Discover the lighthouses of North East England. The North East of England includes North Lincolnshire, Humberside, Yorkshire and Northumberland, to the edge of the Scottish borders.
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 North East England
North East Lincolnshire
The North Lincolnshire coast stretches up from The Wash to the Humberside estuary. The fishing town of Grimsby and its neighbour Cleethorpes look out over the Humber estuary to the Spurn peninsula beyond.
Immingham Dock is an important port for the transportation of oil, chemicals, fertilisers and iron ore. Along the industrial shoreline on the southern banks of the River Humber are the three lighthouses of Killingholme.
Further along the estuary at Barton-upon-Humber, the Humber Bridge dominates the skyline over the river. Opened in 1981, the Humber Bridge took nine years to build, and at the time, was the longest single-span bridge in the world.
The Humber estuary is dotted with shifting sands as it enters the busy port of Hull. The channels marked previously by several lightvessels, now light floats.
In Kingston upon Hull, the port’s prosperity began alongside the River Hull. Today a large tidal barrier built in 1980 at the harbour mouth protects the city from flooding.
In Hull Marina, the black-hulled former Spurn Lightvessel is open to visitors. She was built in 1927 and served along the Humber until 1975 when decommissioned and acquired by Hull City Council.
A short walk away, along Trinity House Lane, is the Hull Trinity House. Close by, in Queen Victoria Square, the impressive maritime museum, which occupies the former Docks Authority building, is well worth visiting. On display are lightvessel models and information about maritime Hull.
Heading out of Hull, further along the northern banks of the Humber, is the unusual building of Paull Lighthouse dating back to 1836. A little further down the road are the lights of Thorngumbald Clough that replaced Paull Lighthouse as the sandbanks in the Humber shifted.
The Spurn peninsula is a narrow spit of sand and shingle around 4 miles long and constantly shifting. It used to be possible to drive along the road to the point, but this is no longer possible. However, when you arrive at the excellent Spurn Discovery Centre, you can take a guided tour down to Spurn Point on board a Unimog truck to visit and climb the old lighthouse.
Spurn Point Lighthouse was decommissioned in 1985 and was restored in 2016. The site of the former John Smeaton’s Lighthouse is located close by but not easy to spot. The Low Lighthouse is visible on the beach.
The Discovery Centre, run by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, is well worth a visit. The recently repatriated bullseye lens from the former Spurn Point optic is on display, and the cafe commands stunning views across the estuary, a great place for wildlife watching.
It is possible to walk the four miles to the end of the peninsula, but watch the tides, as you can get cut off. At the far end of Spurn Point is the Humber Lifeboat Station, the only RNLI lifeboat station with a full-time crew due to its remote location.
On the coastal side of the Holderness Peninsula is the town of Withernsea. Its striking white lighthouse stands proudly in the centre of the town. Withernsea Lighthouse is open to the public, and part of the museum is dedicated to the actress Kay Kendall who lived in the town.
Heading north, just beyond Bridlington, the white cliffs at Flamborough Head jut out into the North Sea 150 feet above sea level. Flamborough Head Lighthouse stands on the headland keeping watch, and close by is the Old Beacon Tower.
The remains of Scarborough Castle dominates the skyline above the North and South Bays of the seaside town. At the site of the castle, the Romans built a signal tower, part of a coastal chain of signals along the coast to indicate seaward enemies approaching.
Scarborough Lighthouse on Vincent Pier, alongside the Scarborough Yacht Club, was built in 1806. The lighthouse was badly damaged during an air raid in 1914 and was subsequently rebuilt in 1931.
On the clifftop overlooking Saltwick Bay near Hawsker is Whitby High Lighthouse. Located around two miles south of Whitby, two lighthouses were built here in 1858 to mark the Scar Rock. The Low Light was later discontinued, and a fog signal station, now known as Hornblower Lodge, was built on the former site.
The historic town of Whitby lines the River Esk, guarded by the harbour lighthouses. Both piers were extended in 1914. The dramatic outline of Whitby Abbey overlooks the harbour. The 199 steps down to the old town were the setting for Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula.
Just north of Tees Bay, Hartlepool was a thriving shipyard area by the 1870s, making it a significant target during the First World War. On 16th December 1914, the towns of Hartlepool, Whitby and Scarborough were hit.
The Heugh Battery was built as a defence line against German invasion. The Heugh Lighthouse (pronounced “Yuff”) was moved as it obstructed the line of fire from the Battery, and a temporary lighthouse was positioned on the Town Moor.
The current tower was built in 1927, and the unusual optic from the former lighthouse is on display at the nearby Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience.
Within the marina at Hartlepool is the base of the former Seaton Carew Lighthouse.
Tyne and Wear
The long breakwater of Roker Pier protects the harbour at Sunderland. The distinctive Roker Lighthouse is at the end of the pier. An access tunnel runs along the pier, and tours can be arranged along the tunnel and in the lighthouse.
On the seafront, the former Old South Pier Lighthouse stands as a memorial in the park.
North of Sunderland at Lizard Point, just off Marsden Bay, is the distinctive red and white Souter Lighthouse. It was named after nearby Souter Point, as there was already a lighthouse at Lizard Point in Cornwall.
The lighthouse was the first to be purpose-designed and built for electric operation in 1871. Decommissioned in 1988, it was taken over by the National Trust and is now a visitor centre.
There are some great walks along the Leas, and a short distance away, a lift on the cliff takes you down to Marsden Grotto and Cafe. The Grotto was built in 1782 by a miner who lived with his family in the caves.
Tynemouth Lighthouse is the tallest of the three lighthouses protecting the mouth of the River Tyne.
Further upriver, the North Shields lighthouses marked the channel into the River Tyne, within North Shields and Fish Quay. In total, four lighthouses marked the channel at different times as the channel changed.
The distinctive St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay was the last lighthouse to be converted from an oil-burning light. Discontinued in 1984, it is open to the public but accessible by a causeway, so check tide times carefully. In the lantern is the former optic from Withernsea Lighthouse.
The harbour at Blyth is busy with industry, and the south harbour is full of fishing boats and leisure craft. Within the South Harbour, the Northumberland Yacht Club owns one of the remaining wooden lightvessels, LV50, rescued by the Yacht Club in 1952.
In the town itself, Blyth High Lighthouse stands some 100 yards inland. It originally worked with the Low Lighthouse, which was replaced in 1936. As the number of buildings surrounding it increased, it was increased in height and now stands in the middle of a street.
The little harbour at Amble was once busy with ships loading coal from local mines, but since the mines closed, the harbour is quiet. The well-preserved castle at Warkworth is visible at the top of the estuary.
Just outside the harbour, about a mile offshore, is the island of Coquet and its lighthouse. The island once housed a hermit, Henry, who lived there in the 12th century.
At Seahouses, the sandy beach is bordered with dunes and rocks. Seahouses is a busy fishing harbour. From here, you can take boat trips out to the beautiful Farne Islands and out to Longstone Lighthouse, where the famous Grace Darling rescued nine sailors from the SS Forfarshire in 1838 along with her father.
The heroine is now immortalised at the Grace Darling Museum in Bamburgh, and you can also visit her memorial just across the road from the museum. Bamburgh Castle rises majestically from the rock as a dramatic backdrop to the town.
To the north of the Farne Islands, Holy Island rises dramatically, cut off by the tides and connected by a causeway. Be careful when driving across not to get cut off by the tides.
The beacons at Guile Point can be found on the sandy promontory overlooking Lindisfarne, as Holy Island is also known. They guide vessels into Holy Island Harbour.
From here, it is a short drive up to Berwick upon Tweed, where the harbour lighthouse guides vessels into the harbour where the River Tweed meanders inland.
Beyond are the Scottish borders.
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