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South Foreland Lighthouse, Dover

4.6
#2 of 11 in Historic Sites in Dover




South Foreland Lighthouse is a Victorian lighthouse on the South Foreland in St. Margaret's Bay, Dover, Kent, England, used to warn ships approaching the nearby Goodwin Sands. Built in 1843, it went out of service in 1988 and is currently owned by the National Trust. It is notable as having been the first lighthouse to use an electric light, and was the site chosen by Guglielmo Marconi for his pioneering experiments in wireless radio transmissions.
The lighthouse was originally South Foreland Upper Lighthouse, one of a pair. The second lighthouse, South Foreland Lower Lighthouse was built at the same time further down the cliff, to the east, where it still stands; decommissioned in 1904, it is now in private ownership. Prior to the current buildings there had been a pair of lighthouses at South Foreland since at least the 1630s. Even after the decommissioning of the Lower Lighthouse the pair continued to be used as leading marks, with Admiralty charts into the 20th century indicating that the 'Lighthouses in line lead south of the Goodwin Sands'.
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South Foreland Lighthouse Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
483 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • From the top of the lighthouse (only accessible by guided tour) it gives you a nice view of the surrounding landscape and English channel. The tour itself is pretty interesting and gives you a good...  more »
  • We stayed nearby on our recent holiday and walked over to have a look at his lighthouse. The views are simply stunning, and we were lucky to see a couple of Spitfire's fly over while we were on the.....  more »
Google
  • Such a cute lighthouse and a great reward for walking all the way along the beautiful white cliffs. There's a tearoom in the back. The scones and tea/coffee were lovely. You can enjoy the sea view from inside the tearoom or outside. The room was cozy and full of history. There are also public bathrooms before you start your long journey back to the car park.
  • Strategically situated on the white cliffs of Dover, this historic lighthouse (first ever to be powered by electricity) & owned by the National Trust, proved to be very interesting indeed. Staff & volunteers were extremely helpful, arranging a 'private' tour for us as we had just missed one & were unable to wait for the next one as we had booked onto an underground tour of the 'Shell bay deep shelter' (also N. Trust), a 15 min walk away (which was fascinating & not to be missed). The team rooms at the Lighthouse was the best N Trust cafe we had ever been too & can't recommend it enough. Lovely sandwiches & cakes served on vintage crockery with 'proper' leaf tea served in a china teapot by very friendly staff. We enjoyed our lunch outside in the sunshine, on deck chairs aloft the white cliffs of Dover - bliss!
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