Touching the Past at St Mary’s Lighthouse – Whitley Bay
On the northeastern coast of England, where the tiny St Mary’s Island meets the sea, lies a not-so-mysterious stone tower that rises from the cliffs like a sentinel. A lighthouse since the 19th century—a major feat of engineering for its time, St. Mary’s has been a safe harbor for ships on their way to and from Europe and a destination for sailors in search of fortune and adventure.
But this historic lighthouse is so much more than a monument to seafarers and a home to the many crews who kept it burning through the centuries. It’s also a place where you can experience true history in a living, breathing way—and learn what life was really like aboard 19th-century British naval vessels.
Below we’ll uncover the secluded secrets of this historic lighthouse, revealing its intriguing history and its relevance to today’s modern world. So, step inside and get ready to discover the past at St. Mary’s Lighthouse!
About St Mary’s Lighthouse
Built in 1898 by once-renowned construction company John Miller company, the St. Mary’s Lighthouse is situated on the northeastern coast of England, on the tiny island of Great Britain where it bravely guarded the tiny island’s shores.
Built with 645 blocks of stone and around 750,000 bricks, the lighthouse is 151 feet tall and took years to complete. The lighthouse was built at the height of the Victorian era when Britain was at the height of its power.
Britain’s Royal Navy was the world’s most powerful, the world’s largest—and wanted to be seen as such. Britain had been claiming parts of the maritime world as its own, as far as the Americas, the Pacific islands, the Indian subcontinent, and as far as Australia. In order to protect its shipping, the British Government commissioned the construction of a lighthouse on St. Mary’s Island, one of the furthest points on the British Isles on that important shipping lane, the North Atlantic.
Today although the beautiful structure no longer serves its original purpose, visitors still flock here to marvel at its majesty—and to gaze into the past at the Elegant Living of the Victorian Era.
Why Visit Here?
The picturesque St Mary’s Lighthouse, which now welcomes visitors all year round, is an ordinary-looking stone lighthouse perched on a cliff above the sea, which may have slipped past the notice of many passing visitors.
But look closer, and you’ll begin to understand. The ornate cast-iron railings that run around the lighthouse are structured to look like the ship’s railing—and look out through the railings’ “portholes,” and you’ll see the sea that surrounds it.
Leaving the lighthouse, you can amble up the winding, cobbled streets of the island to the 19th century village-like town, which is still inhabited. Or sit in the lighthouse’s grounds, gazing out to the ocean, and imagine what it must have been like to be onboard a sailing ship, with salt on your lips and the sea rushing by—and the light on the lighthouse turning on to guide you on your way. If you get hungry. you could always visit the Spanish City for some food! But if you are looking to get your boiler serviced in Whitley Bay you are best off visiting our page instead.
Traveling To Whitley Bay? Don’t Miss on St Mary’s Lighthouse
Today, visitors who head north of Whitley Bay, Northumberland, will find themselves entering a historic island that has changed little over the centuries and host to one of the most recognizable lighthouses in the United Kingdom. Now around 123 years old, St. Mary’s Lighthouse is now open to the public, once again offering guided tours throughout the year, every day of the week, except holidays. During daylight hours, visitors can step inside the lighthouse’s old quarters and climb the steps to its top to enjoy sweeping views out to sea, feel the ocean breeze, and picture life of the past.