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.
- 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.
- The Point of Ayr Lighthouse, also known as the Talacre Lighthouse, is a grade II listed building situated on Talcre beach on the north coast of Wales, on the Point of Ayr, near the village of Talacre. The lighthouse is around 60 ft (18m) tall, 18ft in diameter and has oak pile foundations, was built in 1776 by a Trust of the Major, Recorder and Aldermen of Chester to warn ships entering between the Dee and the Mersey Estuary. Originally it had two lights, one was directed at shipping out to the Irish Sea whilst the second beam directed towards the mouth of the River Dee. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1883 after being replaced by an ocean-based metal-pile lighthouse. It is thought to be haunted, one incident reported sighting of a person dressed in old fashioned lighthouse keeper clothes standing on the balcony of the lighthouse itself.
- Hartland Point Lighthouse gives a guide to vessels of all types approaching the Bristol Channel, the lighthouse was built by Trinity House in 1874 under the direction of Sir James Douglass. Hartland Point lighthouse, built on a large rock at the tip of the point, was threatened by the undermining action of the sea to such an extent that rock had to be broken from the cliff head behind the lighthouse to fall on the beach and form a barrier against the waves. Unfortunately this procedure had to be repeated at frequent intervals as the deposits were washed away whenever a North Westerly gale coincided with a high spring tide. Eventually it became necessary to construct a permanent barrier, and a sea wall 30 metres long and 6 metres high was built in 1925.
- 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.
- For over 200 years the Smalls Lighthouse has been acting as a guide and hazard warning to passing ships. John Phillips, a Welshman, first conceived the idea of setting a lighthouse on the Smalls, one of two tiny clusters of rocks lying close together in the Irish Sea, 21 miles off St. David’s Head in Wales, the highest peak of which projects only 3.5 metres above the highest tides. Although the lighthouse was described in 1801 as a “raft of timber rudely put together” it survived for 80 years. Whiteside’s design of raising a super-structure on piles so that the sea could pass through them with “but little obstruction” has been adopted since for hundreds of sea structures. The present lighthouse was built under the supervision of Trinity House Chief Engineer, James Douglass. Its design was based on Smeaton’s Eddystone tower and it took just two years to build being completed in 1861.
- For nearly 100 years Pendeen Lighthouse has been guiding passing vessels and warning of the dangerous waters around Pendeen Watch. From Cape Cornwall the coast runs NE by E towards the Wra, or Three Stone Oar, off Pendeen. From here the inhospitable shore continues for a further eight miles or so to the Western entrance of St. Ives Bay, the principal feature here being the Gurnards Head, on which many ships have come to grief.
- The first lighthouse was built in 1202 on the cliffs to the west side of the harbour. This beacon was discontinued in about 1542. The current granite lighthouse was designed by George Halpin and construction began in 1848 and it became operational in February 1852. The lantern is 78 feet (24 m) above sea level.
- Portland Bill and Chesil Beach are the graveyards of many vessels that failed to reach Weymouth or Portland Roads. The Portland Race is caused by the meeting of the tides between the Bill and the Shambles sandbank about 3 miles SE. Strong currents break the sea so fiercely that from the shore a continuous disturbance can be seen. Portland Bill Lighthouse guides vessels heading for Portland and Weymouth through these hazardous waters as well as acting as a waymark for ships navigating the English Channel. The Shambles sandbank is marked by a red sector light. Lighthouse has a visitor centre.
- A lighthouse was first established at Flamborough by Sir John Clayton in 1669, but was never kindled. The name Flamborough was first thought to be derived from it being the place of the flame, but in the domesday book the word is spelt “Flaneberg”, possibly from the Saxon “Flaen” meaning a dart, which the shape of the headland resembles/ The present lighthouse, designed by architect Samuel Wyatt, was built by John Matson of Bridlington in 1806 at a cost of £8,000. It was first lit on 1st December of that year. The original lighting apparatus was designed by George Robinson and consisted of a rotating vertical shaft to which was fixed twenty one parabolic reflectors, seven on each of the three sides of the frame. Red glass covered reflectors on each side, giving for the first time in lighthouse characteristics two white flashes followed by one red flash. This was an innovation quickly adopted elsewhere. The lighthouse was oil-burning, with an equivalent candle power of 13,860. Lighthouse has a visitor centre although opening times are restricted.
- The rocks upon which the Skerries Lighthouse stands are at the end of a low tract of submerged land North-East of Holyhead which lies directly in the path of many of the major shipping lines from Liverpool and Ireland. The lighthouse gives a guide to passing shipping and a warning of the dangerous rocks.
- For over 200 years the Mumbles Lighthouse has guided vessels along the coast and into Swansea Bay, past the hazards of the Mixon Shoal ½ mile to the South. This unmanned lighthouse is built on the outer of two islands, known as Mumbles Head, lying about 500 yards to the E.S.E. of the mainland known as Mumbles, Swansea. The station is accessible by foot at certain states of the tide or by boat at high water.