Pen Y Bont
It's not hard to see why Pen Y Bont in Bala is one of North Wales' most enduringly-popular campsites. For starters, there's the location. Bala is the gateway to the epic Snowdonia National Park, meaning campers couldn't be better placed to explore this mightily mythical mountain range. Bustling Bala not only boasts Wales' largest natural lake, it is also the place to partake in the country's healthy outdoorsy culture, with a wealth of white-water and gorges galore. And while the 6 acre site has ample space for close to 100 tents and caravans, it somehow manages to be cosily intimate. The vibe is relaxed (easy-going owners Cate and Pete wouldn't have it any other way) with a nice mixture of couples, families and dedicated outdoor types. But not content with being one of North Wales' best tent n' tourers campsite, Cate and Pete have added the Wishingwood Gypsy Caravans to their already sterling set up.
Masterly crafted, these traditional ‘bow top’ gypsy caravans are beautifully adorned with antique features (plus a few modern touches) and authentic decor. There is a pull out double bed with and any mod-cons you don't have with you can be easily arranged by Cate and Pete. It's a little touch of luxury with antiquated charm – the perfect setting for that romantic retreat in the Welsh mountains.
Onsite facilities won't leave you wanting. Navigate your way around the cherry blossom-lined pathways and Celtic wood carvings to the ablutions block (immaculately clean and maintained) and onsite shop (well-stocked with everything you're likely to need, plus a few extra artisan treats).
If the north of this proud nation is perhaps the 'most Welsh', than Bala is the Welshest of the Welshest. Be sure to visit this vibrant market town to learn the local legends and stock up on barra brith – the perfect fuel for tackling those impending peaks.
Small number of fully serviced pitches available for touring caravans and motor homes and some electric pitches available for tents. Facilities block housing 10 toilets, 8 showers and 8 vanity units. Large family room with disabled access and a laundry. Small shop where you can buy camping supplies, gas, milk, bread, beans, etc as well as local handmade goodies.
Two traditional Romany gypsy caravans available to hire (each sleeping two). Both are equipped with double bed (with storage), electric kettle, cool box, mirror, electric heater and power sockets. Barbecue, firepit and picnic bench outside. Cooking den, stove & gas, table & chairs, pots, pans, utensils, etc available for hire. Camp fires permitted using compressed, sustainable wood which doesn’t spark - available from the shop. BBQ’s are fine as long as they are off the grass.
Campers, glampers, touring caravans, Motor Homes, VW’s, Tents, Trailer tents, dogs – yes. Pretty much everyone is welcome! Groups can be accommodated by prior arrangement in low season. Small dogs are allowed in the gypsy caravan.
Set in Snowdonia National Park, Bala is the perfect location for exploring the outdoors. There are a number of walks and cycle routes in the area for all abilities which boast spectacular views and an abundance of wildlife. For water sports enthusiasts, Bala Sailing Club (01678 520118) is situated just 100 yards from the site. Boats, canoes, windsurfers and kayaks can be hired from Bala Watersports Centre (01678 521059) only a 15 minute walk away. For something a little more sedate, the Bala Lake Railway (01678 540666) is a lovely way to soak up the scenery. You can hop on the charming old steam locomotive just around the corner. Just three miles away, the National White Water Centre (01678 521083) boasts world-class white water rafting on the Afon Tryweryn. The Get Wet Adventure Company (07909 768 950) specialises in gorge walking, paint balling and high ropes. The Lake Vyrnwy RSPB nature reserve (01691 870278) is a twitcher's paradise and boasts stunning views over the Berwyn Mountains. The beaches of Porthmadoc and Barmouth are about a half an hour drive away. The National Slate Museum (029 20573700), Electric Mountain (01286 870636), Centre for Alternative Technology (01654 705950) and King Arthur’s Labyrinth (01654 761584) are a short drive away and are a perfect day out for all the family.
Food & Drink
The onsite shop stocks milk, butter, cheese and eggs which are all sourced from the local area alongside all the basics for your cooking needs. They also sell delicious local handmade artisan chocolate. The local award-winning butcher delivers the finest locally-sourced BBQ meat to the site (for no extra cost). Bala has plenty of decent pubs. You'll find hearty fayre and a freidnly welcome at The Bryntyrion Inn (01678 530205). The Corn Mill (01978 869555) at Lllangollen is an atmospheric, timber-beamed restaurant with a sophisticated menu and stunning views over the rapids.
March – October.
Bala is only 1 hour from Chester, 1 ½ hours from Liverpool, Manchester and the Midlands – situated between Dolgellau and Corwen on the A494. From the A5 follow signs for the A494 to Bala. Once in Bala take the first right over the bridge and follow the B4391 for approx. ½ mile. The site entrance is the second right after passing the lake. If towing a caravan from the South it is advisable to follow the A5 not the sat nav as it will take you over the Berwyn Mountains!
The nearest train station is Wrexham General, which is 30 miles away. Public transport is limited in the area although there is a bus (X94) which runs regularly between Wrexham and Bala high street. It's then a leisurely ten to fifteen minute walk to the site.
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