Eats and Retreats: Lighthouse restaurants and cafes

Lighthouse Dining

Find the best lighthouse restaurants, bars, cafes and tea rooms to visit on your lighthouse holiday.

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Whether you’re on holiday or just out for the day, finding somewhere special for an enjoyable meal is always a pleasure, especially when it’s near a lighthouse!

Lighthouse with tea

Of course, there’s nothing better than having your own lighthouse to stay in and enjoy a cup of tea or a lovely meal. But I also love to find places to eat on holiday and have had fun trying out most of the following places. For the few I haven’t tried, they’re definitely on my list to try the next time I visit the area.

Whether you prefer morning coffee, afternoon tea, lunch or dinner, I’ve put together a guide to the best lighthouse restaurants, bars and tearooms, all with a lighthouse theme. Enjoy your Lighthouse Menu!

Lighthouse Restaurants and Bars

The White Hart, Newnham, Gloucestershire

I have often passed this pub and stopped to take a photo of the replica lighthouse that stands alongside the River Severn. I don’t know how long this has been built, but it’s a lovely little replica and even has a little optic in the lantern! Inside the pub is a scale model of LV17 lightvessl, built in 1955. Just along the riverbank, seen from the roadside, is the former LV14 lightvessel. It is located on private land, but you can see it from the shore at Arlingham on the opposite side of the river.

Newnham on Severn
The replica lighthouse at Newnham

The White Hart serves good pub food and offers great views of the fast-flowing River Severn.

Sevenstones Inn, St Martin’s, Isles of Scilly

There is a great circular walk around the island, and you can walk to the daymark of St Martin’s. Stop in for a refreshing glass or lunch at the Sevenstones Inn, St Martins, named after the Sevenstones Lightvessel.

St Martins Daymark
St Martin’s Daymark, Scilly

Fraggle Rock Bar, Bryher, Isles of Scilly 

Did you know that Fraggles live in lighthouses? The real Fraggle Rock Lighthouse is based on St Anthony’s Lighthouse in Cornwall.  The Fraggle Rock Bar isn’t a lighthouse, and there isn’t even a lighthouse on the island, but there are views of Bishop Rock and Round Island Lighthouse!

There are no cars on Bryher, but it’s a lovely walk around the island.

The Lightship, Haslar Marina, Hampshire

Trinity’s Lightship was the former LV1 Lightvessel, established in 1946. She was decommissioned in 1993.

Following new management, the lightvessel offers luxury dining within Haslar Marina.

Trinitys Lightship Haslar

The Beachy Head, Sussex 

The Beachy Head is a great place to visit for lunch or a drink after a good stroll along the Downs.  You can see across the rolling downs to Belle Tout Lighthouse perched on the cliff edge from the window.  Below the cliffs is the iconic Beachy Head Lighthouse. You can find the Beachy Head Visitor Centre next door to the restaurant.

Champagne Bar, Folkestone Lighthouse, Kent 

Who wouldn’t want a nice glass of something refreshing by a lighthouse? Folkestone Lighthouse on the end of the pier at Folkestone is now transformed into a champagne bar. Check opening times before you visit, as it can be weather dependent!

Folkestone Lighthouse
Folkestone Lighthouse

The Lighthouse Inn, Walcott, Norfolk

Located close to Happisburgh Lighthouse, serving food all day, The Lighthouse Inn at Walcott is a good place to visit after a visit to the lighthouse.

The pub sign used to have a lighthouse picture by day and by night on alternate sides.

The Lantern Room, Edinburgh

Located at Baxter’s Place, the former residence of Robert Stevenson, the hotel rooms have a lighthouse theme, and the Lantern Room is a bit special!

You can also stay at the Courtyard Marriott at Baxter’s Place.

Lantern Room
The Lantern Room, Edinburgh

Fingal, Edinburgh

Fingal is the former lighthouse vessel to the Northern Lighthouse Board. She is now a luxury floating hotel. The aptly named Lighthouse Bar serves meals and cocktails, or you can stop for a luxury afternoon tea or morning coffee.

Fingal Bar
The Lighthouse Bar, Fingal

Corsewall Lighthouse, Dumfries and Galloway

At the northern end of the Rhins of Galloway is Corsewall Lighthouse. The Lighthouse Hotel is open to non-residents for evening meals and afternoon tea, and the lighthouse restaurant has a delicious menu! There are spectacular views across the water to Ireland and up to Ailsa Craig.

Corsewall Lighthouse
Corsewall Lighthouse

Lighthouse Tea Rooms and Cafes

Needles Battery, Isle of Wight

Located on the Needles Headland, the former coastal defence and rocket testing site affords fantastic views across to the Needles Lighthouse. There are great views from the Battery Cafe!

Teapot and Needles Lighthouse
View from the cafe at Needles Battery

Sovereign Light cafe, Bexhill 

Famed by the band Keane’s song of the same name, the Sovereign Light Cafe is named after the Royal Sovereign Lighthouse, which stood out to sea several miles beyond.  The lighthouse has now been decommissioned. The Sovereign Light Cafe is mentioned in the Keane Trail.

The video doesn’t actually show the lighthouse, but I love the song anyway!

Mrs Knott’s Tearoom, South Foreland Lighthouse, Kent

The decommissioned lighthouse is open to the public, and in one of the former cottages, Mrs Knotts Tea Room is well worth a visit.  The tea room is named after one of the keepers’ families living at South Foreland Lighthouse.

South Foreland Lighthouse
South Foreland Lighthouse

Trinity Buoy Wharf, London  

The former training lighthouse and depot for Trinity House, Trinity Buoy Wharf is now an arts centre and has a riverside cafe.  It also featured recently as the venue for the Great British Sewing Bee on BBC1.

Trinity Buoy Wharf
Trinity Buoy Wharf

National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

The National Maritime Museum is well worth a visit. Entry is free, and you can see the former Tarbat Ness optic. On the first floor is the Great Map Cafe located alongside the optic.

Greenwich Maritime Museum

Sarnies By The Sea, Happisburgh, Norfolk

Close to Happisburgh Lighthouse is the lighthouse-themed Sarnies by the Sea.  Run by two lovely ladies who serve up delicious homemade cakes, quiches and sausage rolls.  Always a good place to visit if you’re visiting the lighthouse on an open day.  Check their Facebook page for the latest opening times.

Sarnies by the Sea
Sarnies by the Sea, Happisburgh

Withernsea Lighthouse, Yorkshire

Withernsea Lighthouse is located in the centre of the town. It was decommissioned and is now open as a visitor centre with a museum dedicated to the actress Kay Kendall.

There is a lovely cafe and garden, and the resident lighthouse cat may also join you!

Withernsea Lighthouse
Withernsea Lighthouse

Souter Lighthouse, Tyne and Wear

Souter Lighthouse is open to the public, with a lighthouse cafe. The visitor centre is excellent, and there are some great walks nearby.

Souter Lighthouse
Souter Lighthouse

The Stone Jetty Cafe, Morecambe, Lancashire 

Located next to Morecambe Stone Pier Lighthouse, the Stone Jetty Cafe looks out into Morecambe Bay.

Morecambe Pier
Morecambe Stone Pier

Aberdeen Maritime Museum

Aberdeen Maritime Museum has on display the former optic from Rattray Head Lighthouse. The optic is visible through several floors, and the clockwork mechanism at the bottom is visible in the Museum Cafe.

Museum of Scottish Lighthouses, Fraserburgh

Be prepared to spend several hours at the museum, or in our case, all day! Apart from the largest collection of lighthouse optics in Europe, the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses also holds numerous lighthouse artefacts and displays; you can also take a tour of Kinnaird Head Lighthouse.

The Museum Tea Room provides magnificent views out to sea, as well as to the foghorn and lighthouses.

Sumburgh Head Lighthouse, Shetland

Located at the southern end of mainland Shetland, run by the Shetland Amenity Trust, Sumburgh Head Lighthouse is well worth visiting. The Cafe has stunning panoramic views and is a great place to watch the wildlife.

Sumburgh Head Lighthouse
Sumburgh Head Lighthouse

Ozone cafe, Cape Wrath, Highland

It’s quite an adventure to reach Cape Wrath. Its lighthouse marks the turning point on the northwest tip of mainland Scotland.

The best way to visit is by arranging a minibus ride, which links with a ferry crossing from the Kyle of Durness. You need to plan your visit as the bus crosses an MOD firing range, so do check and book in advance. Drinks and snacks are available at the Ozone Cafe.

Ardnamurchan Lighthouse, Argyll

Enjoy a cake and a cuppa at the most westerly mainland cafe. The Stables Coffee Shop at Ardnamurchan Lighthouse is open between April and October.

Ardnamurchan Lighthouse
Ardnamurchan Lighthouse

Gallie Craig Coffee House, Dumfries and Galloway

Located on the clifftop at Scotland’s most southerly point, the Gallie Craig Coffee House blends in beautifully with the stunning scenery, with its Tellytubby-style rooftop. Adjacent to Mull of Galloway Lighthouse, the area is popular with walkers and wildlife watchers.

The panoramic views from the cafe are amazing, and the cakes are delicious!

Gallie Craig and Mull of Galloway
The well-disguised Gallie Craig Coffee Shop and Mull of Galloway Lighthouse behind

Hook Head Lighthouse, County Wexford

Hook Head Lighthouse is the oldest intact operational lighthouse in the world and has an excellent visitor centre, shop and cafe, so be prepared to spend a few hours there. If the weather’s fine, you can also sit outside and enjoy a picnic with the backdrop of an impressive lighthouse behind you!

Hook Head Lighthouse
Hook Head Lighthouse

I’d be pleased to hear from you if you know of any other lighthouse bars or restaurants.

For further ideas on places to stay, check out the Lighthouse Directory.

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