Eastbourne Lighthouse, Access, Walks, Photos

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PHONE: No telephone number

Eastbourne Lighthouse, by Beachy Head. Looking for things to do in Eastbourne with the kids? This historic landmark can be viewed by foot from Beachy Head or by pleasure boat trip.

Phone: No telephone number
Rating: Great view from Beachy Head!
Prices: Free entertainment and walk
Info: Eastbourne lighthouse can be viewed from Beachy Head or by walking west across the beaches

The red and white striped Eastbourne Lighthouse, brought into service in 1902, is an iconic landmark on the British coastline sitting 500 feet below the cliffs of Beachy Head. The lighthouse still operates at night to guide passing mariners, its light providing an effective range of up to 8 nautical miles across the English Channel.

It is said that as early as 1670, a manmade light shone from the top of Beachy Head, to guide passing mariners through these waters.

The lighthouse in Eastbourne at Beachy Head

Pleasure boat trips are available to take passengers out to view both the lighthouse and Beachy Head from the sea, which would make the trip an ideal child friendly adventure in Eastbourne, suitable for kids. The photo above looks toward Eastbourne in an easterly direction, with the promenade, the hotels in Eastbourne and town centre lying just beyond the lighthouse, around the corner in the distance.

The lighthouse is a 43 metre high structure designed under the direction of Sir Thomas Matthews, who was at the time the engineer-in-chief of Trinity House. The tower was buit using 3,660 tonnes of fine Cornish granite, taking two years to complete. During the construction period, a cableway was built at the top of the cliffs to carry materials down to the site.

It was finally de-manned in June of 1983 and now operates as an automated lighthouse. The lighthouse emits a white group flash of 880,000 candelas in intensity, twice every 20 seconds, whilst a nautophone (fog signal) sounds every 30 seconds during heavy fog, audible up to two miles away. The lighthouse was electrified in 1960, and uses a 10.4 watt filament lamp.

The cost to repaint the building is approximately £45,000.00, which some argue is an unnecessary spend, given that the lighthouse is no longer needed as a day-mark to aid mariners who instead rely on electronic navigational aids to avoid shipwreck.

The Eastbourne lighthouse may not be repainted, but remains one of the most wonderful features along the south coast of England. If you are looking for things to do in Eastbourne, or child friendly places to go with kids, this historic place of interest can be enjoyed by driving or walking to the top of Beachy Head, and can be viewed from a pleasure boat trip on the water, or via a helicopter pleasure flight over Eastbourne from the skies above.

The tide can be dangerous as it washes right up to the base of the cliff, and can reach up to seven feet in places. Care should be taken to note the tide times in Eastbourne before walking out to the lighthouse. www.easytide.co.uk is a good resource.

In 1828 James Walker erected Belle Toute Lighthouse, a 14 meter high circular tower, on the headland. This remained in operation till 1899 when it was abandoned due to being frequently shrouded in mist and threatened with collapse because of recurrent falls of chalk from the cliff.

Photos courtesy of Rob Wassell, from the Belle Tout Lighthouse (not to confuse matters, Belle Tout Lighthouse is on top of Beachy Head - This is the 'new' Eastbourne lighthouse, at the foot of the Beachy Head cliffs, as shown in the photos).