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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Built from local stone, Anvil Point Lighthouse was completed in 1881 and opened by Neville Chamberlain’s father, then Minister of Transport. The light is positioned to give a waypoint for vessels on passage along the English Channel coast. To the west it gives a clear line from Portland Bill and to the east guides vessels away from the Christchurch Ledge and leads them into the Solent. Lighthouse has a visitor centre.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- This lighthouse was completed in 1971 and replaced a light vessel which had marked the Royal Sovereign Shoal since 1875. It is of concrete construction and was built in two sections on the beach at Newhaven. The base and vertical pillar section were floated into position and sunk on to a leveled area of the sea bed and the upper cabin section and superstructure were then floated over the pillar section. The pillar had an inner telescopic section which, when attached to the cabin, was jacked up 13 metres and locked into position. The underside of the cabin is well above the maximum wave height and the navigation light is 28 metres above sea level.
- Monkstone Lighthouse is located in the Bristol Channel, near Lavernock Point, Glamorgan. It was established in 1839 and remained largely unaltered until its conversion to solar powered operation in 1993. The lighthouse consists of a masonry tower strengthened by vertical and horizontal wrought iron bands surmounted by a prefabricated red GRP tower which replaced the original iron structure in 1993.
- Trevose Head lighthouse’s light is situated on the north-west extremity of the head, with gigantic cliffs of grey granite rising sheer from the sea to a height of 150 feet or more. The headland is managed by the National Trust and offers large car parks and some nice walks with spectacular coastal scenery.
- 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.
- There is a cliff top walk to the foreland along the path leading from the old inn near Countisbury. It is a very long and impressive route along the headland and thence skirting round the cliffs to the lighthouse. Here the rugged track stands some 150 metres above sea level and magnificent views can be had all round. Grass gives way to a well worn footpath along the very side of the sloping cliff itself, and after a walk of about two miles one has to start descending down these tracks to the lighthouse on the point, well below the crest of the headland. At times this walk is very hazardous but never really dangerous provided care is taken. The hardest part is the return journey back up the cliff and along the path – there is in fact a lighthouse service road a little further along the A39 which makes it an easy, but not quite so spectacular visit. Lynmouth Foreland Lighthouse was established by Trinity House in 1900 as a further aid to navigation in the Bristol Channel, 20 miles east of Bull Point. The station was electrified in 1975. The round white tower is 15 metres in height, set on the extremity of the headland 2 miles E.N.E. of Lynmouth. This lighthouse is NOT open to the public.
- The small island of Skokholm, just 1¼ miles long by ½ mile wide, lies just off the Pembrokeshire coast, and the lighthouse is situated on the South West point of the island. The island has high cliffs rising sheer from the sea to well over 30 metres in many places, and a great variety of bird life is to be found here. Skokholm Lighthouse forms the landward corner of a triangle of lights, the others being South Bishop and the Smalls, guiding ships clear of this particularly treacherous stretch of coastline into Milford Haven or up the Bristol Channel.