Book with confidence: click here to find out all the information needed to book your package - financial protection, FAQs and much more ▶

Summary: Sri Lanka turned out to be an epic tour for the Barmy Army, both on and off the field. 

Before this tour, all the talk had been about the controversy over seat ticket prices. By the end, the focus was firmly on what a brilliant trip it had turned out to be on and off the field.

They say the more things change, the more they stay the same, and that was certainly true of some aspects of the trip; the main rooms at the Sydney Hotel in Galle may have had a makeover, but other parts remained like something out of an Indiana Jones film. The Toilet of Doom is still there.

Out on the field, however, everything was new. The last time England came to Sri Lanka and won every Test was in 1982, 13 years before the Barmy Army was born, it was a one-off game with the home side making their Test debut.

After years of struggling through a trial by spin on this beautiful but outrageously hot island, we could now revel in the sight of England's spinners outbowling the home side, and of our batsmen literally sweeping away the threat of the home team.

The best part of it all was that this was another great team display. The much-maligned Keaton Jennings made his highest Test score and caught everything. Joe Root scored perhaps his best Test hundred in Pallekele. Ben Stokes played the enforcer role to perfection with the ball. Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid and Jack Leach were a deadly trio in a series so dominated by spin that slow bowlers took 100 wickets - a record in a three-match series.

Ben Foakes was the biggest revelation of all with his superb century on debut and lightning glovework. And if anyone thought Jonny Bairstow was just sitting around sulking after losing his place behind the stumps after his football injury, he proved everyone wrong by coming back in Colombo and filling the problem position with a century. That's why we all want ginger hair too.

It was small wonder Joe Root was left talking about the strides forward the team has made. Those on tour in Bangladesh and India two years ago will have seen England's improvement in this part of the world, while the contrast between this winter and the struggles in Australia and New Zealand last year will have helped put to bed suspicions that England can't bowl teams out with a Kookaburra ball.

Fans will now be working out how England can get to number one. If India lose by one Test in Australia and England can secure a two-Test winning margin in the West Indies, then take the Ashes back by a margin of three Tests, we will be on top of the pile.

That may sound a steep challenge, but England have now won eight of their last nine Tests.

For now, however, everyone can fly home for Christmas with a sackful of exotic presents for the family - Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage notebooks made from recycled elephant dung are bound to be well-received - as well as a treasure trove of memories. From the view on Galle Fort to the lush hill country around Pallekele, from the fresh fruit to Lion Beer, Sri Lanka has once again been a treat to visit. And this time, it has been as good on the field as off it.