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.
- Hurst Point Lighthouse guides vessels through the hazardous western approaches to the Solent, indicating the line of approach through the Needles Channel. Although it is said that a light was shown on Hurst Point as early as 1733, the first Trinity House record relates to a meeting of shipmasters and merchants in 1781 to approve the terms of a formal petition to Trinity House for lights in the neighbourhood of the Isle of Wight. As a result a patent was obtained in January 1782 which stated that “ships and vessels have been lost… and the lives, ships and goods of His Majesty’s subjects as well as the King’s Royal Navy continue to be exposed to the like calamities more especially in the night time and in hard southerly gales”. The patent directed that the lights should be “kept burning in the night season whereby seafaring men and mariners might take notice of and avoid dangers….. and ships and other vessels of war might safely cruise during the night season in the British Channel”. In 1785, negotiations with Tatnell fell through and Trinity House erected to the designs of R. Jupp three lighthouses at the Needles, St. Catherine’s Point and Hurst. The Hurst Tower, sited to the south west of the old Hurst Castle, was lit for the first time on 29th September 1786. In due course, however, shipping found that this light was obscured from certain directions and the Corporation constructed in 1812 an additional and higher light, both to remedy this defect and to give a guiding line to vessels. Extensive additions were made to the castle between 1865 and 1873 necessitating the repositioning of the lights. In 1866, a new lighthouse which was called the Low Light, was built to replace the old Hurst Tower. The new lighthouse consisted of a white circular granite tower with a red lantern. This light was replaced in 1911 with a new Low Lighthouse, a red square metal structure standing on a framework of steel joists attached to the wall of Hurst Castle. The 1812 High Lighthouse was also replaced in 1867 by the 26 metre tower which is still working today. A major modernisation of Hurst Point High Lighthouse was completed in July 1997. Prompted by the growth in volume and diversity of traffic using the Needles Channel and following extensive consultation with the marine community, high intensity projectors were installed on Hurst High Lighthouse. These are exhibited day and night to mark the channel between the Needles and the Shingles Bank.
- 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.
- The Old Beacon is a lighthouse located at Dennis Head, in the northeast of North Ronaldsay in the Orkney Islands. The lighthouse was built in 1789 by Thomas Smith and he was helped by his stepson Robert Stevenson, the lighthouse is an unpainted stone cylindrical tower at a height of 21 metres (69 ft). In 1809 it was decided that the North Ronaldsay light was no longer required. The round stone tower was retained as a sea-mark, with the original beacon chamber at the top replaced by a vaulted roof, capped by a ball finial. The stone spiral staircase which once led to the beacon was demolished and the original keepers’ houses, although roofless but largely complete, survive below the tower. Just 43 years later in 1852, a new lighthouse was built just to the north.North Ronaldsay does have a current lighthouse.
- Southwold Lighthouse is a coastal mark for passing shipping and guides vessels into Southwold Harbour. The lighthouse is situated near the centre of the seaside resort of Southwold, midway between Lowestoft and Orford, the round white tower stands amongst rows of small houses. Lighthouse has a visitor centre.
- North Ronaldsay Lighthouse was built in 1852 just 43 years after the Old Beacon was decommissioned. The lighthouse lies at the north of the island at Point of Sinsoss and is Britain’s tallest land-based lighthouse tower at 43 metres (141 ft). The lighthouse is a brick cylindrical tower that is unpainted with two white stripes. The lighthouse visitor centre includes a cafe, gift shop, bike hire, lighthouse exhibition, island life exhibition and the wool mill.
- Two circular towers were built each with massive walls and a stone gallery. The eastern, or high lighthouse being 37 metres high and the western or low lighthouse 25 metres high. Placed 302 metres apart they provided leading lights to indicate safe passage past the sandbanks. The high light was painted with black and white stripes and the low light was white. In those days both towers showed a fixed light which was either red or white depending on the direction from which a vessel approached. The red sector marked the Nash Sands. The low light was abandoned early this century and the high light was modernised and painted white. In place of the fixed light a new first order catastrophic lens was installed which gives a white and red group flashing. Nash is one of those lighthouses scattered around our coast that has no claim to fame. For over 160 years its light has done its job as a sign to mariners to keep them clear of danger, its sole distinction is the discovery in 1977 of the tuberous thistle (Cirsium Tuberosum), a rare plant, which was found growing around the lighthouse. Lighthouse has a visitor centre although opening times are restricted.
- Milford Haven has long been recognised by merchants and shipowners as one of Britain’s finest deep water harbours – it was from here that Henry II led his army into Ireland in 1172. Now large fleets of trawlers and oil tankers gather in the anchorage. At the approach to this famous port lie dangerous reefs just below the surface, almost in mid channel and in two groups through which shipping must pass. One of the greatest dangers lies some 7 miles south-east of St. Ann’s Head, this being the dreaded Crow Rock and Toes lying off Linney Head which have claimed many more vessels than the reefs within the harbour. Today, two usable channels are marked clearly by sets of leading lights, all vital to safe navigation.
- Start Point Lighthouse was built by Robert Stevenson and completed on 2 October 1806. This was the first Scottish lighthouse to have a revolving light and since 1915 has exhibited distinctive black and white vertical stripes which are unique in Scotland. The light was automated in 1962 and is powered by a bank of solar panels.
- The Calf of Man and its offshore rocks have four lighthouses. The original (1816/1818) two lights consisted of two circular stone towers with light keepers accommodation with the two towers, 560 feet apart, aligned to indicate a safe course past the dangerous Chicken Rock. The lights were discontinued in 1875 when the Chicken Rock light was established.
- New Brighton Lighthouse is also known as Perch Rock Lighthouse due to the name of the outcrop. The lighthouse, decommissioned in 1973, sits at the confluence of the River Mersey and Liverpool Bay. A light has been at this location since the late 1600’s but the construction of the lighthouse began in 1827 At low tide, it is possible to walk with care to the base of the tower.
- About 1722, the owners of ships passing certain dangerous “Rocks called the Casketts” off Alderney in the Channel Islands, applied to Thomas Le Cocq, the proprietor of the Rocks, to build a lighthouse and offered him ½d. per ton when vessels passed the light. Le Cocq approached Trinity House and a patent was obtained on 3rd June, 1723. Trinity House decided that a light of particular character to distinguish it from those on the opposite shores of England and France was needed. Three separate lights in the form of a horizontal triangle were proposed, and three towers containing closed fires, i.e. coal fires burning in glazed lanterns were erected. These three lights called, St Peter, St Thomas and Dungeon were first exhibited on 30th October, 1724. The lease granted to Le Cocq by Trinity House lasted for 61 years at a rent of £50 per annum. The three Casquets lights reverted to Trinity House (in 1785) and were converted to metal reflectors and Argand lamps on 25th November, 1790; a revolving apparatus was fitted to each tower at the Casquets in 1818, and the three towers were raised by 30ft in 1854. The Casquets Lighthouse and rocks have been the scene of many shipping disasters, among them the SS STELLA in 1899 with a loss of 112 lives and the British Man O’War VICTORY in 1744 with a complement of 1,100. The three original towers at the Casquets are still in use, although only the North West Tower still exhibits a light. The East Tower contains fog-signal equipment and a helideck is mounted on the third tower.