Bala Lake, Wales, United Kingdom

Also known as:  Llyn Tegid

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Bala Lake.

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Bala Lake visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: United Kingdom - Wales - North Wales -

Bala Lake is nestled in the gentle rolling hills of North Wales and has stunning mountains resting in the background. The lake, called Llyn Tegid in Welsh, means Lake of Serenity, and Bala Lake’s beauty leaves its admirers feeling peaceful and rested. Bala Lake is a natural lake that was formed by melting glaciers.

The River Dee enters and exits Bala Lake, and both the river and lake are part of the River Dee Regulation System. Controlling the flow of the Dee River dates back to the early 19th century, when Thomas Telford constructed sluice gates at the outlet of Bala Lake to help support the flow of the Llangollen Canal, which was part of the Shoropshire Union Canal System. Llangollen Canal provided a way to transport goods across England and Wales. The 41-mile canal is now used for pleasure cruises that can take three or more days to travel from one end to the next. The original sluices on Bala Lake where bypassed in the 1950s, with new sluice gates constructed downstream from the lake exit at the confluence with the Afon Tryweryn River, thereby providing additional storage capacity. The River Dee Regulation System provides a continuous flow of water during the dry summer season and reduces flooding downstream in the Dee Valley during periods of heavy rain.

Bala Lake is rich in history and legend. The crystal clear waters of Bala Lake reflect the shoreline like a mirror image, and on bright moonlit nights it has been said that ancient ruins can be seen in the depths of the water. The towers and old buildings are believed to be the palace of King Tegid, who was the husband of Ceridwen, the mother of the famous poet of the Welsh language, Welsh bard Taliesin. Legend reports that Bala Lake was formed as a punishment of Tegid Foel (Tegid the Bald): One night while Prince Tegid and his companions made merry in Tegid’s mansion, all were drowned after the guards overlooked replacing a cover over a magic well that continually brought forth water. And to this day locals will tell visitors about a lake monster whom they believe inhabits Bala Lake. Not as well known as Nessie in Loch Ness, Bala Lake’s monster is affectionately called Teggie by the locals, and reports of sightings have been around since the 1920s.

A prevailing southwesterly wind blows through Bala Lake, making it the ideal lake for sailing and wind surfing. Other activities on Bala Lake include canoeing, kayaking, swimming and fishing. Anglers cast in their lines for European perch, pike, roach, grayling, trout and eel. Bed and breakfast, self-catering cottage rentals, and quaint hotels offer overnight accommodations around Bala Lake and provide lakeside views to awaken each morning. Other activities near Bala Lake include a riding steam trains on a narrow-gauge railway and whitewater rafting on the man-made lake called Llyn Celyn. Sightseers may also want to tour the town of Bala to see beautiful Georgian and Victorian homes, old Churches and the town castle.

Bala Lake and the surrounding lands are part of a protected wildlife site, located in the Snowdonia National Park, partly due to the presence of a rare European whitefish, called gwyniad fish, found only in Bala Lake. The gwyniad found in Bala Lake today are believed to be a spawn of the gwyniad fish that survived the end of the last Ice Age, over 10,000 years ago. The water quality of Bala Lake is slowing deteriorating, and efforts have been made to try to protect this old and special species of fish. Also, the introduction of a small aggressive fish called the ruffe in the 1980s has also affected the population of the gwyniad. The ruffe fish gather around the gwyniad spawning area and eat the eggs and young fish. Conservation of the gwyniad is a project of the Environment Agency Wales, Gwynedd County Council, Countryside Council for Wales and the Snowdonia National Park.

The Snowdonia National Park covers 838 square miles and is the second largest and second oldest National Park in England and Wales. Rugged highlands, beautiful green valleys, aged castles and quaint villages beacon tourists from all over the world. Bala Lake resides in the east of Snowdonia National Park and is the perfect starting point for a relaxing vacation or a perfect holiday.

Custom Bala Lake house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Bala Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Wind Surfing
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • National Park
  • Ruins

Fish species found at Bala Lake

  • Eel
  • Grayling
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Roach
  • Trout
  • Whitefish

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Bala Lake

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Bala Lake photo gallery

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Bala Lake statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Environment Agency Wales

Surface Area: 1,023 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 522 feet

Average Depth: 78 feet

Maximum Depth: 137 feet

Water Volume: 71,343 acre-feet

Drainage Area: 101 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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