Sumburgh Head lighthouse was built by Robert Stevenson in 1821 and is the oldest lighthouse in Shetland. From 1906 until 1987 there was also an active foghorn, which is traversable in azimuth. This replaced a fog bell which had been presented after the loss of the Royal Victoria in 1864, which bell now hangs in the parish church at Dunrossness. The light was automated in 1991 and the keepers’ houses were converted into holiday accommodation. The foghorn was restored in 2015 and sounds on special occasions. The lighthouse complex also has offices for the RSPB who look after the bird reserve which surrounds the lighthouse.
Sumburgh Head Lighthouse, Visitor Centre and Nature Reserve is open to the public with the new Marine Life Centre, providing access to previously unavailable areas of the site such as the Smithy, Engine Rooms and Radar Huts. The newly built Education Centre with panoramic views out over the cliffs adds a new dimension to the area too and is an excellent facility for wet weather activities and private hire. The Visitor Centre areas are open daily between May and August.
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