Lighthouses of South East England

The lighthouses of South East England are listed in geographical order. Also included are lightvessels and other associated places of interest.The map will provide more photos and information.

Please note that some of these lighthouses offer holiday accommodation, or may be privately owned, so please take care not to trespass or drive on private property. Please refer to the lighthouse directory page for more information.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please use the links when making a booking. It will cost you nothing, but will help me to keep the website up and running. You can read my affiliate policy here

<Channel Islands | Eastern England>

South Eastern lights

The South Eastern coast takes in the county of Kent round to the River Thames and into Greater London.

From Dover, visit the oldest remaining lighthouse in the country, the Roman Pharos, located in the grounds of Dover Castle.   Perched on the top of the white cliffs, overlooking Dover Harbour stands South Foreland, and, visible from the top of the lighthouse is the former Low Light, though this is in private grounds, and not accessible.

South Foreland was the first lighthouse to have electricity installed, following experiments undertaken by Michael Faraday for Trinity House, with the first trial taking place in 1858.  It was also from South Foreland that Marconi made his first ship-to-shore radio transmission, receiving a message from the East Goodwin Lightvessel in 1898.  Decommissioned in 1988, the lighthouse is open as a visitor centre.

The shipping lanes of the English Channel are some of the busiest in the world.  The Goodwin Sands are a notoriously dangerous sandbank, marked by the South Goodwin Lightvessel.  In November 1954 during a ferocious storm, LV90 broke free from its anchor chain and ran aground on the sands, with the loss of the crew.  You may be able spot some other lightvessels out to sea, and more can be found further up the coast.

The last Trinity House lightvessel to be automated was the Channel Lightvessel, in 1989.

Close to Broadstairs, a frequent residence for author Charles Dickens, North Foreland Lighthouse was the last of the Trinity House lighthouses to be automated, in November 1998.

Further along the Thames, into London are the impressive Headquarters of Trinity House at Tower Hill, and at Blackwall, Trinity Buoy Wharf, established in 1803 was the former base for engineering and training depot for lighthouse keepers.   


Kent lighthouses
Dungeness Old Lighthouse
Established in 1904. Open to the public
Dungeness Lighthouse (Third Tower)
Built in 1790 to replace two previous lighthouses. The tower was demolished when the fourth lighthouse was established in 1904. The roundhouse accommodation is still in existence, and is privately owned.
Dungeness Lighthouse
Former fog signal and experimental station, Dungeness
Folkestone Harbour Lighthouse
The operational lighthouse is also run as a champagne bar
Varne Lightvessel
Dover Harbour Lights
Admiralty Pier Lighthouse, Dover
Prince of Wales Pier Lighthouse, Dover
West Head Breakwater Lighthouse, Dover
Knuckle Lighthouse, Dover
Roman Pharos, Dover
Located in the grounds of Dover Castle. Built in the early 2nd century, the Roman Pharos, is one of only three surviving Roman lighthouses remaining in the world, and is said to be Britain’s oldest standing building. Originally there were two lighthouses built in Dover marking the east and west gateways to Britain from France. The western lighthouse is no longer visible, although there are still remains of the foundations.
South Foreland Lighthouse
Discontinued: 1988. Visitor centre and cafe
South Foreland Low Lighthouse
In private grounds, visible from South Foreland Lighthouse. Decommissioned in 1904, the lighthouse featured in the 1967 horror movie ‘The Shuttered Room‘, starring Oliver Reed.
East Goodwin Lightvessel
Sandettie Lightvessel
Ramsgate Lighthouse
North Foreland Lighthouse
The last of the Trinity House lighthouses to be automated, in 1998.
accommodation Khina sleeps 4, Lodesman sleeps 4
Foxtrot 3 Lightvessel
Margate Lighthouse
Reculver Towers, Herne Bay
Remains of a church built in the 12th century used as a daymark.  Trinity House bought the ruins around 1800 and restored the tower.
LV16, Rochester
LV16 is the oldest surviving wooden lightvessel, built in 1840 by William Pitcher, Northfleet
Service history: 1840 – 1945 Spurn, Calshot Spit, Inner Dowing. In 1945 she was sold by Trinity House to Benfleet Yacht Club. 1983 she was transferred to Medway Bridge Marina and opened as a private members club. Between 1989-2008 she was used as “Inner Dowsing Bar and Restaurant” at Medway Bridge Marina in Rochester. In 2009 she was renovated to provide accommodation.
LV80 TS Orwell, Hoo Marina, Medway
Built 1914, decommissioned 1977
LV80 served almost all her working life on the Sevenstones station.  In 1977 she was sold to the Sea Cadets in Ipswich and renamed TS Orwell, and her optic and machinery were removed.  In 2004 she was sold and relocated to Hoo Marina.
LV86 Nore, Hoo Marina, Medway
Built 1931, decommissioned 1974. Privately owned.
LV21, Gravesend
Built in 1963, LV21 is the last of the lightvessels to be built by Philip and Sons of Dartmouth.
Station history: 1976 – 2003: East Goodwin, Channel, Varne, Sevenstones. In 1980 she was converted to an automatic lightvessel. In 2009 she was sold by Trinity House to Gary Weston and Päivi Seppälä and is a now art, culture, education and performance venue, open to the public for certain events


London lighthouses and lightvessels
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
Former Tarbat Ness optic
Science Museum
Former Eilean Glas optic
Abbey House, Baker Street
The former Abbey National Building Society, the building design incorporates a lighthouse which featured a fixed white light.  It may be the location for 221B Baker Street, the fictional residence of Sherlock Holmes.
The Oysterhouse, Kings Cross
Near Kings Cross Station – replica lighthouse on the roof of the building
42 Moorgate
Originally the building was owned by The Ocean Accident and Guarantee Corporation Ltd.  The 15ft high replica lighthouse originally exhibited a light.  
Trinity House, London
Tower Hill – the London headquarters of the Trinity House Lighthouse Service.
Trinity Buoy Wharf
Former training depot for Trinity House Lighthouse Keepers
Built in 1939. Station history: 1939 – 2004 – Outer Gabbard, Fall, Inner Dowsing, South Goodwin. She was automated in 1981. In October 2004 she was sold at auction by Trinity House and moved to Hoo Marina. She was sold again in December 2004. In 2009 LV95 was towed to Trinity Buoy Wharf and is now a music and recording studio
Built in 1938. Station history: 1939 – 2004: Galloper, Mine watching in the River Thames (1941-1942), East Goodwin, Inner Dowsing, Sunk station, Foxtrot 3. In 1981 she was converted to automatic operation and in 2004 was sold at auction by Trinity House. The following year she was moved to London for use as a photographic studio.
She is now located in Royal Victoria Dock, opposite ExCeL.Opposite ExCeL, London

Stay in a lighthouse

Check out Lighthouse Accommodation Britain and Worldwide – the ultimate guide to staying in lighthouses, lightvessels, and related unique places throughout the world.