The latest edition of Lighthouse Accommodation Britain and Worldwide has been published.
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The first lighthouse I ever visited was South Stack Lighthouse in Anglesey when I was nine years old. I remember climbing down the zigzag cliff top steps to the rickety bridge across to the island where the lighthouse keeper greeted us and gave us a guided tour.
I can also recall visiting Start Point Lighthouse in Devon, aged twelve, whilst on holiday in the nearby village of Strete, and this is where my lighthouse passion really began. The familiar moan of the foghorn woke me up early one morning. Most lighthouses have now been silenced, but a few do still have a fog signal.
Lighthouses open to the public
South Stack is still open to the public, and today you can still descend those 400 steps. There is now a new, sturdier bridge, built in 1997, though you still have to climb those 400 steps back after you’ve climbed the lighthouse!
Many lighthouses are open to the public, and I encourage you to visit them and enjoy their workings and find out about their history.
Staying in a lighthouse
My first stay in a lighthouse was at Great Orme’s Head, Llandudno, in 1994. That particular lighthouse is no longer operational, so you can actually stay in the lantern room, which has spectacular views out to sea.
Since that time I have stayed in a number of former lighthouse keepers’ cottages, both in the UK and abroad. I even spent my honeymoon at Nash Point Lighthouse, where Patrick and I were married.
Being an active member of the Association of Lighthouse Keepers we visit lighthouses whenever we can, and have also enjoyed staying in lighthouse cottages with friends. Often there are several cottages available to rent, so it’s a great way to share the experience, as well as the cost.
How the book began
Following my stay at Great Orme’s Head, I discovered several other lighthouses offering holiday accommodation, and set out to find out just how many there were. When I first started my research, the internet was in its infancy, and I just had a basic typewriter, so in my spare time I would write letters to organisations and Tourist Information Centres hoping that they would furnish me with the information.
I then decided to turn my research into a book, and the very first edition of Lighthouse Accommodation Britain and Worldwide was published in March 1999. Twenty years later, the sixth edition is now available.
I decided to publish the book myself, and more editions were added over time.
The ultimate guide
In my book, the history of each of the UK lights is not intended to be comprehensive. I have therefore tried to maintain a balance by giving where possible, equal coverage to each lighthouse.
I hope that I have provided a taste of each unique building. Lightships, other lighthouse-related vessels and even buildings associated with lighthouses are listed, to make the list as comprehensive as possible.
Many Lighthouse Keepers have written accounts of their lives, most with fond reminiscences. There there are a number of interesting books about their way of life.
A list of all known overseas lighthouses and associated buildings or vessels offering holiday accommodation is also provided in the book, so you will be spoilt for choice! Many also have museums and visitor centres nearby which are worth visiting.
Find out more
I hope you find your lighthouse stay enjoyable. Explore the area, find out about its history, and I hope you will want to come back for more!
To plan your next lighthouse adventure, order your copy of Lighthouse Accommodation.