Learning by Being There: Lizard Lighthouse and Local Wildlife

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

Our trip to Lizard Point will hold a special place in my heart because, for the most part, it was unplanned and spontaneous and days like that always seem to work out the best. Lizard Point is run by the National Trust and my gosh, you can instantly spot the difference between here and the over-commercialised Lands End.

There's a National Trust car park for both members and non-members, just use postcode TR12 7NT. We didn't come until around 3pm because we planned to head over to Cadgwith Cove for 9pm to see the Sea Shanty singing out on the harbour. If you want to do the same, plan this day for a Friday and get to Lizard Point around 3pm. Then, head straight for the lighthouse where you can book your guided tour to the top.

Before your tour begins, there's the visitor centre to explore which is just a treasure trove of knowledge. Not only does it explain how Trinity House built the lighthouse at Lizard Point after many locals petitioned against it so that they could keep benefiting from the many shipwrecks in the area, but it also teaches us about all lighthouses, lighthouse keepers, engineering, and technology. They've struck a really good balance here between learning for adults and children. There's even a soft play build a lighthouse to keep the children entertained if you want to explore and learn yourself. In another room, there is a game of battleships the children can enjoy too.

After taking in all of that knowledge in the visitor centre, your guide will take you on a tour, explaining the origins of Lizard Point, the lighthouse, fun stories like a lighthouse keeper having canons fired at him to wake him up, and the history of the many, many pirates that lived here. Eventually, you will make your way up inside and to the top of the lighthouse, learning about how fog horns have changed over time and the lightbulbs that sit behind the giant magnifiers.

At the end of the lighthouse tour, the guide gives the children a cute colouring in flag with crayons in the flag-pole. After that, the learning continues! Follow the coastal path down to the first viewing point and spot the seals below if you're lucky. We saw lots of them! They were really easy to spot. There's information about the seals and what to look for, as well as about lots of other wildlife you will see in the area, especially the birds.

Continuing on the path to your right you will eventually come to a tiny hamlet of shops and a cafe. You absolutely should include a meal at the Polpeor Cafe, eating outside if you can. This was one of the best things we did. The sun was shining and we had a gorgeous view over the sea, it was literally like sitting at a restaurant in Greece and the food was lovely too. You can make reservations ahead which is probably recommended. We were lucky enough to get a table but it does get busy so to make sure you don't miss out, book ahead.

There's also a lovely little viewing area next to the cafe too where you can get some nice photos and plenty of wild rabbits who are friendly enough to munch on the grass right beside you.

After you've enjoyed your meal, head on down to the old Life Boat House and explore what remains of it. It's hard to believe boats even launched safely from here considering there are rocks beneath the sea that go out for miles.

The beach is full of seaweed so not exactly one you can relax on, but the kids enjoy exploring and skimming stones into the water so it's worth a look. Keep spotting those rabbits as you make your way down, as well as the amazing flora, fauna, and many birds.

After your time here, I highly recommend heading over to Dollar Cove. You will learn about Dollar Cove on your lighthouse tour so you will understand why you should visit, all I will say, is bring a metal detector with you if you can. After that, pop to Cadgwith Cove anytime from 8pm to hear the locals singing sea shanty songs on the streets. Simply wonderful and by far one of our best days!

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