Lighthouses were created out of a necessity to protect passing ships travelling to UK ports and harbours. The very first used large open fire metal baskets, although were some earlier examples of lanterns being lit on the cliff tops.
What we recognise today as a lighthouse is a tall tower with a system of lamps and lenses. This design has gone through many iterations, starting as wood then moving on to stone construction and now fully automated with no need to have lighthouse keepers.
New modern lighthouses are usually illuminated by a single stationary flashing light powered by solar or generator charged batteries mounted on a steel skeleton tower.
Visiting UK Lighthouses
So why visit a lighthouse?
To us, it comes down to location, location, location! If you think about it, lighthouses were created to warn shipping travelling to ports of reefs and promontories. Although we have these new modern lighthouses the original lighthouses are part of the UK’s heritage and many are protected listed buildings in some of the UK’s most spectacular coastlines.
Not many lighthouses actually allow access although a few do have visitor centres and some have the lighthouse keeper cottages turned into holiday accommodation.
Lighthouses with visitor centres:
- Flamborough Head Lighthouse, East Yorkshire
- Lizard Lighthouse, Cornwall
- Longstone Lighthouse, Northumberland
- Nash Point Lighthouse, Vale of Glamorgan
- Portland Bill Lighthouse, Dorset
- South Stack Lighthouse, Isle of Anglesey
- Southwold Lighthouse, Suffolk
- Start Point Lighthouse, Devon
Some lighthouses are no longer operational and are in the care of the National Trust but many more also sit on coastline managed by the National Trust.
UK Lighthouse List
Below you can see our full list of UK lighthouses:
We need to be cautious when visiting as the current lighthouses still in operation are private property owned and operated by the Corporation of Trinity House and form part of a larger network of nearly 600 visual, audible, electronic, fixed and floating aids to navigation.