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Smeaton's Tower Lighthouse

Plymouth, Devon

Featured Location Guide

Aerial Photo by Marinas.com

This was the Eddystone Lighthouse  from 1759-1882, built by civil engineer John Smeaton. It was a  revolutionary design that greatly changed the development of offshore lighthouses.

Due to failures in the rock under the lighthouse and technology moving and more space being required in the light housing, a larger replacement was built.

The Smeaton Lighthouse was pulled down, except for its base and moved to Plymouth and rebuilt on a new base. The original base is still out by the later Eddystone Lighthouse, 13 miles south west.

Please see the fuller location guide on the Eddystone Lighthouse, which gives the full story of all 4 versions of the lighthouses that stood on these rocks.


The lighthouse on the mainland at Plymouth, is open to visitors who may climb the 93 steps, including steep ladders, to the lantern room and see the views of Plymouth Sound and the city, all year round (with the exception of Christmas and Good Friday). For details of current opening times, admission prices and access information see the grid at the bottom of this page.

Below are a collection of photos

The current Eddystone Lighthouse - Note the old base for the Smeatons tower is still by its side.

 Aerial photo by  Marinas.com (more images are available)

Smeatons Tower Photo by Dave Skinner 

Photo by Chris Downer

From Wikipedia

When it first was built in Plymouth it did not have the red and white bands, it has now, an old
 postcard shows it with the same colours as the Douglass Tower that replaced it.

However a little later it had its paint job and was as it is now, the image below was taken probably around 1905.

Unless we have these two images the wrong way around and later for a period it was represented the other way.

Lighthouse information Grid


Smeaton's Tower, Plymouth Hoe, Devon

Current status:

Memorial and visitor attraction, open to visitors

Geographic Position:


Grid Reference:


Ceremonial County:




Map Link:


Aerial photo:


Other photos:

Geograph     Smeatons Tower flickr

Originally built:


Current lighthouse built:


Height of Tower:

Now standing 72ft high, a third is still in its original position.

Height of light above mean sea level:


Character of light:


Character of fog signal:


Range of light:


Owned / run by:



Own site - local council

Other Useful Websites:


Eddystone  on Wiki     Smeatons Tower on Wiki

Eddystone lighthouses in detail 

Other Relevant pages:

For more articles, lists and other information see the Lighthouses Section

Lighthouse Map of England and Wales

Featured List of Lighthouses - England and Wales  

List of Minor Lighthouses and Lights - England and Wales

Eddystone Lighthouse

The Development of Lighthouses



Lighthouse Visit Planning Grid
Name: Smeaton's Tower, Plymouth Hoe, Devon
Grid Reference: SX477538



Getting there:  


Town parking


The Hoe





01752 304774

Email: museum@plymouth.gov.uk

Opening times:

Its run by a council and has unusual opening hours that may vary. At the point of writing this, its Tues-Fri 10am-12noon (last entry at 11.30am) and 1pm-4.30pm (last entry at 4pm)

So start late, finish early and close for a lunch break.

Closed on Sundays and Mondays but may be open on some Bank Holiday Mondays.

They may also close it on Fridays and Saturdays if they want to run events there.

You definitely need to check their Website page or call before visiting.


Adults 2, child (5-16), Students and Seniors 1, under 5's FREE plus a number of group and special rates. Some tourism and some council employees from anywhere FREE.   Plymouth residents with a special card get 10 pence off, I am sure they will really appreciate this concession) Check their Website page

Best Times to Visit:  



Things To Do, See and Photograph:

Lighthouse, coastal, wildlife, plants, possibly ships.

What to take:

Shoes suitable for climbing many steps, small bag with necessary items, Camera, selected lenses and filters.

Nature highlights:


Photo Restrictions:

None Known

Other Restrictions: None Known
Nearby Locations: Plymouth Breakwater Lighthouse

Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Grid or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote both the Page Ref and Topic or Section references from the Grid below. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

Please submit information on locations you discover so that this system continues to grow.


By: Keith Park   Section:  Lighthouses Section Key:
Page Ref: Smeatons_Tower Topic: Lighthouses Last Updated: 06/2010


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