Find the nearest Lighthouses
Lighthouses may now be automated but they still provide a critically important service to shipping. Our Lighthouse category brings all Coast Radar’s listings related to lighthouses together, where most are positioned also in stunning and often rugged coastal landscapes.
Finding the best things to see and do on a day out with your family or friends is easy – simply explore the lighthouse links below, hit the jump to my location button or use the search bar to plan your next UK and Ireland activity.
- Kinnaird Head Lighthouse was the very first lighthouse on mainland Scotland and Kinnaird Head now has two lighthouses:The first lighthouse was built in 1787 within the existing 16th-century castle tower. In 1824 a new stone tower was constructed within the castle. The current is a fibreglass automated light that stands beside the original. The original lighthouse is now The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses and has guided tours with displays that tell the story of the Northern Lighthouse Board, the engineers who built the lights and the keepers who looked after them.
- Sark is the smallest of the Channel Islands, and, despite being Crown Property, is ruled by a Seigneur (feudal lord of manor). It is a mere 3 miles long and 2 miles wide, the north and south parts being almost separate islands joined only by a narrow strip of land. The white, octagonal tower of the lighthouse rises from the flat roofed service rooms and dwellings, the whole complex clinging to the steep face of the cliff which rises high above. The only means of access to the lighthouse is a flight of steps down from the top of the cliff. The buildings, which are made of stone and surrounded by a high retaining wall, are of the sort usually found at onshore stations however Sark is classed as a rock lighthouse. The main function of the station is to guide vessels, passing through the Channel Islands, away from the pinnacle of Blanchard Rock.
- Beachy Head is sited about 165 metres seawards from the base of the cliffs. It is said that as early as 1670 a light shone to guide passing vessels from the top of the cliffs at Beachy Head, the 90 metres high seaward termination of the Sussex Downs. In 1828 James Walker erected Belle Toute Lighthouse, a 14 metre high circular tower, on the headland. This remained in operation till 1899 when it was abandoned due to being frequently shrouded in mist and threatened with collapse because of recurrent falls of chalk from the cliff. In 1902 under the direction of Sir Thomas Matthews, the Trinity House Engineer-in-Chief, the present lighthouse was brought into service, sited about 165 metres seawards from the base of the cliffs. It took two years to complete and involved building a coffer-dam and a cableway from the top of the cliffs to carry materials down to the site. 3,660 tons of Cornish granite were used in the construction of the tower. More details: www.trinityhouse.co.uk
- Smeaton’s Tower is the third and most notable Eddystone Lighthouse built in 1759. It marked a major step forward in the design of lighthouses. The lighthouse was in use until 1877, whern it was dismantled and rebuilt on Plymouth Hoe in the city of Plymouth, where it now stands as a memorial to its designer, John Smeaton, the celebrated civil engineer.
- Alderney Lighthouse was built in 1912 in order to act as a guide to passing shipping and to warn vessels of the treacherous waters around the Isle. It is sited on Quénard Point, to the north-east of the Island. The Alderney Race, a notorious strait of water between Alderney and Cap de la Hague in France includes the strongest tidal streams in Europe. These are caused by the tidal surge from the Atlantic building up in the cul de sac of the gulf of St Malo with the only escape in the north east corner between Alderney and Cap de la Hague. Water flows through at speed at high tide and is sucked back down through as the tide recedes. An uneven sea bed adds to the turbulance with a number of hazardous rocks located within a few miles of the lighthouse. Alderney has a visitor centre but opening is restricted.
- For over 80 years the small unmanned lighthouse at Bamburgh has given a guide to shipping in passage along the coast as well as to vessels in the waters around the Farne Islands. Bamburgh Lighthouse was built in 1910 and extensively modernized in 1975. The dangers of the North East coast have long since been noted, although no warnings or safety precautions were apparently employed until the late 18th century. The turbulence of the waters, however, can be matched by the turbulence of the area’s history. The Bamburgh area, and Bamburgh Castle, in particular, has played an important role in English history since the occupation of the site by the Romans. Only 20 miles from the border Bamburgh Castle was once captured by the Scots and has also been fought over by the Danes and the Kings of Mercia and Northumbria.
- At the mouth of the Bristol Channel lies the Island of Lundy. It is a rugged mass of dark granite, surrounded by reefs of sharp rocks that make an approach to the island difficult to the unknowing sailor. Measuring about 3½ miles in length by ¾ mile in width the island has some 20 miles of dangerous coastline. The North Lighthouse is set on a narrow plateau, on the cliffs large colonies of guillemots, razor bills and herring gulls make their nests whilst on the rocks below Atlantic seals take refuge.
- At the end of Berry Head, beyond the coastguard station, is the lighthouse, which forms part of the chain of south coast beacons. The lighthouse, which was built in 1906, was converted to unwatched acetylene operation in 1921 and modernised and converted to mains electricity in 1994. It came to be known as the smallest, highest and deepest light in the British Isles – the tower is diminutive, requiring no further elevation than that given by the headland itself, and the optic was originally turned by the action of a weight falling down a 45m deep shaft, now made redundant by a small motor.
- Whitby Lighthouse protected the busy Whitby harbour. The harbour at Whitby is still the base for the town’s fishing fleet and it was from here that Captain Cook set out in the ENDEAVOUR on his voyage of discovery to Australia in 1768. With high cliffs and fine beaches extend to Ravenscar around Robin Hood’s Bay from Whitby and the area is popular with holiday-makers.
- South Bishop Lighthouse (also known as Emsger) is situated on a outcrop of rock in St George’s Channel 4¾ miles south west of St David’s Head, Pembrokeshire. The lighthouse was built in 1839 and acts primarily as a waymark for vessels navigating offshore and secondly to assist vessels navigating around the Bishops and Clerks.