Discover the lighthouses of Eastern England. Explore the lighthouses and lightvessels along the shores of Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and the Norfolk/Lincolnshire border.
Please note that some of these lighthouses offer holiday accommodation or may be privately owned. Please take care not to trespass or drive on private property.
Lighthouses of Eastern England
Along the Essex coast, the village of Tollesbury and its row of old sail lofts lead down to the creek where former LV15 Trinity Lightvessel is now permanently moored as an outdoor activity centre.
Another Lightvessel, LV16 is on the River Colne in Colchester, now a base for the TS Colne Colchester Sea Cadets.
Just offshore from Frinton-on-Sea, you can see the remains of the screw-pile lighthouse of Gunfleet Lighthouse a few miles offshore. The lighthouse is now sadly neglected on the flats.
Just north of Walton-on-the-Naze, the Naze Tower was built in 1720 by Trinity House as a daymark. The tower replaced a previous one used as a front range beacon. You can certainly see it for miles along the shoreline.
Many famous seafarers have departed from Harwich, including Sir Walter Raleigh, Francis Drake and Lord Nelson. It was also from Harwich that the Mayflower set sail for America, though she called in at Plymouth due to bad weather. Her captain’s home is in the town, close to the quay.
You can find two lighthouses in Harwich; the High Lighthouse worked in conjunction with the Low Light, the latter of which is now a maritime museum. There are two more at nearby Dovercourt, though all four lights are no longer in use.
Alongside Ha’penny Pier on The Quay at Harwich is the former LV18 lightvessel, and if you are lucky, you may spot some more lightvessels in the channel or alongside at the Trinity House pier.
On the Quay, the Trinity House operations centre was extended in 2005. From here, the lighthouses of England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar are monitored. Overnight the lights of Scotland, Isle of Man are also monitored from here. THV Patricia, THV Galatea or THV Alert may be moored alongside, depending on their itinerary.
Tours can sometimes be arranged at the Trinity House depot, and you can also see the buoy store where the navigation aids are maintained.
Just over the river from Harwich, up the River Orwell, the former lightvessel LV87 is now the clubhouse for the Suffolk Yacht Harbour, Levington.
Standing proudly in the centre of the town, Southwold Lighthouse was built in 1890. Its first order optic was altered, and the range of light increased in 2012 to compensate for the demise of Orfordness lighthouse.
The nearby Southwold Sailors Reading Room is a little haven on the seafront. Tucked just behind the colourful rows of beach huts, it is worth a visit if you have a few minutes.
To the south of Lowestoft, accessed through a holiday camp is the former Pakefield Lighthouse, now headquarters of the Pakefield Coastwatch.
There are three lighthouses in Lowestoft; two harbour lighthouses guard the outer harbour, and just north of here is England’s easternmost lighthouse. The original Lowestoft Lighthouse was the first Trinity House lighthouse to be built in 1609. The current lighthouse, clearly visible from the main road, was established in 1874.
Just below the lighthouse in Sparrows Nest Gardens, the Lowestoft Maritime Museum is worth visiting, with some lighthouse and lightvessel exhibits.
Near the entrance to the harbour at Great Yarmouth, Gorleston Lighthouse guides vessels into the River Yare. On the opposite side of the river, the former Trinity House depot maintained lighthouses and lightvessels for the region until its closure in 2003.
There were originally four lighthouses at Winterton, but the eroding coastline and shifting sandbanks changed the need for these over the years. Daniel Defoe visited Winterton in 1725.
Happisburgh Lighthouse was one of a pair of leading lights to guide vessels clear of the dangerous Haisborough Sands. Several lightvessels marked the sands until later replaced by buoys. In 1988 Trinity House announced their intention to discontinue the lighthouse, but the local community campaigned and formed a Lighthouse Trust in 1990. The lighthouse is now the UK’s only independently operated working lighthouse and the oldest working lighthouse in East Anglia.
The lighthouse at Cromer is located next to the Royal Cromer Golf Course, overlooking the town at its highest point. In the town, the church of St Peter and Paul is the tallest in Norfolk and has some magnificent stained glass windows depicting the Cromer lighthouses and other lifesaving icons.
Cromer is also notorious for its lifeboat museum. Local lifeboatman Henry Blogg is one of the most decorated lifeboat men in history, immortalised by a museum in his name.
On the northwest coast of Norfolk, Hunstanton overlooks The Wash. Its disused lighthouse sits above the brightly coloured cliffs.
At Sutton Bridge, on the Norfolk/Lincolnshire border, two lighthouses of East and West Sutton are located inland along the River Nene.
Both lighthouses are privately owned, East Sutton Lighthouse was the former home of conservationist Sir Peter Scott.
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