Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Bermuda
Gibbs Hill Lighthouse stands on a hill in Southampton Parish. The base of the lighthouse is 245 feet above the sea level. The lighthouse which has a height of 117-ft is one of the main sightseeing attractions in Southampton parish. This is one of the oldest cast iron lighthouses in the world and was built in 1846. Actually the construction started in England in 1844.
If you want to get a panoramic view of Bermuda and its shoreline, there is no better place than seeing it from the balcony at the top of Gibbs Hill Lighthouse. But, you need to climb 185 steps to fulfill this desire. The picture below shows the stairs of the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse. The climb however is not as difficult as it might appear. You need to take it easy and move up slowly with enough pauses in between.
As you go up, there are eight floors with mini exhibits that describe how the tower was built along with information about history of Bermuda. There are also resting platforms on the way to the top though.
Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Bermuda
At the top of the tower, there is a 1000-watt bulb placed inside a revolving lens. Ships can see the light beams it emits from 40 miles away. In the earlier days, there were too many ships getting wrecked by the hidden reefs around the islands of Bermuda. So the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse was built to help navigate the ships. Airplanes can see the lights from a distance as far as 120 miles away and from an altitude of 10,000ft. Originally kerosene lamp was used.
The lamp was first lit on May 1, 1846. It was a revolutionary milestone and reduced wrecking of ships considerably. While shipping now uses advanced navigation methods, such as GPS systems, the Gibbs Hill lighthouse offers a backup method of shoreline navigation and still appreciated by modern mariners. For generations, lighthouse keepers ran the property. It's now operated electronically and maintained by the government’s Marine and Ports Department.
The Lamp - Gibbs Hill Lighthouse
Queen Elizabeth II visited the Lighthouse in 1953 shortly after her coronation. Today a bronze plate on the roadside close to the lighthouse marks where she stopped to watch the scenery of Great Sound - the place is called Queen's View. While the view from here is great, but the view from the top of the lighthouse is even better.
The view from Top
From the balcony at the top of Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, you get a 360-degree view. This is a spectacular vantage point to view the south shore horizons. You get a fantastic view of the west-end as far as the Royal Naval Dockyard
, the Great Sound water area, Hamilton harbor with the city in the distance, and the homes, swimming pools, farm fields, seascapes of Southampton and Warwick... just wonderful!
At the base of the Gibbs Hill lighthouse, in a former signaling station used by the British Army, is a nice little Tearoom
, open for breakfast, lunch, and weekend dinners in season. UPDATE:
There is a new restaurant The Dining Room
that has come up in place of the Tearoom and occupies the same space.
There is also a small gift store at the base. It sells many gift and souvenir items including picture post cards, T-shirts & clothes, small models of the lighthouse and more.
Update June 2014: Gibbs Hill Lighthouse along with the gift store at its base were closed to public from January 13, 2014 for restoration and maintenance work. The work has now been completed, the light house restored to its old glory and has been re-opened to public. The cost of restoration work was roughly $360,000.
$2.50 per person, under five free. Buy the ticket at the gift shop below the lighthouse. Advance booking is not required.
Gibbs Hill lighthouse is open daily from 10am - 4pm.
Closed in February for maintenance and on Christmas.
Update February 2016: Maintenance has been completed at Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse and it is now open daily.
Location, Contacts, How to reach
68 St. Anne’s Road (off Lighthouse Road), Southampton Parish.
Note: Same contact info will work for the gift shop as well.
Take bus route #7 operating between Dockyard and Hamilton City. It takes about 30 minutes from Dockyard to reach the bus stop for Lighthouse Road on South Road. From there it's a few minutes walk to the lighthouse (about 220 yards along Lighthouse Road and then 100 yards along St. Anne's Road to left, and you will be at the base of the lighthouse). Check out Bermuda Tourist Map
to view the location of the place.
Transport fare to Gibbs Hill Lighthouse
Bus fare from dockyard or Hamilton to Gibbs Hill Lighthouse is $4.50 by token or $5.00 by cash. Alternatively you can use a ticket (14-zone ticket from a pack of 15, pack costs $37.50) or a transport pass. 4-passenger taxi fare from dockyard to lighthouse is approximately $44 without tips.
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