Town:Bala & Penllynadd to shortlist

Bala Lake

Bala Lake

Bala Lake


LL23 7AD



Bala & Penllyn is situated in the Snowdonia National Park, Wales, in an area known as the Welsh Lake District. The area has dramatic scenery with mountains almost touching 3,000 ft high, deep valleys, fast flowing streams, rivers, waterfalls, forests and many lakes. Visitors can enjoy the Bala & Penllyn area or use it as an excellent base to explore both Mid-Wales and North Wales including Snowdonia.

Bala is a small, historic, market town that provides all the essential services for visitors including: banks, a post office, supermarkets and shops selling local produce including two traditional butchers and delis with Welsh and international products. Both butchers have won many awards and including the best butcher in Wales. There are, of course, cafes, restaurants, pubs and Inns, catering for a range of tastes, either in Bala or nearby. Penllyn is the area around Bala with many small towns and villages each with their own character and history.

Afon Tryweryn which is fed by Llyn Celyn that runs through Bala is world renowned as a white water kayaking river. Leading canoe organisations hold national and international events there every year and the National Whitewater Centre has its home at 'Canolfan Tryweryn' in Bala.

Local visitor attractions and activity centres in the area include the Bala Lake Railway and Mary Jones World.

Bala Lake, or Llyn Tegid, is over four miles long and a mile wide at it's widest point, making it the largest natural lake in Wales. It is an important home for the rare 'gwyniad' fish - a species that became trapped in the lake at the end of the last Ice age some 10,000 years ago. It is a member of the whitefish family, and is only found in Llyn Tegid. The lake takes its name from Tegid Foel, a character in the Mabinogi, the collection of early native Welsh tales, in which he is the husband of Ceridwen the enchantress.

Bala was founded by Royal Charter around 1310 by Roger de Mortimer of Chirk Castle. He was keen to establish the town as a means to taming the rebellious 'Quakers' of the Penllyn district near to Bala. The town we see today is largely that built as a result of Roger de Mortimer street layout, which marked out a series of square courts in the 14th century. The main street running through the town known as 'Stryd Fawr' being the exception. This was the place where markets were held, and continues to provide the civic focus in the town.

One of the earliest structures is the Tower of Bala or 'tomen', a tumulous or moat hill formerly thought to mark the site of a Roman camp. Other notable structures and buildings include the large stone built Calvanistic Methodist theological college 'Coleg y Bala' and the grammar school, founded in 1712. A statue of the Rev Thomas Charles (1755 - 1814) is also a key feature in the town. He was a renowned theological writer credited largely with the foundation of the British and Foreign Bible Society.

During the 18th century, Bala was known as one of the leading centres for the manufacture of flannel, stockings, gloves and hosiery. Many people in Bala made their living as 'knitters'. Almost everyone knitted socks and generated income from selling them at the popular 'knitters market' which helped to make Bala's name further afield. Today, the main local industries are farming and tourism.

Baby changing facilitiesCash PointCoach parties acceptedCredit cards accepted (no fee)Disabled toiletsGift shopOn-site cateringOn-site light refreshmentsPostboxPublic toilets

Mobility Accessibility Facilities

Park & Display Car Parks:The Green LL23 7NG; Stryd y Plase LL23 7SW.




LL23 7AD

Location and nearby places


Plan route to Bala and Penllyn using Google mapsPlan route using Google maps

Map reference: SH 926359  Lat: 52.91033 Long: -3.59841


A5 west from Llangollen, then A494.

By Bus: T3 Bus Service: Barmouth-Dolgellau-Llanycil-Bala-Wrexham

Public Transport Information Service:

Parking: with charge

Accessible by Public Transport: 21 miles from Blaenau Ffestiniog station


  • Baby changing facilitiesBaby changing facilities
  • Cash PointCash Point
  • Coach parties acceptedCoach parties accepted
  • Credit cards accepted (no fee)Credit cards accepted (no fee)
  • Disabled toiletsDisabled toilets
  • Gift shopGift shop
  • On-site cateringOn-site catering
  • On-site light refreshmentsOn-site light refreshments
  • PostboxPostbox
  • Public toiletsPublic toilets
  • Mobility Accessibility FacilitiesMobility Accessibility Facilities

Park & Display Car Parks:The Green LL23 7NG; Stryd y Plase LL23 7SW.

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