridor
Court yard with out door bathing area

anyway don't expect too much from the garden. it had been a private garden of a house, not a botanical garden.

Tea in paradise
CharlesC6... [TA], , Alton, United Kingdom

This house and garden is lovely, though the prudish might be taken aback by some of the sculptures. We were offered tea - nothing could be more perfect.

An amazing oasis of beauty
darnoc251... [TA], , London, United Kingdom

Of all the experiences in Sri Lanka this was our number one. Our party of four took 2 tuk tuks to the house of this larger than life Sri Lankan [6ft 7 inches} The house id s full of artwork and treasures and our guide worked for Bevis so new so much. The gardens are beautifully landscaped, Tea on the lawn mad the vist perfect.

Bea255 [TA], , Gloucester, United Kingdom

Very interesting garden and house, well worth a visit and not crowded.Intereting to compare eith other Bawa buildings such as The Gsllery cafe in Colombo.

Peaceful birdsong
Alphabett... [TA], , East Anglia, United Kingdom

What a beautiful place to visit its a short tuk tuk ride to these lovely gardens and house with a interesting story now left to the staff who cared for the owner until his death you can then visit a nearby temple and see the everyday life of Sri Lanka people en-route

Tucked away gem
Lawrence... [TA], , Atlanta, Georgia

Down some very narrow rough roads (with no signs pointing the way), this is a great way to spend an hour or so away from the beach. The house and grounds are beautiful – and an inspiration for landscaping back at home. Don’t expect formal gardens or placards identifying plants – but rather just a nice place to explore and fantasize about escaping everyday world and moving to a garden paradise in the middle of no where yourself.

Georgethr... [TA], , Carmarthen, United Kingdom

Unspoilt full of birds. A guided tour around the villa with a very interesting history. Well worth a visit

Lovely Garden , a must see if your close to Beruwela!
Saschoo [TA], , Dreieich, Germany

We really enjoyed the Bevis Bawa Garden, it is stunning and beautiful, we were amazed by ist varaiety of plants and stautes/figures.

A must see see if you like nature.

Nice garden and house
Alex_Vesn... [TA], , Sabac, Serbia

Beautiful garden and house with unusual plants, especially black flower is wonderful.
For a relatively short period of time and small fee we saw a delightful garden and house created by Sri Lankan landscape architect Bevis Bawa.
Enjoyment and relaxation in melt of nature and human mind.

Don't miss it!
redgrave... [TA], , Essex, United Kingdom

Very atmospheric and well worth a visit. The gardens are well cared for and very interesting. Watch out for the mongoose,......

Lovely house and gardens
dalan1524 [TA], , Bournemouth

Just a short ride in a tuk-tuk from our hotel and well worth it..a couple of hours is enough to take in the beautiful gardens and house. Lots of flowers and birds and a free cuppa at the end of the tour.

Designers and architects home
Joy31_12 [TA], , Norwich, United Kingdom

Lovely large tranquil gardens but the house is very interesting. it belonged to the architect and designer Bevis Bawa, a homosexual who was the darling of the Hollywood crowd in the 50's. Beautifully deigned spacious rooms, he died without children and left the house and over 24 acres to his staff,The Butler, who now owns the house will show you around.

Well worth making a trip
spark41 [TA], , Copenhagen, Denmark

We took a tuk tuk from our guest house in Bentota - approx. 25 mins drive each way - paid rps 1200. The drive was interesting in itself, but then the gardens and house was amazing. We were left to wander alone around the gardens then given a guided tour of the house and its' history. Bevis Bawa had the most incredible life and this is portrayed in his former home. Make sure you see the outdoor shower and the moon gate too.

Steeped in History
RetiredCo... [TA], , Hampton

The present owner explained how the house and gardens came about, they form a quiet and tranquil setting. Was used as a emergency shelter for 200 tourist in 2004 after the Tsunami. Owner refused a large compensation sum from the tourist industry but donated it to the town to pay for scholarship for local students.

Tranquility guaranteed
ClaretJoh... [TA], , Chester, United Kingdom

Beautiful gardens with many lovely flowers and plants. We even got to see a group of monkeys high in the trees feeding on fruits. It is well worth a visit if you like gardens and tranquil surroundings.

What a delightful place
suggnaray... [TA], , Portland, Oregon

Worth the trip to see this amazing estate and house. The gardens and paths are charming and the house a perfect setting in the climate. Entry is 1000 Sri Lankan Rupees per person and worth it.

We took a Tuk-Tuk there and that is the best way to get around.

Beautiful place
belhuk [TA], , Petah Tiqwa, Israel

Beautiful and interesting place,filled with amazing works of art of the Bawa and his friends. The house itself is an architectural pearl. The gardens are inspiring. we all loved the place. Worth a visit if you stay in Bentota or Beruwela area. A half an hour with a three wheeler which in itself is a lovely experience. Only downside is the high entrance fee, in sri-lankan terms of course. 100 rup. Per person.

A must!
Jbps [TA], , Wiesbaden, Germany

The garden and the house are very nice and the guide gives you a great introduction to the life of Bevis Bawa and the estate. He was perfectly speaking english and german and made the tour very interesting. We love the estate!

Did not want to leave Brief Garden!
Travel061... [TA], , Delhi

The beautiful expanse of greenery... Garden is manicured yet so wild in places to keep the natural charm alive.. We fell in love with this romantic garden and the family who welcomed us there. A must visit for all nature gazing lovers.

Garden of delights
fairday66 [TA], , wales

We really enjoyed our two hour visit, especially as we shared tea with the charming owner. He could not have been more patient and informative about the house, garden and the Bawa family. The garden in a carefully choreographed "jungle" with some beautiful (and sometimes quirky) architectural features and ornaments. The collection of photographs and paintings in the house - which is light and spacious - helped turn the clock back to its heyday. A really memorable trip, just 1000 rupees waiting tuk tuk from the coast.

Well worthwhile. Fantastic for birds.
Roylav [TA], , Colchester, United Kingdom

I found the house and garden moderately interesting, but the real "wow" was the range of birds that could be seen (and photographed). This is a "must" for bird enthusiasts: allow a half day and bring your binoculars and long lens!

One of the best locations for birds that I visited during my entire tour.

first visit to brief garden
Dawn2011 [TA], , Doncaster, United Kingdom

I had read about these gardens and had a half day to spare so went along.
The garden is beautiful. The flowers and exotic plants were fascinating. I heard a variety of birds and enjoyed searching for sight of them.
I must say however. The house gave me the creeps and I couldn't applaud the statues and paintings. I would not have wanted my son to go there as a child or young man shall we say.
Definitely worth a visit though.

Such a Green & Peaceful Place
Lyn S [TA], , London, United Kingdom

An unexpected garden. Full of quirky ideas. So lush and green. The wife of the owner is a lovely lady and knows so much about the history of the house and the family that formerly owned it. The photos on the walls show many film stars from bygone times.

Sit and look at the view from the terrace. It is hard to leave it. In the garden are colourful birds and monkeys. At every twist and turn in the garden there is something new to look at.

Don't miss this garden!

naggy21 [TA], , Reading, United Kingdom

this was the best thing we did on our visit, the house and gardens are such a pleasant surprise and very interesting too, not very big so you can do it all in an hour but you wouldnt want to eave the cool and beautiful house once youre there

Lovely garden and house
Gordon C [TA], ,

This place is hard to find. The turn from the main road is easily missed but press on as it is worth the look. The gardens are luxurious and it has a real kept, unkept look and feel. Fantastic entrance to the house from the car park. The house is a classic open style Bawa house. Must have been great in it's halcyon days full of the rich and famous!

Walk through Brief Garden
sumansiru... [TA], , Pune, India

Was a lovely experience. Every turn, every bend in the path was interesting - so many many plants. Very beautifully laid out garden. You can spend ages in this place without getting tired - if you are a nature lover. Sitting down to have some tea and biscuits in the Bawa home was also a treat. If they do up this house and let out the rooms, then this is a must stay place.

Brief Gardens
alansen [TA], , basingstoke

What a fantastic look into the past. The gardens were laid out with great foresight and vision. Though the house was modest, one can only imagine heady lifestyle enjoyed by the Bawa clan. Well worth a visit

Divine Decadence
DKCCherts... [TA], , Chertsey

If you are open minded, like something truly out of the ordinary and off the beaten tourist track, then this is definitely for you. Take a tuk tuk for a magic ride into the past and visit the Brief Garden to discover how it was to live a decidedly debauched lifestyle in the colonial days leading up to Ceylon's independance.
In the middle of a forest you come upon stunning landscaped gardens supporting a myriad of trees,plants,flowers and wildlife to soak in. You then arrive at the sparse but beautiful house, full of impressive paintings and photographs of a bygone age. To cap it all there is some pretty dubious but nevertheless eye catching sculptures to be studied!
The 1000 rupee entrance fee is quite high for Sri lanka but certainly, from our point of view, worth every rupee.
Before going it is worth looking up the history of Bevis & Geoffrey Bawa to give you some idea of what there is in store for you. A wonderful experience.

Charming, Quirky & Tranquil
Ollie007 [TA], , Mayfield, United Kingdom

An interesting taste of old colonial living. Nice shady walks amongst the trees (beware mosquitos) stumbling upon oddities here and there. Then an interesting tour of the house and art and finally a wonderful cup of tea on the shaded terrace. Very enjoyable interlude.

Very good village tour
Samanthi... [TA], , Colombo District, Sri Lanka

We were more like that tour. very nice and lovely place. calm & relax. we saw nice trees and herbal plant.

Hidden treasure
PerthTrav... [TA], , Perth

Wasn't expecting such magical gardens hidden away. Well worth visiting to take in the gardens and architecture, even if you're not a buff.

Brief Garden
jenniga [TA], , Sydney

Interesting way to spend a couple of hours wandering around the lovely grounds and viewing the house.

kdainv [TA], , London, United Kingdom

Excellent and lovely garden, great welcome from Dooland and his wife. Well manicured garden in a peaceful location!
Must see if you are around Beruwala area.

A must for Bawa fans
Mark R [TA], , Melbourne, Australia

Wonderful garden and house is full of interesting art work. Fascinating contrast to Lunagunga. A must for Bawa fans.

Pretty gardens, but a very uncomfortable experience overall
MaryJMKL [TA], , Key Largo, Florida

The garden was beautiful and we had a very pleasant stroll through the jungle like growth. The tour of the house spoiled the experience for us, however, as the hallway exiting the house showcased paintings and photographs that implied that Bawa's boy servants were victims of pedophilia. These acts should never be condoned, let alone celebrated, and we remain shocked that this hasn't come up in previous reviews or guidebook write-ups about the place. While the gardens were quite pretty, we struggle to recommend visiting Brief Gardens for these reasons and the chilling atmosphere that burdens many areas of the property.

very nice
Marc C [TA], ,

we went there and we liked a lot!
It's a very nice place, with a nice tropical garden. We went there with a Tuk-tuk from Bentota, all the drivers that we asked for a price know this place.
Personally I think it's a nice landscape garden topped with a nice colonial house. But nothing to compare with his brother Geoffrey Bawa's house in Lunuganga. That all single detail are there for some reason.

A Garden for Connoisseurs - a Work of Art
TiggerInI... [TA], , Forest Row, UK

Brief Gardens is a masterpiece of landscaping. I could have spent all day here, observing the play of light and shadow in the changing daylight. It is also a wonderful opportunity for photography. A single visit will hardly do it justice. This was my second visit and I shall certainly return in another season.

Interesting garden
Tracy M [TA], , Letchworth, United Kingdom

Very cool and almost like an English garden - we particularly liked the cascade run of water down the lawn from the top by the house. Tea and lemon puff biscuits were provided after the tour of the garden - a nice touch. Interesting to hear the history of the house and gardens and see the old photos of past visitors.

Brief Garden
TonyandJe... [TA], , Reading, United Kingdom

Interesting but slightly disappointing...
We expected it to be more colourful from what we'd read about it.

A place full of atmosphere
Rainbow20... [TA], , Dubai, United Arab Emirates

This was a great visit! Our driver took us there early in the day. It is not very easy to find, it is a hidden gem in the middle of lash trees and plantations. The tour guide is great! We got to know that the place is full of charm and stories to share. The paintings on the wall are really touching. The one of Bevis Bawa in his very late days with the boy with his arm around him is breath-taking, and leaves you with so much to think about. So much charm and so many stories in the house. The building itself is not a palace, but the garden is something to tell about.
We set in the garden at the end of the tour, and enjoyed a cup of tea, and let the whole place sink in with us. It is an experience not to be missed! A very moving experience...

Nickie E [TA], , Steyning

It's not easy to find Brief Garden as the signs have disappeared recently so suggest that you take a tuk-tuk. It was the home of the artist Bevis Bawa, the very well connected younger brother of Geoffrey Bawa who was a renowned architect. The extensive gardens are truly wonderful and beautifully kept. It's a real tropical paradise with so much to see - all types of trees, shrubs, flowers, water features, pathways, statues, pots etc - and a real pleasure to amble around. Included in the entrance fee is a guided tour of the house, which is very interesting. It is rumoured locally that Bevis Bawa was a well endowed gentleman and there are a number of images and sculptures possibly based on him, of naked men with large attributes, which may make some visitors blush!

beckynmax [TA], , maine

This is a beautiful and serene place to visit. Set amid a coconut plantation, Brief Garden is lush and aesthetically pleasing. The caretaker is knowledgeable and offers insights into the history of the garden and house. The gardens are divided into outdoor rooms revealing Bawa's sense of style and sense of humor.We found the place with difficulty but felt the trek was worth it.

Erotic garden
Polly2550... [TA], , Sydney, Australia

Beautiful & interesting garden. Around every corner is a surprise. Bevis obviously enjoyed himself. Good that you can wander the gardens at your own pace. We appreciated that we were able to take our driver free of charge on the tour with us. He had never been before & he was not allowed to look at the gardens or buildings at Lunuganga (Geoffrey Bawa's property).
Interesting to see Donald Friend's input in some of the garden design & also his works in the house.

Wort to visit
moreno751 [TA], , Milan, Italy

it was a nice garden we were see in bentota area. They have interesting house inside the garden. One of guy he explained us architecture value of that home. It has created by bawa.

Chilled with a teaspoon of History
Tangledud... [TA], , London

If you are feeling a bit cynical about the turtle sanctuaries, check this place out, Bevis Bawa was an interesting chap. There is a rather melancholy gentleman (he cared for the dying Bawa) who might see you after you have wandered around the gardens and offer you a very nice cup of tea and biscuits, who will show you the house and tells some interesting stories..

worth the effort to go
dave c [TA], , Warrington, United Kingdom

Wonderful private gardens - you'd struggle to find on your own. Let in by one of the staff you are free to wander at leisure the gardens with all the nature all around - before being given a guided tour of the house along with the history that went with it.
£5.00 Entry and around £4 return from Bentota in a tuk tuk - it was excellent value for money.

worth a trip
sliabh33 [TA], , Dublin, Ireland

beautiful gardens and an interesting tour of the house offering interesting insights into the life of the Bawa brothers.

Quirky, wonderful place in Bentota
MarkLaure... [TA], , Brisbane, Australia

This garden built by Bevis Bawa in 1926 is simply wonderful. Bevis was the brother of famous architect, Geoffrey Bawa. The garden is fully of secret places, cascading pathways, magnificent plants and the house is in the middle of it all. A short tour of the house and surrounds was so interesting and the guide will serve a lovely cup of tea at the end. Definitely do this. It is a real highlight in any visit to Sri Lanka.

Beautiful garden and a great private talk and tour of the house.
jenniga [TA], , Sydney

Was't as hard to get to as some reviewers had said nor was the state of the road to bad. We had a very reliable tuk tuk driver take us out there and wait for us. The tour over the house at our own pace was also good and very informative. Also enjoyed looking at all the old family photos on the walls. The gardens were beautiful and it was very relaxing just wandering around.

A Master piece
A_kamburu... [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

We didnt know about this place when we were traveling to Bentota, but thanks to Trip adviser we had a chance to go this place. There are no boards has been advertised to identify the place but all the tuk - tuk drivers in the area knows the place. Its a long road trip to the garden through a village but interesting. It cost 1000 rupees to see the garden and the house but it takes only 350 rupees if you wish to see the garden only. But i highly recommend you to see the both because its lovely.

We totally fell in love with the place and the architecture. Its a good relaxation to your mind. The garden is awesome but would have been much more better if the owners give much attention to maintain it. it has been neglected since its expand in a five acre land.

There will be a person to explain the architecture and the arts of the house. So you will come out with many information in hand if you wanna do little bit of reading afterwards. Highly recommended.

road to the garden was a nightmare
gracesumm... [TA], , colombo

nothing much to see and cant even find the place no signs and the road to the garden was pure nightmare.

Gautham_S... [TA], , Gurgaon, India

you dont need to be an artist to appreciate art. the brief garden is one such place. walk around this fabulously landscapped garden and see for yourself how much nature can actually be captivating.

had a cup of tea which was served by the caretaker. there is an entry fee for this place. dont miss this place and lunaganga when you are in bentota

Very Interesting
711lisac [TA], , Cardiff, United Kingdom

Loved the gardens and variety of flowers and plants. The house and history was also very interesting, very informative guide. Quite pricey entrance fee 1,000 rupees.

Very Beautiful Place
Sanka W [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

This private garden is a real masterpiece. Loved every minute inside it. The garden at the back was like a secret hideout. It was amazing.

The couple of hours I spent walking was very relaxing.

I like the fact that Bevis had not tried to hide the fact that he was gay, through his art. In fact he had tried to portray it through lots of sculptures.

His brother's (Geoffrey) private home (Lunuganga Estate) is the only other place in the country that I can think of which would be better than this garden.

However this is a highly recommended place in Bentota to visit.

kathryna1... [TA], , San Francisco, California

We were the only ones there and it was gorgeous. Felt like we were trapped in time . Magical . We got some delicious tea and sat on a bench outside . I will always remember that place .

kathandTo... [TA], , Urmston, United Kingdom

The gardens were a bit neglected but still interesting, the house
told you more about the man , art work was good and we had a nice cup of tea at the overlooking the gardens

Interesting visit
Honesty18... [TA], , Trimdon

Half hour Tuk Tuk ride from the Taj. Nice gardens with tropical plants and interesting tour of the house which was lead by a guide. We were offered tea and biscuits which we took outside on the patio and it was lovely looking down into a green area. House contained a nice library ornaments paintings etc and lots of history on Bevis and Geoffrey Bawa. Cost about 1000 rupees to enter but worth it, could spend a couple hours here and get some good photos. The tea was the best I have ever tasted in Sri lanka.

Fascinating place and great art surprises
CaroSydne... [TA], , Sydney, Australia

Warmer welcome than at Geoffrey Bawa's house and gardens. We loved the garden and the guided tour of the house, which had a surprising array of art. Cup of tea in the garden was the finishing touch. Take a tuk tuk for an adventure.

Interesting Visit
imotravel... [TA], , Southampton

A lovely afternoon spent enjoying the gardens and drinking tea on the terrace enjoying the views. Not much to see inside the house.

Almost a Secret Garden
CoffeeMav... [TA], , Johnson City, Tennessee, United States

The challenge of locating the Brief Garden set the mood nicely. I had read about it in a gardening magazine and was delighted to be able to wander about the gardens & tour some of the house. Even though time has taken its toll on the condition of the house & the layout of the gardens, one can see what a lively place this was in its heyday. I was grateful for my insect-repellant shirt & my sturdy shoes as I peered over, under, around & through it all!

Tropical paridise
peterandv... [TA], , Southwell, United Kingdom

Beautiful gardens to wander through and admire vistas both near and far. One has to wonder at the time and effort that must have gone into the planning and planting. The juxtaposition of textures is delightful.

The house itself is of little note but the interiors contain interesting artifacts and artwork

A tropical oasis
Paul G [TA], , London, United Kingdom

A truly delightful vision of paradise distilled with vision by a highly gifted individual. In a secluded, and very remote setting, it really is well worth making the effort to find it.

Well worth a side trip from Bentota
Sean S [TA], , Sydney, Australia

A delightful place to spend an afternoon and an interesting comparison to the garden at Lunaganga by Bevis' more famous brother Geoffrey. Brief garden sprinkles camp humour among its elegant vistas and the art contains many homoerotic jokes - there's a real sense of fun about the place. As well as having a good sense of humour, Bevis was a talented gardener and designer and this is truly one of the great gardens of Asia.

Wish it was my home
behuman [TA], , Bern, Switzerland

At Brief garden you get the kindness and the welcome totally lacking at Lunuganga.

Brief is smaller and less experimental than Lunuganga and was the private home of Bevis Bawa. You enter by a sidedoor and are free to roam the garden with interesting perspectives and ecclectic (some may say tacky) artwork until you arrive at the main house where the charming caretaker (who not only speaks English, but fluent German) will offer you tea and give you all explanations you may need.

Bevis Bawa obviously had a good time at Brief and some of the exposed pieces might amuse or even slightly shock you. Discover yourself!

Worth a visit but difficult to find.

Tranquil house and garden
nutmeg211... [TA], , Melbourne, Australia

Brief garden is quite tucked away in the jungle, and it took us a while to find, but it was worth it! The garden is quite compact compared to Lunuganga - we visited both in the same day, and it was interesting to compare the two - I think I preferred the smaller scale of the Brief Garden, it felt more like a home than a country estate. I found the house to be just as interesting as the actual garden, it's filled with antique furniture and artwork from a range of local and international artists. Lovely place to visit and explore if you're in the area or interested in the Bawas!

Beautiful house and Gardens
cobweblon... [TA], , London, UK

Loved this place and a must to see if you are staying in any of Geooffrey Bawa's hotels. The staff there was so friendly and they made us the best cup of tea ever

bawa brothers and brief gardens
moggie68 [TA], , Blackpool, United Kingdom

stayed at Sri-Lancashire guest house and had done my homework on the area and visited Brief Gardens. Small and manageable to walk roound in a few hours. Very well maintained and the guide was very informative with his knowledge, cheap entrance fee though people would find this hard to find if they didnt know the area, would visit again with a better camera as fantastic photo opportunities are there.

Breathtakingly beautiful
fabindia [TA], , Newcastle upon Tyne

Words and even photographs cannot describe the tranquility and beauty of these gardens. The owner is a genial and welcoming host. I would say that if you are in the area and are in the least bit interested in gardens or just the beauty of nature, then this place is a must to visit.

Hidden away gem
busygarde... [TA], , USA

Nicely landscaped garden and interesting house of the brother to famous Sri Lankan architect. Caretaker will give you house tour and background history of the owner.

Relaxing Gardens
Jez T [TA], ,

We decided on a late afternoon trip to Brief Gardens, a sort of gentrified English Garden with the tropical touch. To see the exquisite birds you will either need to visit first thing in the morning or late afternoon. There are a myriad of colourful birds - I have no idea what they are and the garden also offers sitings of Squirrel, Chipmunks and we were also lucky enough to see a mongoose whilst having a cup of tea after our tour sitting on the veranda. The drive up from Bentota through the small villages and up through the rice fields and jungle is in itself a small tour of how life in Sri Lanka goes by day by day. If at a loose end it is worth the trip and Rp1000 entrance fee.

Peace and tranquility
CjMFife [TA], , Fife

Beautifully designed, but not overkemped - I liked the fact the fountains don't work anymore and it all has a weathered feel - working in harmony with nature, not against it.

"Really architect Bungalow"
claudiawa... [TA], , süddeutschland

I was interested only bungalow because there are real architect design and guide explain everything very well. Garden was not interested to me because when i visit that place i already visited peradeniya botanical garden and Hakgala garden.

entrance fees for per person : 1000 LKR

Distance to from bentota : About 8km

Fascinating house & enchanting jungle garden
mladww [TA], , Lancaster, United Kingdom

Created by Bevis Bawa, brother of celebrated architect Geoffrey. It’s an eccentric combination of Italianate landscaped areas and meandering paths through lush semi-jungle. Atmospheric rather than spectacular, and on a relatively intimate scale. The garden is enchanting and in combination with the house it gives an insight into the life and times of an unusual individual. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring it. However, whilst you can appreciate it for what it is, I felt a few notes on the garden’s history and how Bevis set about creating it would have been helpful. The current owner was padding about and amiably chatting to visitors but after he had generously spent quite a bit of time talking with me about the photos of Bevis and his family I didn’t want to monopolise him by quizzing him about the garden. The garden doesn’t advertise itself, which is probably just as well. Crowds of visitors would overwhelm it and destroy the atmosphere. There are no directions and it is not easy to find unaided but all the locals know it and can point you in the right direction.

Richard M [TA], , Alderney, United Kingdom

Lovely garden with some good views , slightly disappointing house , although there were some interesting old photographs

Lovely spot
scratchet... [TA], , Manchester, United Kingdom

Although it isn't easy to find, this place is really worth a visit. The gardens are lovely, a sort of English landscape style made of tropical plants with lots of shady corners to explore. The house is also interesting, with pictures of Bevis Bawa and other family members and lots of artwork to admire. I wish I'd known more about the Bawas before I visited, I've done some reading since and they were a fascinating family. I'd highly recommend this place as a change from the usual tourist stuff. The trust who now run it are clearly doing their best to maintain it as it was, and I didn't grudge the 1000 rupee entry cost at all.

tranquil and fascinating history
TimaruKen [TA], , timaru

loved being given an unexpected cup of tea and lemon biscuits on the terrace!
Not too demanding - a gentle stroll around the house and grounds with some interesting specimen plants and the erotic sculptures were points of interest!

Nice story
Jihad B [TA], , Beirut, Lebanon

The garden is nice and the house is nicer, I wish I was more informed ( so do before you go ) about Bevis and had more time at the house for a cup of tea and o let it all sink in.....

Worth a visit
10mungbea... [TA], , New Delhi, India

Beautiful tranquil gardens. Wonderfully quiet but for the bird sounds finished off by a tea and biscuit at the house all of which you can do at tour pace. Few tourists even at high season. Very much worth the Rps1000

Very nice
julians89... [TA], , Singapore, Singapore

I spent 2 hours inside the garden and this was a very different experience for me because i was mostly into dry areas in my first 2 weeks and this was very lush and green and wonderful. I can not imagine the effort put into create this masterpiece but surely worth checking out if you are heading this way.

Interesting garden in the jungle
Ken S [TA], , Alsager

Bevis Bawa was the brother of Geoffrey Bawa famous architect in Sri Lanka. The house is tucked away in thick vegetation and farms, (rice etc) about half an hour from the main road, maybe more. It is very interesting with different themes such as Italian garden english lawn and so on. If you book to go make sure the house is open, Bevis had an interesting collection of art and photos of famous visitors such as Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier Peter Finch.

Wonder of 20th century
Mathurage... [TA], , Colombo

What a landscape. He is a marvelous architect. I could not believe that this man was living in our life time. As I heard, he died in 1992 at his 84 year age. Nice area to visit. Must have a look atleast once.

Artistic history
Frangipan... [TA], , Hong Kong

It's wonderful to see the work of Sri Lankan artists in see where they lived and retreated, their artistic legacy and the lovely gardens. If you are interested in the artists of the mid 20th century, including Donald Friend, this is a delightful place. But a warning...the road is windy and bumpy and long. Phone to see if it is open before you arrive.

Quaint slightly eccentric place but worth a visit
Garry S [TA], , London, United Kingdom

Water moniter lizards and range of plants/trees/nice landscape.
A nice place to spend a couple of hours.

Bawa's best creation
tony h [TA], , London, United Kingdom

we were so luck to have quick visit before we catch our light to London. it was amazing design of the garden. i really like the view.

Rebecca M [TA], , Banbury, United Kingdom

I loved every bit of this garden and house. It was pouring hard with rain which simply added to the atmosphere. Lovely Family who now oversee the running of this special idyll. We were the only visitore when we went- would willingly go again- and again,.

Brief Garden
Grummy [TA], , Scotland

Amazing garden and house in the middle of the jungle with wonderful views lovely sculptures and lots of interesting little nooks and crannies to explore , great place to spend a morning.Interesting library and [hotographs in the house

Persistence rewarded, multifold
Lynnette5... [TA], , Hobart, Australia

Finding Brief is not easy, as testified by other reviewers, but every uncertain turn on the ever narrowing roads is rewarded from the moment you walk through the arched gate. The 1000 rupee entrance fee (which helps to maintain the gardens to the traditional standard established under Bevis Bawa) is a tourist bargain. We were free to roam at our leisure and spent nearly 3 hours exploring the gardens and house. The tea spontaneously provided was an unexpected and lovely bonus, as was the tour of the house and historic features. As Australians, we were especially interested in the sculptures and art work of Donald Friend who lived at Brief for several years. His mural of Sri Lankan life, painted on the wall of the main room, was fascinating. The wonderful hospitality of the current owners, the de Silva family, who have enjoyed a long connection to Brief dating back to the Bawa era, the extraordinary beauty and layoutvof the gardens and the tranquility of the setting made Brief the most memorable experience of our Sri Lankan trip. Better signposting and promotion would encourage more visitors I am sure.

BRIEF rather too brief
vayudoot [TA], , Pune

As an antidote to the hedonistic beaches of southern Sri Lanka, we decided to go inland and explore the attractions that lay within. A visit to the Brief Garden associated with Bevis Bawa (1909-1992) older brother of the more famous Geoffrey Bawa, the renowned architecht,seemed to be just what the doctor ordered. The road trip to the location once one left the main Galle Road at Bentota and traversing narrow rural roads and ups and downs was itself a challenge as there was virtually no signposting. When we finally reached it, the imposing entrance to Brief ( named after the association with lawyers holding briefs)with its ivy covered walls and cement sculptures standing guard over the iron gate was startling.Another shock was the steep entrance fees - Rs 1000SLK per head - which was collected at the door after which we were sheperded into the gardens to find our way about while an earlier Sunday meeting of a local association concluded its tea party.
The gardens are the real star of the show, and despite the size having been reduced to just five acres, one could visualise the arboreal grandeur that must have existed in its full majesty.
A botanist-guide who knew the trees and the manner in which they came to be would have been appreciated. We finally were admitted to the main house - just about a hour to closing time - and got a rather canned conducted tour where the guide repeated himself several times.
The architecture and the imprint of Barbara Sansoni and Donald Friend,the Australian artist during his five-year stay there in the 1950s are absorbing to explore,The sculptures , paintings, courtyards, open air showers and fountains all made their own quiet statements.
One could have lingered more but closing hour beckoned and a cuppatea - which sadly never came - would have befitted the admission ticket and the host.

Worth a visit
GagzD [TA], , Chennai (Madras), India

Being an architect loved visiting the house and the gardens. Well designed.Worth a visiting to see both the residence and the landscape.A unique view of the house of an architect himself.

Unexpected paradise
DimitryK [TA], , Vinnitsa

One does not expect to see anything like this in a Sri Lankian village. It's stunning from the entrance gate till the last step, a magical mix of tropical nature, Ancient Greece, South Asia, a song to life, beauty, love and loss..
And the park's manager deserves special mention for his intelligent tour through the park and museum with respect and devotion to the beautiful place and its great creator.

Wonderful visit
ennio36 [TA], , Rome, Italy

The Brief Garden was the house of the writer/artist Bewis Bawa,brother of the architect Geoffrey Bawa,a visit is a full immersion into a silent,beautiful paradise, lovely trees,flowers,well kept lawns,walled gardens.The house is full of old fashoned,colonial charme,nice drawings,statues by Geoffrey and a beautiful murale by Donald Friend,an Australian artist,nice collection of old photographs as well.The manager is gentle and invites you for tea when you visit the house.
They offer also accomodation which must be a wonderful experience!

A Dream Garden
Weybridge... [TA], , Surrey

Brief Garden is beautiful - if you are staying in or near Bentota you should try and make a visit. Created by Bevis Bawa, the celebrated landscape artist - it is like entering paradise with beautiful lawns, walled gardens and a pond. There is also an intresting house to visit with an art gallery and photographs of celebrities. Make sure you put on lots of insect repellant otherwise you may get bitten as you walk round the garden. The staff are very welcoming.

all about good taste
AnnaAnton [TA], , St. Petersburg, Russia

One of the Bewis brothers has created this house and garden. Both house and garden are an example of a perfect taste, mix of colonial and modern architecture, well kept and deserted. In the garden you walk alone buth the house visit is guided.
Entrance is 1000 Rupees. It's impossible to find the place without a local driver. And i's a pity that they have no merch like postcards, books etc. I'd love to buy something in this style.

jeffrey bawas garden
davroNune... [TA], , nuneaton

took a tuk tuk ride here and walked around for two hours in beautiful well kept gardens,really is a solitary place we were the only visitors at that time,wonderful!!!!

Worth a trip
traveller... [TA], ,

The gardens are not large, but they are interesting.

Charlie E [TA], , Mount warning

All great!!!!!!
Enjoyed very much
The gardens are spectacular & the house is amazing

beautiful gardens and scenery
mantravel [TA], , Manchester, United Kingdom

Had a nice afternoon here. The tuk tuk ride to the gardens is beautiful in itself. The gardens are obviously well cared for and really relaxing. Little guided tour at the end, of the house. There seemed to be a little cafe for tea outside but i didnt bother with this. All in all a nice place to pass an hour or two.

If you stay at Lunuganga you will be interested in seeing GHeoffrey Bawa's older brother's garden a taxi ride away.
Boulbon [TA], , LONDON

It is another of the great gardens of Sri Lanka.

Exlent and butiful garden...
TukTukSan... [TA], , Bentota

Very great place to visit and must to see the bungalow Mr: Bave. Me and my friend are very happy to see it. We were with tuk-tuk was great travel for a day.

Kaixer_B [TA], , Karachi, Pakistan

A must visit - the estate of bawis bawa is a sight to see -

a peek into the decadent indulgence of Bevis Bawa
Indra R [TA], , Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

this is a beautiful garden that allows you to explore at your pace and ponder the goings on of a by gone era + the life of the indulgent Bevis Bawa

Brief by name, long on beauty.
johannaau... [TA], , australia

A most lovely garden to wonder through, with small garden rooms, rambling walks and lovely steps through the centre of the garden.
Different to Lunaganga, which is more architectural in design.
The present owner of the garden was a genial and knowledgeable host, and afternoon teas were included.
It was a delight to walk through the home, and we both travelled from Australia to see this garden, and it was well worth it.

If you like gardens then make the effort to see this.
worktotra... [TA], , Perth, Australia

This was a little out of the way but the driver got us there eventually and after wandering around the gardens we had a little tour of the house followed by morning tea.

Well worth a visit
yasumides... [TA], , Toronto, Canada

I'd never heard of Bawa before this trip, but staying in a property he designed I was interested to see where he used to live. This is well worth a visit to get further into the mind of an extremelly talented artist. He has many properties around Sri Lanka and i could quite happily say i am now a big fan of his style. Ask for a cup of tea before you leave!

Excellent tour
EE_on_the... [TA], , East Anglia, UK

Very long unmade track to get to the gardens - giving suspension a hard time. Beautiful planting and house design/setting and a very well-informed guide who provided much colour about Bevis' life and interests....

"worth to visit"
Joachim97... [TA], , Munich, Germany

we went to brief garden by tuk tuk from bentota. we could reach that place within 15 minutes.
Garden and home wort to visit. There is many antique goods and fascinating old photographs and some important artworks.

tropic treasure
Claudia09... [TA], , Munich, Germany

beautiful, like paradise, amazing collection, bawa must have been a very cool guy.

Quirky Hideaway
Roobard99... [TA], , Manchester, United Kingdom

An amazing house and garden well away from the main attractions. The approach road was VERY poor - you'll get shaken up quite badly. However, the walk around the gardens (mainly jungle plants rather than flowers) and the tour of the house are great. Entrance fee was 1000 Rupees (about £6)

Great excursion from Bentota
happysail... [TA], , Manchester, United Kingdom

If staying in Bentota for any length of time then this is a very pleasant half day excursion. You enter the grounds and are told to wander around the gardens. These are extensive and rather wild but very interesting with lots of shade and pleasant places to sit and enjoy. When you are ready you are taken for a tour of part of the house. Again very interesting and being served tea on the veranda by the owner is quite entertaining. Several erotic statues around the gardens add interest - most unusual.

Just another exciting place near Bentota!
Koni21 [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

Bevis Bawa, the brother of Geoffrey Bawa has created a peacefu oasis. The gardens and the house are overwhelming! The guide is famous and will lead you through this wonderfu property!

A lovely way to spend a morning in Bentota
DexUk [TA], , UK

A 20 minute drive in a three wheeler takes you to the Brief Garden. The drive itself is interesting as it takes you off the beaten track. The Brief Garden and House are fascinating, and we were served a lovely cup of tea at the end of our tour.

A Brief and memorable diversion
baliboy_1... [TA], , Melbourne, Australia

We had already visited Lunuganga, the nearby gardens and home of Geoffrey Bawa, before we came to Brief, the home and gardens of his older brother, Bevis.
Whilst not as famous, nor as vast as Lunuganga, Brief is an interesting place to visit if you wish to get an insight of the lifestyle of the well-heeled Sri Lankan demi-monde.
The home itself is a beautiful old plantation house that Bevis Bawa improved and still contains beautiful antiques, fascinating old photographs and some important artworks - most particularly a wonderful (albeit somewhat time ravaged) mural by the Australian artist Donald Friend, who came to visit Brief for a week and stayed for 5 years. When you see the gardens you can understand why. Brief may not be as grand as Lunuganga, but it is equally as likeable and the staff member who showed us around the house was extremely knowledgable and generous with his time.

you should see there..
free78 [TA], , Doha, Qatar

It is the best place I saw in Sri Lanka...It is an old house belong to Bewis Bawa..I did not know who he was before I went...His house and especially garden worth to see..

Interesting visit, excellent English speaking guide
KatePhilB... [TA], , Birmingham

We went on a dull, damp. day and were bitten badly by Mosquitos. You were left to wander around the gardens at your leisure and then we had a tour of the house with an excellent speaking guide. The history of the place and Bevis Bawa's life were really interesting. We were served tea before we left which was a lovely touch. However there is no comparison to the magnificent gardens of his brother Geoffrey Bawa.

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