It’s only open to the public for 13 days this year and it’s been an item on my ‘Norfolk Bucket List’ for a while. I’m delighted to say that this item is now firmly ticked off, as last Sunday I climbed up Happisburgh Lighthouse.
An absolutely marvellous building with a wonderfully interesting history to match, Happisburgh’s instantly recognisable red-and-white striped landmark was built in 1790. It is the oldest working light on the Norfolk coast and the only independently-run Lighthouse in Great Britain.
Well worth the £3 fee to ascend the 112 steps, you go up in a small group and are treated to a fascinating talk about the history of the lighthouse and it’s surroundings once you reach the top of the main stairs.
Note: I’m not afraid of heights usually… but climbing the circling steps with a deep void to your right and just the banister to support you was pretty terrifying. This might not be a climb for the faint hearted.
At the top of the main stairs, you enter the ‘Control Room’, which holds all the electronic equipment that operates the light. It’s still a fully working lighhouse, but has operated automatically for a long while now.
Above this is a smaller set of stairs which takes you the room where the lamps and optics are housed – the actual ‘light’ of the lighthouse (the ‘Lantern’). Here, the views of the stunning Norfolk coast and countryside are incredible, especially on a clear day like the day we visited.
It was absolutely worth the somewhat nerve-wracking ascent. And, to reassure you, it was far less scary coming back down.
I climbed the Lighthouse with Little Man. Children over 1m tall are permitted to climb the stairs. Children below this height are strictly prohibited for safety reasons, as is carrying babies/children. Believe me, you’ll understand why.
Happisburgh Lighthouse is open on the following dates this year:
- Sunday 3 August 11 am – 4pm
- Sunday 10 August 11 am – 4pm
- Sunday 17 August (International Lighthouse Heritage Weekend) 11 am – 4pm
- Sunday 24 August 11 am – 4pm
- Monday 25 August (August Bank Holiday) 11 am – 4pm
- Sunday 31 August 11 am – 4pm
Adults £3; Children (16 and under) £1. Certificate to celebrate the fact you’ve climbed the 112 steps to the top of Happisburgh lighthouse (which I am now proud owner of!) 50p.
More info: www.happisburgh.org/lighthouse/open-days