Bala Lake Railway

The station at Llanuwchllyn
Bala High Street

Bala is a little town at the northern end of Bala Lake, whose Welsh name, Llyn Tegid, probably means "the fair lake". If you are lucky enough to get there on a calm, sunny, summer's day, you will agree that the lake is well-named.

The lake is the largest body of water in Wales - and was made even larger by the engineer Thomas Telford, who raised the level to ensure a constant supply of water for his canal which begins at Llangollen. It is a pleasant spot for sailing or canoeing and there are two boating clubs in the town which oversee such activities.

The town goes back to Norman times and possibly even to Roman times, for the Tomen, a large artificial mound just off the High Street and the basis for a Norman motte and bailey castle, is believed to be raised on the site of a Roman camp.

It is chiefly famous in Wales for the Welsh Presbyterian theological college on the outskirts and for the Rev Thomas Charles (1755-1814) who was the minister here when 15 year old Mary Jones from Llanfihangel-y-Pennant walked 25 miles to Bala to buy a Welsh Bible. Thomas Charles later used that experience to found the British and Foreign Bible Society, now more simply the Bible Society. His statue stands in the High Street.

There are numerous tourist attractions in the area, and we feature two of them: the Bala Lake Railway which has a station just outside Bala; and Gerddi Caerau or Caerau Gardens, located in nearby Sarnau.