Bala Things to Do

  • Outside the church building
    Outside the church building
    by suvanki
  • 67 High Street - Plaque
    67 High Street - Plaque
    by suvanki
  • Shop here.... or Else......
    Shop here.... or Else......
    by suvanki

Best Rated Things to Do in Bala

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    Signal Box

    by Myfanwe Written Aug 31, 2009

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    At Llanuwchllyn Station you can explore the original Great Western Railways signal box. This is an un-manned working signal box with a sign above the levers asking visitors not to touch.... a bit trusting if you ask me!!

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    Relax on the shores of Lake Bala

    by Myfanwe Updated Aug 31, 2009

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    At Llangower there is a lovely little pebble beach area where you can dip your toes in to Lake Bala, have a swim or just sit on the shores and admire the scenery. The Bala Steam Railway stops here, an ideal opportunity for a picnic if the weather's fine.

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    Watch the sun go down

    by Myfanwe Written Aug 31, 2009

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    Park up and enjoy the views of Lake Bala
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    There is a lovely little parking area at the Northern end of the lake which is a popular place in the daytime for picnics; in the evening you can park up and watch the sun disappear over the beautiful hills surrounding Bala.

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    Visit the Tourist Information Centre

    by Myfanwe Written Aug 31, 2009

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    The Tourist Information Centre is situated on the A494 at the Northern end of Bala Lake just before the town Centre. It has a good selection of leaflets and brochures to let you know what's in the area and an exhibition on Welsh Male voice Choirs. I was especially impressed with the wide range of merchandise sold in the shop, there was a good selection of camping equipment - even small tents and rucksacks. They also sold Welsh produce and the usual Welsh gifts.

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    Hire a Boat

    by Myfanwe Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Bala adventure and Watersports Centre is situated at the Northern end of the Lake. From here you can hire Kayaks, pedal boats, rowing boats and windsurfs although if these activities seem too strenuous you can book yourself on a boat trip around the lake. The Watersports Centre also run a series of taster courses and organised activities such as white water rafting, mountain biking and Gorge Walking. The prices for these activities range from £10 GBP to hire a Kayak for an hour to £180 GBP for a half day course entitled Powerboat level 2.

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    • Rafting
    • Windsurfing
    • Kayaking

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    Capel Tegid

    by Myfanwe Written Aug 31, 2009

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    Capel Tegid is situated just off the main Street of Bala. It was build in 1866 of Fron stone which was quarried from caverns still visible today at Craig Y Fron. The Chapel seats 1,000 people. The Statue in front of the Chapel is that of Thomas Charles (1755-1804). Thomas Charles was a Methodist minister, writer, publisher and a pioneer of the system of Sunday Schools in Wales. In 1804 a lady called Mary Jones walked bare foot, over 50 miles there and back, from Llanfihangel-y-Pennant, to collect a Bible. Thomas Charles had none left and took pity on Mary and gave her his own.

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    Bala Steam Railway

    by Myfanwe Written Aug 31, 2009

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    The Bala Lake Railway begins and ends in the pretty little village of Llanuwchllyn. The Railway station itself is adorned with beautiful flowers and many artefacts of years gone by. The train journey takes about 25 minutes each way and gives fantastic views of the lake and mountains surrounding Bala. You can hop off at Llangower station to enjoy the rocky shores of the lake or you can get off at Bala and take a 10 minute stroll into the town. All trains leave from the station of Llanuwchllyn where there is free car parking and a fantastic little cafe offering light refreshments and very nice cakes indeed.

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    The Mound - Tomen Y Bala

    by Myfanwe Written Aug 31, 2009

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    Tomen Y Bala is the remains of a Norman Castle mound or 'Motte'. It is now a well tended garden in which you can walk the circular path to the top and admire the great views of the town. There is a fantastic Oak tree growing out of the top of the Mound together with a flagpole flying the Welsh flag of course! You will also find an information board at the top of the Tomen giving an insight into what the Castle would look like in its' hey day.

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    Follow the waymarked trails to the Hills

    by Myfanwe Written Aug 31, 2009

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    Views of Bala lake and town
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    Bala has many public footpaths which are signposted with yellow arrows. It is always a good idea to have an OS map with you if you are not familiar with the area or just walk part of the way so you don't get lost. From the Bala Steam railway Station, if you walk over the footbridge this will lead you to a ladder type style, if you cross this and walk to the top of the field you will be rewarded with some lovely views of Bala town and the lake. You can take this footpath further into the hills by following the waymarked trails.

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    Walk along the shores of the Lake

    by Myfanwe Written Aug 31, 2009

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    Beautiful flowers at Lake Bala
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    From the Bala Watersports Centre there is a lovely little path which will take you alongside the lake where you'll find some beautiful wild flowers and trees which grow there. A ten minute stroll through this lovely area will take you to a main road where you'll find a series of benches overlooking the lake. If you're feeling energetic, carry on walking along the main road, cross the River Dee, and you will find the Narrow Guage railway station which will take you along the lake to the Pretty Village of Llanuwchllyn.

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    Our Lady Of Fatima - Parish Church

    by suvanki Written Aug 24, 2013
    Inside 'Our Lady of Fatima'
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    Bala, like many Welsh towns, has its fair share of chapels and churches - It always appears to me, that there is at least one place of worship for each public House! These are typically stone constructions, with towers and steeples visible from a distance.

    On the High Street is a church that might be passed by, un-noticed. Our Lady Of Fatima is worth a 'look - see' though imo!

    This church building dates back to 1609, and was once the 'Onen Inn' - a coaching inn, where travellers could eat/drink/sleep, while stables provided rest and food for the horses.
    The High Street developed over the years, along with the advent of motorised transport. The inn building was converted into a large dwelling house. The stables remained, but a cafe and Fish and Chip shop opened.

    By 1946, the building was up for sale, and Father James Koenen, a Dutch Dominican Priest, who along with his congregation had spent many years praying to Our Lady of Fatima for a church, saw that this was 'a sign' and 11 months later, work began to convert the stables into a place of worship.

    The Father decreed that the church be dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima, permission was granted from the Bishop of Menevia, and on 15th June 1948, the Church of Our Lady of Fatima opened - The first church outside of Portugal to be dedicated to her. It was also the first Catholic Church to open in the town since the Reformation.

    Look for the Portuguese influenced tiled plaque on the white washed wall of the High Street, (pic 4), then follow the sign for the church entrance, passing by a small statue on the wall of the driveway.

    Inside, the church is surprisingly light and modern, with a bright stained glass window.
    By the window is a near life size, attractive statue of Our Lady of Fatima. This was carved from oak, by a sculptor in Portugal, who also carved a statue in the Basilica of Fatima, Portugal
    The Bishop of Leira, blessed the statue, for all of those who were to come and pray in Bala,

    I found this interesting account of the history of the church etc in a leaflet at the back of the church, £1 donation.

    She arrived in Bala with pomp and ceremony, after having travelled from Portugal to Liverpool by boat. Arriving on 12th December 1948 at the docks, the statue was transferred to a lorry.
    The lorry was festooned with flowers, garlands, emblems and the Welsh and Portugese Flags.
    The journey to Bala became a pilgrimage, via Chester, Wrexham and Llangollen, with some walking all the way to the Welsh town, other pilgrims travelled in a 'cortege of white coaches'.

    Arriving in Bala, the pilgrims and others formed a procession, along the High Street to Number 67, where 'Our Lady' was welcomed with a Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

    Pilgrims continue to travel to Bala.

    In 2000, the church was extended, and a shrine was created, using local materials and labour etc.
    The Welsh slate extension etc was designed by Mike Watts from Blaenau Ffestiniog, he also inscribed the slate in Welsh and English. Ellis Gwyn Jones was responsible for building the shrine, while the stunning stained glass window was designed and constructed by Jen Bromham from Swansea, who is a Loreto Sister. The window represents one of the 'Miracles of Fatima' - the spinning sun.

    On 8th December 2000, a special service was held, with priests and hundreds of pilgrims travelling to Bala for the Blessing of the Shrine and a Celebratory Mass, where the statue was crowned by the then youngest member of the Parish.
    The rosary, seen on the statue (pic 2) was a gift from Pope John Paul 2nd to mark this occasion.

    I found this church and its history to be quite interesting. It had a peaceful air about it.

    Donations welcome for upkeep.

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    • Religious Travel
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    • Architecture

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    Check out the notices in this shop window

    by suvanki Updated Aug 24, 2013
    Shop here.... or Else......
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    Wandering around Bala, Vicki pointed out this shop window with its plethora of notices/adverts.

    Closer inspection revealed that these were 'a dig' at local competitors such as the Co-Op and Spar, or against Chinese produced tin openers, 'Imported water' and one against milk that isn't Proper Welsh Milk because the 'author' states that the milk travels OUT to England, then returns to Wales next day (after being processed and bottled etc) from Manchester, Tewkesbury and Leicester to Wales - Tomlinsons only sell milk that hasn't left Wales, So, Beware of bottles bearing 'Welsh' Dragons! No qualms about linking up with a large supplier of Chemical Toilet liquid, based in Lancs and offering a good discount.

    Well, I agree with the practice of purchasing local produce etc, and he (I'm guessing that it is a he - I have quite a picture in my mind of 'Mr Angry') has some 'good points' but.........Honestly,...... Eccentric?? .......Well in the interests of PC, I'll stop there ;-)

    The shop itself, like a few others in Bala is crammed with all manner of household goods, camping stuff, ironmongery ..... Fork Handles anyone? gardening gizmo's and all of those things that you didn't realise that you needed. A hint of moth balls and carbolic scents the air.

    I was hoping to encounter the 'notice writer', but the girl serving behind the counter looked quite placid - You never know though.....

    The shop didn't appear to have a name - Does anyone know different?

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    Follow the 'Town Trail'

    by suvanki Updated Aug 24, 2013
    Mari Jones Town Trail Route
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    Vicki had done this trail previously, and pointed out some of the sites and facts that she'd remembered. I'm afraid that the rain deterred us from straying too far, but there may well be a chance some other time.You can collect a map and short guide to the Town Trail, from The Bala Tourist Information Office, which is located at:
    Penllyn Leisure Centre
    Pensarn Road
    Bala
    LL23 7SR
    T: (01678) 521021 -
    Open April - September only.

    The Mari (Mary) Jones Trail follows a route around Bala, showing places of interest, including Bala Chapel (Tegid Capel), with its statue in front of Reverend Charles, one of the founders of the British Bible Society, or The British and Foreign Bible Society as it was originally called.

    The inspiration for this society was one Mari Jones, who aged 15 years, in 1800, walked barefoot from Llanfihangel-y-Pennant to Bala and back, a journey of around 50 miles, to purchase a bible from the afore mentioned Reverend. Her family was poor, and God fearing. Mary attended the local church, and became enthralled with the readings, Rev Charles set up a school near Marys' home, and she learnt to read and write here. She even got to read aloud from the Bible during Church Services, which led to her determination to own her own copy She'd saved her money for six years, by doing chores for people, to buy this bible. Reverend Charles was recognised as being the 'Go To Guy' for bibles, as he kept a small stock to sell.

    She set off on the walk to Bala, over mountain paths, across streams etc, without shoes, until she finally arrived at the home of Rev Charles. Now this is where versions conflict - After arriving tired and hungry, he a) sold her a Bible b) Had no Bibles left - all were sold or had been promised to others, but eventually, touched by her determination, sold her one that had been promised to someone else or c) Had no Bibles left, but eventually, touched by her determination, gave her his own copy.. Well, however she got her bible, it is now on display in The Bible Societies archives in Cambridge University.

    So, wondering how many others around the world were like Mari, determined to own their own Bible, He contacted the Council of the Religious Tract Society, with his proposition - To form a Society to supply people of Wales with Bibles. The British and Foreign Bible Society was established in London in 1804, Reverend Charles and William Wilberforce, being among the founder members

    There is a 28 mile Mary Jones Walk That starts in Llanfihangel-y-Pennant, ending in Bala in front of Barclays Bank, and the plaques to Rev Charles and Mari Jones.

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    Site of Bala Eisteddfod

    by suvanki Updated Aug 24, 2013
    Site of Bala Eisteddfod

    On our way to Bala town from the train station, Vicki pointed out this circle of stones behind a chain fence.
    These mark the site of the Bala Eisteddfod , which was held in 1967.
    the stones were placed here in 1966 as a sort of advertisement of the following years event.
    We'd already crossed the road, so didn't get a closer look.
    The latest Eisteddfod was held here in 2009.

    More info to follow soon!

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    • Festivals
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    Site of Norman Castle

    by suvanki Updated Aug 24, 2013
    The Mound
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    Again, during our walk from Bala train Station to the town centre, Vicki pointed out this place of interest - an old Oak Tree and flag sit on the mound that was the site of an old defence castle, dating back to Norman times.
    We could see it from the road, but got a better view after turning the corner onto the Bala to Dolgellau road after the old school restaurant

    We didn't get a closer look, as the rain was making its presence known, and we were heading for a warm cafe for refreshment and a chance to dry out.

    More info to follow shortly!

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    • National/State Park
    • Budget Travel
    • Castles and Palaces

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