In her excellent guest post for Visit Snowdonia, Mel Williams of the Bala and Penllyn Tourism Association talks about all the fun activities available for families in the Bala and Penllyn area.
When you visit the Bala and Penllyn area of Snowdonia with children, no doubt you’ll want to know how to keep your little ones entertained while you enjoy the more adult activities, like admiring the beautiful scenery.
If you’ve ever thought that there can’t be much for kids to enjoy in the area – you’d be very wrong! There’s actually a huge number of very child-friendly activities in the Bala area, as you’re about to find out…
The Tourism Association has been developing a website and a new trails portal for the area. Part of this work includes some trails for all abilities, including pushchairs and bicycles.
We’ve also developed a ‘Tegi Bach Treasure Hunt’ for the town centre. This trail is for children accompanied by their parents. Tegi Bach is extremely cute and is the son of our Bala Lake monster! We have window stickers in various shops throughout the town and there are clues to be found – stickers to be stuck onto the map and a certificate and colour sticker at the end of the trail. The map is available as a download from www.gobala.org or is available in shops and the Tourist Information Centre (TIC). This is proving to be great fun for families and it gets our visitors into the shops and cafes too.
I have also created a game – ‘Llyn Tegid Eels and Footprints’ – which is available from the TIC and is available in PDF format.
There are great walks in the area which would be great for kids wanting an adventure, including caves, woods and nature to discover.
The shore of Bala Lake is very shallow at the Bala end, so it’s ideal for paddling (it’s recommended that children wear water shoes, as it’s very stony). The lake is great for children’s inflatable boats, but also for hiring boats, canoes, sailboards and so on.
We have a wonderful Lake Warden who is a mine of information on wildlife here, and there are audio trails to listen to on the walks – the kit is available from the Warden’s office. Throughout the summer our sports development officer does sport with the local children and visitors alike on a Saturday.
Bala Leisure Centre offers great accessibility to the water and it isn’t too deep. It has a toddlers’ pool and also a water slide. There is also a soft play area.
We have a fabulous old fashioned cinema – it shows films Friday, Saturday & Wednesday – 7:30pm – Matinee – 2:30 Saturday. We still have a break in the middle of the film for ice-cream!
Bala Lake Railway
The Bala Lake Railway runs along the lake shore – it is a steam engine and it has some open carriages, and it toots and chuffs along with steam and soot! You can even take your bikes on board if you wish to have an adventure and cycle one way and return on the train. En route there is a brilliant stop off point in Llangower – here you will find a secluded beach with picnic tables and wonderful old trees with roots to wonder at. There are loos and a car park too.
National White Water Centre
The National White Water Centre is just up the road. Here, families with older children can ride the rapids. This is very exciting and qualified guides are on hand to supervise activities.
The Bala Angling Association encourages young people to fish, and a day ticket is only £2.50 for children. You can hire rods in the town.
There are so many exciting things to do in the area, it’s difficult to list them all in one article! I encourage visitors to explore further, and do a little research before visiting. Here are some links that will help you do just that.
This is just a brief snapshot of the area for children – there is so much more once you are here. 80% of the population speak Welsh here, so there is a lot of fun to be had just trying to decipher how to say the words and having a go a speaking Welsh in the shops. Bala is a unique town still, with independent shops, including shops selling chocolates made in Bala – chocolate sheep poos! Butchers that put together family BBQ packs, fresh produce from the grocers, shops selling toys, gifts and wellies for splashing on those rainy days. Great fun for the children! Bala is a little oasis miles from the nearest town. I love it here – I think you will be able to tell!
About the author
My name is Mel Williams and I am the Chair of Bala & Penllyn Tourism Association. I love telling people about Bala and Penllyn – ‘the warm heart of Wales’!