St. Mary's Lighthouse and Visitor Centre

St. Mary's Lighthouse and Visitor Centre, Whitley Bay: Address, Phone Number, St. Mary's Lighthouse and Visitor Centre Reviews: 4.5/5

St. Mary's Lighthouse and Visitor Centre

St. Mary's Lighthouse and Visitor Centre
4.5
Visitor Centers • Lighthouses
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About
Reached between the tides via a short causeway, St. Mary's has all the fascination of a miniature, part-time island. The Lighthouse, completed in 1898 on a hazardous coast for shipping, remained operational until 1984 when it was superseded by modern navigational techniques. Since then the Lighthouse and former keepers' cottages have been operated as a visitor centre by North Tyneside Council. The surrounding Nature Reserve contains an area of rockpools, clifftop grassland, a beach and newly created wetland habitats.Wherever possible we are open seven days a week between May and September, and during weekends and school holidays in the winter. However, it is not possible for us to open on some days because of tidal conditions. The stated opening times can also be subject to variations on occasion due to weather affecting the times of the tide.
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4.5
869 reviews
Excellent
505
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66
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3
Terrible
4

Susie S
Cambridge, UK26 contributions
Aug 2021
Walked along the beach from Spanish City to the lighthouse which took about 45 minutes and was lovely with lovely views from the cliffs. You have to book to go up the lighthouse so we didn't bother with that however had great views of the seal colony basking on the rocks at the back. Great work by the volunteers making sure no one disturbed them.
Written August 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

flashsam7267
Knaresborough, UK2,174 contributions
Apr 2021 • Couples
Was staying nearby and saw the lighthouse on Google maps while I was looking for places we could visit to do some walking. I hadn't even realised that there might be seals there so that was an amazing bonus!

There's a large pay and display car park and only costs £3 for the day (and you can use the same ticket at some other nearby car parks so a good deal)
Also a toilet block which was acceptable.

It's only a few minutes walk across the causeway to get to the lighthouse (make sure you check the tide times so you don't get stuck on the island, there's times on a board in the car park, or check their Facebook page)

At certain times of the year you can go up the lighthouse but it was closed while we were there for to Covid (same for the gift shop/cafe)

Once we started to walk around the lighthouse we saw the seals!
On the first day we went we counted at least 30, some close and some further away but great fun to spend ages watching them.

There were some volunteers there and they were very happy to talk about the seals and answer questions, as well as pointing out any seals you might have missed (they seem to blend perfectly into the rocks and become invisible!)

We stayed until the safe crossing time then walked back across the causeway and stood waiting for the tide to come up. Great fun watching the water suddenly appearing on the causeway and then within a short amount of time completely cover it.
(If you've ever been to Holy Island then this is similar but on a much much smaller scale)

Considering its free to visit the lighthouse and see the seals this is an amazing and highly recommend activity. The small fee for the parking paid for itself sure to the number of other car parks we went to during the day.

(Note - It's a great 1.8 mile walk to/from Whitley bay beach or you can just park using the same ticket if you don't fancy the walk)
Written April 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

W. M. Aslam
Birmingham, UK30 contributions
Oct 2020
The lighthouse serves as a very popular visitor attraction. The original optic has been replaced by a smaller one from another decommissioned lighthouse at Withernsea. The effect of such vintage technology is quite dramatic even today. The structure is grade II listed, and no longer a working lighthouse. There are a small museum and café for visitors seeking shelter and warmth, but they are closed until further notice. If like me, you’re interested in all things nautical, you can find another wonderful lighthouse a few miles away, the impressive Souter Lighthouse. You can see it from the top of St Mary’s on a clear day.
Written September 16, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Nicola D
Hessle, UK3,053 contributions
Jun 2021
This must be the bargain of the century! For 2 of us (seniors) it only cost about £4 in total. I phoned to book our trip for a certain day but had to alter our plans to fit our visit around the tides because the lighthouse is on an island across a causeway so opening is very much dependent upon the tides. There is a car park and toilets on the main-land. It is only a 5 – 10 minute walk across the causeway. You can walk across to a viewing area to see the grey seals.

We had a half-hour time slot to ourselves because of social distancing. There are A LOT of steps on a circular staircase with a ladder at the very top. The light is not the original (which is in a lighthouse museum in Cornwall) but is from Withernsea lighthouse in East Yorkshire (co-incidentally it is very near where we live). The view from the top is great. The short ladder down was a little harder to negotiate than going up!

There were a few photographs, pictures, maps and artefacts on the ground floor. There was also a gift shop but we did not go in as there was a queue!
I found it very interesting.
Written July 2, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Whitts15
Northumberland13 contributions
Jun 2021 • Couples
Used to visit here as a child many many years ago.
What a disgrace. Everywhere a mess on the island.
Weeds, debris, poor signage and dirty. Peeling paint and lighthouse in need of a good coat of paint.
Tourism at its worst. You need to visit Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia , Canada to see how to maximise the lighthouse attraction - car park toilet was disgusting.
Bikers taking up roadside and grass area and not paying a fee. You need a bigger and better car park,
Food outlet and shopping area for all things seaside to make it a “destination” and the lighthouse area needs a revamp big time.
Written July 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Alison S
31 contributions
Jul 2021 • Couples
Saw the lighthouse in the distance whilst visiting the area. We were delighted to drive up and discover this beautiful area and as parking was free after 6pm in the car park nearest to the lighthouse it didn't even cost us anything to have an evening walk across the causeway up to the lighthouse and the surrounding rocks. There were loads of benches to sit on nearby to admire the views out to sea many of which were dedicated to family that must have loved this area. . What a pleasant place to pass some time on a sunny evening.
Written July 6, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

301lisa33
Coventry, UK1,560 contributions
Jun 2021
Get your tide times right so you can walk the short crossing. The island is small but the lighthouse and visitors centre are interesting. Of course a bit of energy is needed to climb the lighthouse. (In covid pre-booking is needed.) You may be lucky-enough to see seals. Parking on the mainland is not particularly generous
Written July 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Zoe Morrison
97 contributions
Jan 2020
I'm one of those people who has lived their whole life in the North East, and never ever been inside St Mary's Lighthouse. I had always wanted to go, and to say I'd explored and got to trek up the 137 steps to the top of the Lighthouse and I finally did. It was a spellbinding view out to sea, also as you probably know, we have seals on the island! I was deeply enraptured by them, and as long as you don't disturb them, they're remarkably chill. They're having the time of their lives on the rocks resting, and you can just watch them from the lighthouse. It's a small price to pay £3.30 to climb the lighthouse, and that's definitely worth in in my opinion, there is also small bits of history along the way, about who built it (MR MILLER AND HIS WIFE!) and shipwrecks and such. It's a really fun experience and the photography you get is stunning!
Written January 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

GlennA946
Whitehaven, UK170 contributions
Aug 2021
I visited St Mary's Island and it was quite enjoyable. made better by the strong sunshine on my visit. For all you need to book to go inside the lighthouse due to COVID restrictions, don't let this put you off as St Mary's Island is just as enjoyable without this. Also remember to check the tide times as the island is accessed by a short causeway that is under water for part of the day.

On my visit, I managed to spot some seals basking on the rocks next to the causeway and as the weather was fine, could see as far as Druridge Bay to the north and Souter Lighthouse south of the Tyne. Also for all this is a bit kitschy, there is a shop selling souvenirs and they do coffees and teas. Parking is good, with two and pay display car parks, and a regular bus service to Newcastle stops half a mile away.

Next time I hope to book to climb the steps to the top of the lighthouse as the interior has been beautifully restored, it stopped being a working lighthouse in the eighties, and the views are even better than from ground level.
Written August 16, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Brian K
Renfrew, UK530 contributions
Aug 2020 • Couples
Love a visit to a light house always seems a good thing to do . Usually they are locked up and you can’t get inside . Our friends had booked for us to visit at st Mary’s but didn’t tell us it’s 137 steps to the top via a spiral staircase . Lol . Not a problem for me but my wife didn’t fancy the climb up . It’s probably not for those with any mobility issues . The staircase is quite narrow also . When you get to what appears to be the top there is another small ladder this is worth climbing as the views are quite spectacular . I would suggest taking your time on the way down as well . The staff we met were all great especially those in the gift shop . The surrounding area is very picturesque and worth exploring with lots of families crab pooling / climbing the rocks etc .
Written September 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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