Introduction to the area; Bala and Penllyn in the Welsh lake district
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. Officially, Penllyn comprises Bala and the parishes of Llanuwchllyn, Llanycil, Llandderfel and Llangower (see map below). But there are many other market towns and villages and hamlets in the area, including Llanfor, Cefnddwysarn, Sarnau, Glanrafon, Llangwm, Cynwyd, Llandrillo, Corwen, Frongoch, Rhyduchaf and Parc. Penllyn is a mountainous, rural area with strong traditions based on the Welsh language and culture.
The Welsh Lake District has many lakes and tarns - the main lakes include Bala Lake (Llyn Tegid), Lake Vyrnwy (Llyn Efyrnwy), Llyn Celyn and Llyn Brenig. The fast-flowing rivers Tryweryn and Dee provide opportunities for fishing, canoeing and rafting. To the east of Bala Lake is the Penllyn Forest with opportunities for walkers and mountain bikers to explore. The mountains rival those of other parts of Snowdonia but are not as crowded, enabling walkers to enjoy the mountain experience. The main mountain ranges are the Aran, Arenig and Berwyn mountain ranges, while Cader Idris and the Rhinogs (Rhinogydd) are not far away. For the motorist or “hard-core” cyclists there are several quieter roads over mountain passes, over 1,000 ft high, including Bwlch y Groes (1,800ft/545m) once used to test cars.
Bala & Penllyn is an excellent location to experience Welsh culture and for visiting the Snowdonia National Park and both Mid-Wales and North-Wales. There is something for everyone, including families, romantic couples and outdoor enthusiasts. In addition to the unrivalled outdoor facilities there are nearby: beaches, nature reserves, bird sanctuaries, gardens, castles, mines, museums, visitor centres, and several railways.