Lighthouses of the Isle of Man

Discover the lighthouses of the Isle of Man

The Isle of Man has a good collection of lighthouses, most of which are fairly easily accessible.

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.

Discover the Isle of Man

The Isle of Man is well known for the annual TT Races when motorbikes and visitors arrive in droves to watch the races on the roads.  Other races continue throughout the season as well.

The Isle of Man is a Crown Dependency and has its own parliament, known as Tynwald.  Tynwald is still held every July to pass new Acts.  

The Manx emblem is the triskelion, which consists of three human legs joined together.  Celebrities from the island include Norman Wisdom (buried at Bride Church near Point of Ayre), George Formby, and the Bee Gees, who were born on the island.  You can find their statues in Douglas. Racing driver Nigel Mansell also hails from the island.

The Isle of Man steam railway is a 3ft gauge line which runs to Port Erin during the summer, and the Manx Electric Railway also makes it easy to get around.

The island is easily accessible with ferries from Heysham and Liverpool, and regular flights also connect the mainland to the island.  The Liverpool ferry, Manannan, is named after the sea god that is said to protect the island.  

Douglas Harbour lighthouses Isle of Man
Battery Pier and Douglas Head Lighthouse behind

Lighthouses of the Isle of Man

Before 1815, neither Trinity House nor the Northern Lighthouse Board was responsible for the Isle of Man Lighthouses.  However, with the building of two lighthouses on the Calf of Man, an Act was passed shortly afterwards. Now the main lighthouses of the Isle of Man fall under the jurisdiction of the Northern Lighthouse Board.

If arriving by ferry, the first glimpse you get is the impressive view of Douglas Head Lighthouse.   Behind it at the top of the headland is the Douglas Head DaymarkBattery Pier Lighthouse welcomes you into the harbour, and you will also pass the impressive miniature Tower of Refuge on its little island in the bay.

Tower of Refuge Isle of Man

Douglas is the island’s capital and the largest town on the island.  It follows the line of the two-mile-long Douglas Bay. 

Laxey is known for its water wheel, which was built in 1854 to pump water from the lead mines under Snaefell, the island’s highest mountain.  The Snaefell Mountain Railway runs up to the highest point at 2,036 feet above sea level.  In the harbour are the Laxey Harbour lighthouses.  There is a pleasant walk through woodland across to the Breakwater Lighthouse, and two replica lighthouses feature on the Laxey Bridge, which was restored following storm damage in 2015.

Further north from Laxey is Maughold Head Lighthouse (pronounced “Mackold”). Here the lighthouse cottages are above the tower, which unusually is at the bottom of a flight of 128 steps, so you’d have two sets of steps to climb as a keeper!  There is a fantastic viewpoint looking down the lighthouse, and the church close by houses a collection of the island’s oldest Manx crosses.

Maughold Head Lighthouse
Maughold Head Lighthouse

Ramsey is the next harbour north.  It has a mild climate and wide sandy beaches on either side of the river Sulby, and the two harbour lights are easy to access.

Reaching the northernmost point of the island, Point of Ayre has a shingle beach running for around 4 miles, called the Ayres. Point of Ayre Lighthouse was built in 1819, and the decommissioned light known as Winkie stands in front of the lighthouse on the shoreline.  

Point of Ayre Lighthouse
Point of Ayre Lighthouse

Peel Harbour is located halfway down the western shores of the island. It is dominated by Peel Castle on St Patrick’s Isle, which is linked to the mainland and protects the harbour from the west. Peel has two harbour lighthouses, a beautiful shell beach, and the House of Manannan museum which tells the story of the island.

Port Erin is a pretty harbour sheltered by cliffs on either side of the headland and forms the terminus of the Isle of Man Steam Railway.  Port Erin has two lighthouses, one on the beach, and one at the end of Raglan Pier.  There is also a leading light on the street above the beach lighthouse, and St Catherine’s church houses the former fog bell from Chicken Rock Lighthouse, though it isn’t visible.  On the headland at Bradda Head is the memorial in the shape of a lock, dedicated to William Milner, a locksmith from Liverpool who moved to Port Erin.

At the bottom of the island, separated from the mainland is the Calf of Man.  Thousla Rock Beacon separates the channel between it and the island, and there are some impressive views across the sound. There are three lighthouses on Calf of Man, though none of these is now operational.  There are the two older High and Low Lights, and the Calf of Man Lighthouse, established in 1968.  The latter was discontinued in 2007. There are two landing stages for the island, Cow Harbour is reached near the sound, and the South Landing – the latter has a fantastic view of the Drinking Dragon Rock.

Four lighthouses Isle of Man
Calf of Man Lighthouses with Chicken Rock Lighthouse offshore
Photo: Patrick Tubby

From the Calf of Man, the graceful tower of Chicken Rock Lighthouse is visible.  Built in 1875, it is possible to get boat trips out around the rock from Port St Mary and Port Erin, weather permitting.

At Cregneash is the former Radio Beacon Station, established on 20th May 1938. It provided a radio beacon for vessels and maintained communication with Chicken Rock Lighthouse.  From here you can walk to the Chasms, a natural cleft in the rock with spectacular views out to sea and hundreds of birds swooping and nesting on the ledges below.

Port St Mary has two harbour lighthouses. Also located here is the former shore station for the lighthouse keepers at Chicken rock and later the Calf of Man Lighthouse.

Langness Lighthouse
Langness Lighthouse
Photo: Patrick Tubby

At Langness Peninsula, a golf course leads to Langness Lighthouse. Langness Lighthouse is on a narrow, low-lying peninsula on the eastern end of Castletown Bay.  The peninsula forms two natural refuges for Castletown and Derbyhaven.  Castletown was the former capital until 1874 and has two harbour lighthouses.  

From Langness Lighthouse, you can walk to the Herring Tower at Dreswick Point.   This tower is similar to the one at Douglas Head and was used to signal to guide fishing vessels into Derbyhaven.

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