La Corbiere Lighthouse has a rich and notable history witnessing many events throughout its century and a half lifespan.
Located on the small tidal island of La Corbiere, the lighthouse is easily accessible from St Brelade’s Bay.
If you are hoping for plenty of time to explore, visiting La Corbiere Lighthouse at or just before low tide is the best time to visit. This gives you several hours to explore with no need to rush.
La Corbiere Lighthouse
Whilst spending time exploring Jersey, a visit to the south-western corner of the island will introduce you to the beautiful La Corbiere Lighthouse. The lighthouse stands as a proud symbol of British maritime history as it was the first in the British Isles to be constructed using concrete. It is also a perfect and scenic spot to learn more about Jersey’s war history with a lookout tower, bunkers and nearby memorial statue. The scenic lighthouse can be easily reached by travelling across the causeway from St Brelade’s Bay during low tide. Jersey’s La Corbière Lighthouse is renowned for its beauty and as a prominent coastal landmark, it is the most photographed place in Jersey, featuring on many postcards.
History of La Corbiere Lighthouse
The name La Corbiere derives from the French ‘corbin’ with a name that means where the crows gather. At the time, La Corbiere was a large nesting spot of crows. The crows were a symbolic part of La Corbiere, commonly symbolising bad luck in a location renowned for tragedy in treacherous waters. However, as years have gone by, seagulls have taken over La Corbiere and crows no longer nest on the island. Now, La Corbiere Lighthouse is seen more as a symbol of good luck in Jersey’s culture. In fact, when a horse named Corbiere raced in the Grand National in 1983, many islanders placed bets on him. Lucky for them, Corbiere won the Grand National that year.
Built in the late 19th century, La Corbiere Lighthouse was the first lighthouse to be built in the British Isles with a concrete construction. Towering 19 metres over the south-west corner of Jersey, La Corbiere Lighthouse was designed to guide ships around the rocky waters of the headland which was often deemed the most treacherous stretch of the journey to Jersey from England and Guernsey. The lighthouse was lit for the first time on April 24th 1874 and remains functional to this day.
Over the years, La Corbiere Lighthouse has borne witness to numerous shipwrecks in the difficult waters surrounding this corner of Jersey including the St Malo ferry disaster of 1995. A memorial statue honouring the lost lives of the Easter 1995 tragedy can be found on the headland.
The lighthouse was also seized by the Nazi’s during the German Occupation of the Channel Islands in World War II. During the war, La Corbiere Lighthouse was commandeered and operated by German soldiers as part of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall.
Located on the small tidal island of La Corbiere, the lighthouse is easily accessible from St Brelade’s Bay. If you are travelling by car, you will find a car park located close to the causeway. Alternatively, if you are travelling by public transport, bus routes 12 and 12a stop at La Corbiere just a short distance from the causeway.
How to Get to La Corbiere Lighthouse
If you are travelling by car, you will find a car park located close to the causeway. Alternatively, if you are travelling by public transport, bus routes 12 and 12a stop at La Corbiere just a short distance from the causeway.
Accessible only during low tide, visitors to La Corbiere Lighthouse can reach the islet on foot. During low tide, a causeway appears connecting La Corbiere to mainland Jersey allowing visitors to walk across from the beach at St Brelade’s Bay. The journey is a short quarter mile offering quick and easy access to the islet that takes less than ten minutes to walk.
As La Corbiere Lighthouse can only be accessed during low tide, prior planning and caution needs to be taken into consideration. Tide times change daily and it is advised to make sure you check times on the day of your visit. Plan to arrive just before low tide so you can cross as soon as the causeway is clear and spend several hours exploring the lighthouse.
Whilst spending time at La Corbiere Lighthouse, make sure to keep a close eye on the time so that you do not miss your opportunity to return to the mainland before the causeway goes under water. However, rest assured that there is an alarm to warn visitors travelling the causeway that the tide is rising. Make sure not to linger once you hear the alarm and make a swift journey back to the mainland.
When to Visit La Corbiere Lighthouse
For photography, sunset is the best time to capture the lighthouse. Perfectly positioned on Jersey’s south-west corner, sunsets are phenomenal with La Corbiere Lighthouse standing strongly as a silhouette against the exotic sky. Depending on the time of year and tide times will depend on whether you can capture this view from the islet or from the headland.
Alternatively, the most exciting and impressive time to visit La Corbiere Lighthouse is during a storm. As one of the most dangerous corners of Jersey for ships, this area is beautifully dramatic during a storm. As the waves crash against the lighthouse and the sea whips itself into a foam, it truly is a sight to behold. However, during this time, there is no access to the lighthouse and the scene can only be witnessed from the mainland.
Things to do at La Corbiere Lighthouse
A visit to La Corbiere is more than just the lighthouse and there is plenty to do on the tidal islet to occupy several hours of your time.
Take a Guided Tour to La Corbiere Lighthouse
History buffs will love a guided tour to La Corbiere Lighthouse. Accompanied by knowledgeable guides, you can learn the intricate details of the lighthouse’s turbulent history including tragic tales of shipwrecks and fascinating war facts. If the history of this impressive lighthouse interests you, the best way to enjoy a visit is with an experienced and insightful tour guide. Tours can be arranged through Jersey Uncovered.
Check Out the Rock Pools
Heading to La Corbiere Lighthouse just before low tide gives you the opportunity to explore the many rock pools as soon as they appear. The recently exposed rocky sea bed reveals an abundance of sea life in shallow pools which is particularly magical for little ones to discover. Crabs can commonly be found in the rock pools along the causeway. The rock pools make even the walk across the causeway to La Corbiere Lighthouse fascinating.
Explore Strongpoint Corbiere
As you approach the lighthouse, to the right of the car park you will find two bunkers known as Strongpoint Corbiere. Part of the many fortifications built by the Nazis during the German occupation, Strongpoint Corbiere offers a greater insight into the island’s war history. The M19 Automatic Fortress Mortar, interconnecting bunker and 10.5cm coastal defence gun casemate make up one of Jersey’s most fascinating and best preserved war sites.
Combine a visit to La Corbiere Lighthouse with a stroll along Railway Walk. For 40 years in the late 19th and early 20th century, the Jersey Railway ran from St Helier to La Corbiere. Due to the small size of the island, the railway line could not compete with motor cars and ceased operation in 1936. A year later, the States of Jersey purchased the route and after a brief period when the line was used during the German occupation of Jersey, lines and many stations were removed.
The result is now The Railway Walk, a 4 mile walk from St Aubin to Corbiere Lighthouse. The Railway Walk is a scenic trail along Jersey’s old railway route taking in the breathtaking countryside with the old station of Millbrook now a cafe located en route. Suitable for both cyclists and pedestrians, The Railway Walk is a quaint, tree-lined pathway boasting scenic views. Start in the charming town of St Aubin, discover relics of the railway en-route and complete your adventure at the iconic Corbiere Lighthouse with breathtaking views over St Ouen’s Bay.
Enjoy a Picnic on the Headland
Perfect to enjoy after a few hours exploring La Corbiere, the headland before the causeway offers a great vantage point to admire the scenery of the islet, lighthouse and surrounding coastal scenery. There are many benches overlooking the lighthouse and ample green space to pop down a blanket. Enjoy the best of alfresco dining in the Jersey summer heat with a breath-taking view of La Corbiere Lighthouse.
Stay for Dinner
After a day of exploring La Corbiere and all it has to offer, stick around to enjoy the exquisite scenery. Nestled on the headland, Corbiere Phare is a magnificent restaurant offering panoramic views of the coastline. Taking in the phenomenal scenery, the restaurant showcases La Corbiere Lighthouse in its finest light thanks to its south-western location. As the light retreats at sunset, the lighthouse is bathed in a warm light standing out as a dramatic silhouette to its backdrop of orange hues. The restaurant serves up an exceptional menu of dishes inspired by both French and British cuisine with culinary delights to tempt the taste buds.