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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Point of Ayre Lighthouse is an active 19th-century lighthouse that was first lit in 1818, making it the oldest operational lighthouse on the island. The lighthouse is located at the Point of Ayre at the north-eastern end of the Isle of Man and was designed and built by Robert Stevenson, grandfather of prolific writer and novelist Robert Louis Stevenson. The point has shingle and gravel deposited by the strong currents, this changing landscape forced a smaller light commonly referred to as a ‘winkie’ had to be built 750 feet (230 m) to the seaward side of the main tower in 1899. This was then repositioned a further 250 feet (76 m) in the same direction and for the same reasons in 1950. The ‘winkie’ light was discontinued on 7 April 2010.
- Needles Lighthouse is set in the western approaches to the Isle of Wight, the Needles form a narrow chalky peninsula which rises from jagged rocks to 120m cliffs. These rocks have always been a hazard to ships making their way up the Solent to Portsmouth and Southampton Water.
- 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.
- 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.
- Smeaton’s Tower is the third and most notable Eddystone Lighthouse built in 1759. It marked a major step forward in the design of lighthouses. The lighthouse was in use until 1877, whern it was dismantled and rebuilt on Plymouth Hoe in the city of Plymouth, where it now stands as a memorial to its designer, John Smeaton, the celebrated civil engineer.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.