One crazy lady and a bizarre obsession = an ongoing tour of the best lighthouses the UK has to offer

UK lighthouse facts

  • All of the UK lighthouses owned by Trinity House (England and Wales) and the Northern Lighthouse Board (Scotland and the Isle of Man) have been automated since 1998.
  • Eddystone and Bishop Rock are the tallest lighthouses in the UK at 49 metres.
  • Flamborough Head lighthouse is the oldest surviving lighthouse still in operation in England.
  • Berry Head lighthouse in Devon is believed to be the shortest lighthouse in the UK at just 5 metres tall.
  • The oldest lighthouse in the UK is still visible in the grounds of Dover Castle and is believed to have been built by the Romans around 183AD.
  • The author Robert Louis Stevenson, was a grandson of Robert Stevenson who constructed 15 Scottish lighthouses.
  • St Anthony’s lighthouse in Cornwall featured in the opening credits of the Fraggle Rock television show.
  • The most isolated lighthouse in the British Isles is Sule Skerry, built in 1895, which is situated 59 kilometres from the coast of the Orkney Islands in Scotland.
  • Kinnaird Head was the first lighthouse to be built on mainland Scotland in 1787.
  • Eddystone lighthouse was the world’s first stone tower at sea, built in 1756-9.
  • Unlike many other rock lights that were built before it, Bell Rock lighthouse, located 11 miles off of the east coast of Scotland, was built on a rock that was submerged under 16 feet of water twice a day.
  • Irish engineer Alexander Mitchell invented the concept of the screw-pile lighthouse (a structure which comprises of piles screwed into muddy or sandy sea or river bottoms) despite being blind.
  • Trinity House was created in 1514 by King Henry VIII.
  • A lighthouse must be tall enough for it to be seen before a ship is in danger. The necessary height of a lighthouse can be determined using trigonometry by taking the square root of the lighthouse height in feet and multiplying it by 1.17 to discover the distance of the horizon in nautical miles (best leave that one to the mathematicians, methinks)!

11 responses to “UK lighthouse facts

  1. Alanah says:

    Great fact about Fraggle Rock, gives me a good excuse to watch an episode!

  2. Claire says:

    Great facts page, my 7 year old daughter and I found it very interesting when doing her homework about lighthouses. Thanks for the help!

  3. Helen says:

    Ditto Claire! My 6 year old found this useful for her lightouse homework too. We were amazed that I could be taller than a lighthouse! Thanks

  4. mick mattess says:

    superb reports.wish i could do something like that.I am in hastings east sussex so have the Royal Soverign,Dungeness and Beachyhead lighthouses near by.Waslucky enough to get a boat trip around the Soverign.Something about the Soverign thats magical.
    Many years ago i was given a sector lightbulb and a main sealed beam light from the lighthouse.such a shame that they are all automated now

    • Hi Mick. Thanks for your comment. A trip out to the Royal Sovereign sounds great! We’ve looked into getting out there a couple of times, but rarely find ourselves in the area and never at the right time of year. I hope you find the opportunity to do a tour of your own at some point in the future!

  5. Donald Cowan says:

    Please note all the Scottish lighthouses above are NOT under the control of Trinity House are part of The Northern Lighthouse Board. Please make this clear in your facts!

  6. ben says:

    hi there, I may be wrong but i think that Skerryvore is not the tallest lighthouse in the uk. According to Trinity house both Eddystone (Douglas Tower) and Bishop Rock are both 1 meter taller.

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