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.
- Round Island, the most northerly outpost of the Scillies is a 40m mass of granite, the top forming a platform on which Trinity House built a lighthouse and dwellings in 1887 under conditions of extreme difficulty. The sheer rock face made the unloading of building materials almost impossible. Today the only access, apart from by helicopter, is by a flight of steps out into the solid rock.
- Dungeness lies at the southernmost point of Kent and is an enormous flat of sand and shingle which has been a hazard to shipping for hundreds of years. Dungeness Lighthouse marks the end of the peninsula and is also an important way mark and reference for vessels navigating the Dover Straits.
- Tiumpan Head Lighthouse is located on the most easterly point of the Isle of Lewis and the headland juts into the waters between the island and the Scottish mainland. Built in 1900 by the Stevenson brothers, the white-painted lighthouse is 21m in height. The light is now automated and two white flashes are exhibited every 15 seconds and they have a visibility range of 25 nautical miles. To reach the lighthouse, take the A866 past Stornoway Airport.
- Caldey Island lies about 3 miles off the south coast of Pembrokeshire facing the town and harbour of Tenby. it is 1½ miles long and less that ¾ mile wide. In 1131 the island was donated to the Benedictine monks from the Abbey of Tiron in France. In 1536 the monks were expelled from the island and it was not until 1906 that an Anglican Benedictine brotherhood bought the island and erected the present monastery. In the early 1920’s it was sold to the Order of the Reformed Cistercians. On the summit of the island, not far from the old Priory, stands the lighthouse which was erected by Trinity House in 1829 at a cost of £3,380 11s 7d. On either side of the tower and connected to it are two dwellings which were occupied by the keepers and their families prior to the conversion of the station to automatic unmanned operation in 1927.
- Orfordness Lighthouse, in Suffolk, is situated at the end of a 13 mile spit which runs parallel to the coast. The dangers of this area (swift tides, banks and shoals) although not immediately apparent have long been notorious. On one night alone, in 1627, thirty-two ships were cast up on Orfordness with scarcely a survivor amongst their crews.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- Nab Tower Lighthouse is responsible for guiding ships of all sizes and nationalities into the deep water channel for Portsmouth and Southampton. The story of its strange origin goes back half a century. In the early part of 1918 attacks by German U-boats on our merchant fleet caused the Admiralty so much anxiety that it was decided to take strong if unorthodox, counter measures and a startling plan was drawn up by “backroom” scientists. This was to sink a line of eight fort like towers (each costing £1 million) across the straits and to link them with steel boom nets, with the idea of closing the English Channel to enemy ships. About 3,000 civilian workmen were brought to a quiet backwater at Shoreham and work began almost at once on two of these towers – each 40 feet in diameter with latticed steelwork surrounding the 90-foot cylindrical steel tower and built on a hollow 80-foot thick concrete base designed to be flooded and sunk in about 20 fathoms. The vast honeycombed concrete base was shaped with pointed bows and stern for easy towing. One tower was completed when the war finished in November, and the other half finished giant was broken up for scrap. After much thought it was decided to use the solitary “white elephant” to replace the old Nab Light Vessel by sinking it at the eastern end of the Spithead approaches, also serving as an invaluable naval defence post, if required.