The Lizard is the most southerly tip of Britain, and a lighthouse was commissioned to be built there in 1752. The lighthouse continues to operate today. It now has a heritage centre which explores the history of lighthouses and their place in British history. The display begins in 600BC with a handbook by Massoliote Periplus for Mediterranean traders, describing sea routes around Iron Age Europe. After following the story via Roman Britain and various efforts with cliff top bonfires, 1566 saw Elizabeth I give an organisation known as Trinity House the task of setting up "so many beacons, marks and signs for the sea...whereby the dangers may be avoided and escaped and ships the better come into their ports without peril". It was in Elizabeth's reign that Britain began to spread its influence overseas, with Sir Francis Drake's circumnavigation of the world, and efforts to set up early colonies in America. An organised approach to protecting ships around England's coast was part of this development in maritime history. Trinity House, which built its first lighthouse at Lowestoft in 1609, still runs Britain's lighthouses today.
As well as telling a story through exhibits, the Lizard Heritage Centre has a number of interesting interactive displays. Activities include powering up and sounding a foghorn, tracking ships in the local area, sending a message in morse code, and building a lighthouse. Equipment on display includes a "magneto electric machine," the result of Michael Faraday's studies in electromagnetism which he conducted over a period of many years in various lighthouses around the country. There are also tours of the working lighthouse with a knowledgeable guide.
The Lizard was originally a double lighthouse. Today only one tower works as a lighthouse. The rest of the former lighthouse building has been divided into six holiday cottages which are available to rent throughout the year. See the official web site for more details. Beware the foghorn though!
Opening Times: Opening hours are complex. Please use contact details below.
Address: Lizard Lighthouse Heritage Centre, Lizard Point, Lizard, Cornwall TR12
Directions: From Helson follow the A 3083 to Lizard Village. Note that the road from Lizard Village to the Lighthouse is not suitable for coaches or large passenger vehicles. The walk from the car park at Lizard Village is one mile. Ordinary cars are able to park at the lighthouse. Click here for an interactive map centred on Lizard Lighthouse.
Access: Property advises that this site is not suitable for those with mobility problems.
telephone: 01326 290202