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.
- Peninnis Lighthouse on St Mary’s Island in the Scilly Isles is a small automatic lighthouse consisting of a metal tower, the upper part painted white and the lower part and cupola painted black. This lighthouse was established in 1911 when it superseded the lighthouse on St Agnes which had been in operation since 1680.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Crow Point Lighthouse gives a guide to vessels navigating the Taw and Torridge estuary in North Devon. It is a small tubular steel structure with the light just 7.6 metres above Mean High Water. Originally powered by acetylene gas Crow Point was converted to solar power in 1987. specified rates of dues to to be paid (voluntarily) by the owners of passing vessels.
- 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.
- Bardsey Lighthouse stands on the southerly tip of the island and gives a guide to vessels in passage through St George’s Channel and the Irish Sea. The lighthouse tower is unusual in being square in plan. It is striped in red and white horizontal bands. The building was erected by Trinity House in 1821 at a cost of £5,470 12s 6d plus a further £2,950 16s 7d for the lantern. Leaving Strumble Head behind, vessels enter Cardigan Bay, where in the 1890s a lightship was stationed which is no longer in use. The next headland encountered is the Lleyn Peninsula of Caernavonshire with the small island of Bardsey separated from the mainland by the Bardsey Sound. The island, some 2 miles long by ½ mile wide, is surrounded by outcrops of sharp rocks. In the sixth century Bardsey was a refuge for the Celts who sought sanctuary from the bloodthirsty Saxons. Only the ruins of the Abbey of St. Mary remain, but the sanctity of its patron, St Dolmers, who died there in 612 made the Abbey famous all over Britain. The remains of many venerable monks were conveyed to the island to be buried, and acres of graves record tales of pious and laborious lives.
- The island of Anglesey, off the coast of North Wales, must be rounded by coastal shipping making the passage up or down the western seaboard, and as a consequence of its position in a busy seaway has several major lights. Skerries was built first, followed a century later by South Stack and Point Lynas, the latter after the wreck of the “Rothesay Castle” on Puffin Island at the entrance to the Menai Strait in 1830.
- Bishop Rock Lighthouse stands on a rock ledge 46m long by 16m wide, 4 miles west of the Scilly Isles. The rocks rise sheer from a depth of 45m and are exposed to the full force of the Atlantic Ocean making this one of the most hazardous and difficult sites for the building of a lighthouse. The rocks around the Scilly Isles caused the wreck of many ships over the years including the loss of Sir Cloudesley Shovel’s squadron of the British Fleet in 1707 in which 2,000 men died. The Elder Brethren of Trinity House decided that the lighting of the Scilly Isles, which at that time consisted of only the old lighthouse at St. Agnes, was inadequate, and resolved to build a lighthouse on the most westerly danger, the Bishop Rock.