If you failed to get a window seat on the plane, or simply got too hammered on the free beverages, you can still get a bird’s eye view of the island by visiting the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse.
First lit in 1846, it’s the tallest cast iron lighthouse in the world and the best example of its kind in the world. It was fabricated in London, shipped over in pieces to Bermuda, and erected by convicts under the supervision of the British Royal Engineers.
There are reasonably good views from the base of the lighthouse, but for the best 360 panoramic view you’ll need to climb to the top. There are 185 steps and no elevator. The stairway is narrow and winding so it’s not suitable for all. On the way there are a few platforms where you can take a break and catch your breath. The platforms also house exhibits telling the history of the lighthouse.
Once at the top, you can venture out onto the circular walkway and admire the views. Don’t forget your camera. You can take some excellent photos from here. Look north and you can clearly see Royal Naval Dockyard and the cruise ships docked there. Face north west and you’ll get a great view of Riddell’s Bay Golf Club with Hamilton in the distance. Look east and you can see the Fairmont Southampton and the Turtle Hill Golf Club. To the south are unending views of the Atlantic.
While you’re up there you can have a look at the light itself. The lighthouse is only open in the daytime so it won’t be in operation while you’re up there. It’s a huge contraption weighing over two tonnes consisting of Fresnel lens that revolves on steel bearings. The beam it emits can be seen by ships from a distance of more than 40 miles. Over the years it has undoubtedly prevented many shipwrecks.
After climbing to the top you may be feeling a bit peckish. The Dining Room is an excellent restaurant in the grounds of the lighthouse.
The Gibbs Hill Lighthouse is open every day of the week. Hours are 9 am to 4.30 pm. Admission is a bargain at just $2.50. It’s probably the cheapest paid attraction in Bermuda. Buy your ticket at the gift shop and place it in the honour box at the entrance.
The lighthouse is situated in Southampton Parish, roughly midway between the Reefs and the Fairmont Southampton. To reach it by public transport take bus number 7 from Hamilton or Dockyard (Kings Wharf/Heritage Wharf) and get off near Henry VIII. It’s a short trek up a hill to reach it. On the way admire the vista from Queen’s View, so named because Queen Elizabeth II stopped here to do the same.
Other places in Bermuda with great views include Fort Scaur and Fort Hamilton. There are no steps to climb at either of these locations. You can also climb to the top of the tower of Bermuda Cathedral and look out over Hamilton and Pembroke Parish.
The lighthouse is one of two on the island. The other is the St David’s Lighthouse in St George’s Parish.
Reviews and Additional Information
The Gibbs Hill Lighthouse closed to visitors on January 19 to enable repairs to damage caused by Hurricane Gonzalo. The work is expected to take around 6 weeks to complete.
We visited the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse while on a cruise. We got the bus from the Royal Naval Dockyard and asked the bus driver to drop us off at the correct bus stop. He didn’t forget and we walked a short way to reach it.
We climbed to the top. It was a clear day and we could see a lot of the island, including our cruise ship. I would definitely recommend a trip here, especially as the entrance price was just $2.50.
Well worth the $2.50 entrance for a photographer like myself. The panorama was amazing and I got some great shots.
This was a bargain with entry at just $2.50. The cheapest thing we did on our Bermuda vacation and one of the best. From the top you get a brilliant panoramic view of the island.
The Gibbs Hill Lighthouse has now reopened to the public following a $365,000 renovation project. The project began at the beginning of 2014 and was completed on May 16. It’s now looking great. All the rusty railings have been replaced and the entire structure given a fresh coat of paint.
Excellent news. Looking forward to visiting in a few weeks and climbing to the top of the lighthouse.
Quite amazing and very conveniently located, near Horseshoe Beach etc. The price is very reasonable and there’s a gift shop where you can buy postcards.
A must destination as this is the oldest lighthouse in North America having been erected in 1846. 185 steps to the top offers a breathtaking view of the Dockyard, Hamilton and points in between. A walk around the outside deck is breathtaking and not for the queasy. What a bargain at 2.50.
My wife and I flew visited Gibbs Lighthouse. If you get dropped off at the bus stop it’s quite a hike just to get there (not for the elderly consider a taxi). Once inside the lighthouse it is again quite a hike to the top but well worth the view. There is a nice little cafe and a gift shop as well. As for the residents? You couldn’t ask for better people.
I love Bermuda and when we reached the top of Gibbs Hill Lighthouse we felt on top of the world. Also we spotted an upside down piece, out of all the reconstructed pieces from England, which amused my sister greatly. The only problem was I am not so great with heights and felt rather vulnerable on top. I think that people should have a bit more cover. Very enjoyable.
During our stay on Bermuda, my wife and I visited Gibbs Hill Lighthouse. The view from the top is worth the climb of 185 steps.The small gift shop is well stocked and welcoming. An asset to the island!.
I just came back from a cruise with my parents and my husband. There were A LOT of steps and I’m still sore from the hike but it was definitely worth it. You can see forever from the top!
If you don’t want to get around Bermuda via motorbike or taxi, buy a pass at the stand located near the bus stop at King’s Wharf. For $29 each we bought a 3-day pass good for unlimited travel on the bus or ferry. When we got off the bus to visit Gibbs Hill Lighthouse it was a ten minute walk (too tough for the elderly). The cost to get into the lighthouse is $2.50 as of 6/2008. NOT $10 as the lady at the King’s Wharf information booth told us. I am in pretty good shape, but was huffing and puffing up the 185 steps. You can take things slower as there are areas inside the lighthouse to stop and read info/look at pictures. I was just anxious to get to the top. The view is spectacular! The gift shop is really small and disappointing. There were only a handful of souvenir lighthouse t-shirts. There is a very cute/quaint 1-person restroom located separate from the building outside.
I just came back from Bermuda on June 15, 2008. I went on a cruise from New York City. The ship was docked for 3 days. I was amazed and was not expecting Bermuda to be so beautiful, clean, and safe. This is an island that everyone should visit at least once. It is a paradise. I hope they keep it like that. There are few places in the world like Bermuda. The people are so friendly. I have so much to say that it will not be enough. Just go there and you will know what I am talking about. I felt like I was in garden. Everywhere you look is green with flowers. I want to go back soon!
My boyfriend and I drove our mopeds to this lighthouse all the way from the Hamilton port. We took a cruise to Bermuda in mid September 07. It was dark at the time we went to the lighthouse, which was best because you could see how far out the light from the lighthouse can go. We also made a stop at the Queens View, and soaked in how beautiful Bermuda truly was. It was a little spooky though because there was almost no street lighting where this lighthouse is, and it was exciting not knowing who/what could be lurking around each turn. I can’t wait to go back, it truly was a lifetime experience.
I went up in the lighthouse back in 1976 when I was 18 years old and on spring break, and thought it was one of the most beautiful views I’d ever seen in my life at the time. Now nearing age 50, I still think it (and all of Bermuda) is the most beautiful scenery in the world. I went back to Bermuda a few times after that initial visit, and will forever love that island. I only wish I could qualify to live there permanently. The residents are blessed to have such a lovely paradise to call home.
Ben, you probably would go blind. But it’s not open at night.
I think Gibbs Hill Lighthouse is one of the best places to get a good view of the island. The only bad thing is that if it is at night and you turn around, you have a good chance of going blind, if you know what I mean!