Heritage Locations

Southwold Lighthouse

Unusual among lighthouses for being in the middle of a town, it replaced three earlier lights.


Period of construction:
1850 - 1899

Transport Trust plaque:

Transport Mode:

Stradbrook Road, Southwold, IP18 6LQ

IP18 6LQ

Nearest Town:

Heritage Centre:

Southwold Lighthouse is a coastal mark for passing shipping and guides vessels into Southwold Harbour. The lighthouse is situated near the centre of the seaside resort of Southwold, midway between Lowestoft and Orford, the round white tower stands amongst rows of small houses.

Construction of Southwold Lighthouse began in 1887 under the supervision of Sir James Douglass, Engineer in Chief to Trinity House. The lighthouse replaced three local lighthouses which were under threat from severe coastal erosion at Orfordness to the South. While the masonry tower was built a temporary light was shown from a wooden structure which was first lit on 19th February 1889.

The present lighthouse came into operation on 3rd September 1890. The light was originally provided by an Argand burner, this was replaced by a Matthews incandescent oil burner in 1906. A Hood 100mm petroleum vapour burner was installed in 1923 and remained until the station was electrified and demanned in 1938. Two red sectors mark shoals to the north and the Sizewell Bank to the south, the main navigation light is white.

A local Attendant visits the lighthouse regularly to conduct routine maintenance. It has become an icon of the town associated with the local brewery, Adnams. The structure is Listed Grade II.


Bowen, J.P., British Lighthouses, British Council, ASIN: B001A8HS24 (1947)

Denton, A. & Leach, Nicholas, Lighthouses of England and Wales: A Complete Guide, Landmark Publishing, ISBN-10: 1843063190 (2007)

Hague, Douglas and Christie, Rosemary, Lighthouses, Their Architecture, History and Archaeology, Gomer Press, ISBN-0850883245(1975)

Naish, John, Seamarks, Their History and Development Adlard Coles Nautical, ISBN-10: 0540073091 (1985)

Nicholson, Christopher, Rock lighthouses of Britain; The end of an era?, Whittles Publishing, ISBN 1870325419. (1995)

Payton, Charles, Lighthouses: Towers of the Sea, National Trust Books, ISBN-10: 1905400128 (2006)

Woodman, Richard & Wilson, Jane, The Lighthouses of Trinity House, ISBN 1 904050 00 X (2002)

Opening Times:
There is a visitor centre and the lighthouse itself is open to the public at certain times - telephone 01512 722576

How To Find:
By Road: Off Stradbrook Road, near St. James Green, in the centre of the town


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