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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Head Lighthouse is located on Hook Head at the tip of the Hook Peninsula in County Wexford, and it marks the eastern entrance to Waterford Harbour. This is thought to be one of the oldest lighthouses in the world with the current structure has stood for almost 800 years.
- Beachy Head is sited about 165 metres seawards from the base of the cliffs. It is said that as early as 1670 a light shone to guide passing vessels from the top of the cliffs at Beachy Head, the 90 metres high seaward termination of the Sussex Downs. In 1828 James Walker erected Belle Toute Lighthouse, a 14 metre high circular tower, on the headland. This remained in operation till 1899 when it was abandoned due to being frequently shrouded in mist and threatened with collapse because of recurrent falls of chalk from the cliff. In 1902 under the direction of Sir Thomas Matthews, the Trinity House Engineer-in-Chief, the present lighthouse was brought into service, sited about 165 metres seawards from the base of the cliffs. It took two years to complete and involved building a coffer-dam and a cableway from the top of the cliffs to carry materials down to the site. 3,660 tons of Cornish granite were used in the construction of the tower. More details: www.trinityhouse.co.uk
- 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.
- 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.
- Situated near the north west tip of Wales, the tiny islet known as South Stack Rock lies separated from Holyhead Island by 30 metres of turbulent sea, surging to and fro in continuous motion. The coastline from the breakwater and around the south western shore is made of large granite cliffs rising sheer from the sea to 60 metres. Lighthouse has a visitor centre.
- 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.
- Start Point is one of the most exposed peninsulas on the English Coast, running sharply almost a mile into the sea on the South side of Start Bay near Dartmouth. The Lighthouse, sited at the very end of the headland, has guided vessels in passage along the English Channel for over 150 years. Lighthouse has a visitor centre.