St Mary’s Lighthouse is set to shine again after a four-month closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Whitley Bay landmark will have a phased reopening to ensure the safety of staff and visitors, starting with the tower on Monday 27 July and followed by the gift shop on August 3.
Due to social distancing requirements, visitors will be asked to call 0191 643 4777 and arrange a half-hour slot for accessing the tower. This will allow staff to safely manage visitor numbers and ensure that social distancing can be observed.
Visitors will also be urged to be careful where they set foot on the island, and not to wander into the red zoned areas that are there to protect wildlife habitats from the impact of human activity.
St. Mary’s Island and the surrounding natural areas are designated as a Local Nature Reserve. The site contains areas of coastal grassland, wetland, tidal and sub-tidal habitats, and the semi-tidal St. Mary’s Island, attracting a wonderful diversity of species including golden plover, sanderling, turnstone, and grey seals.
Councillor Sarah Day, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure, said: “We’re delighted to be able to welcome visitors back to the island. Like other popular visitor attractions across the North East, I’m sure this one has been greatly missed by residents and visitors alike.
“The lighthouse has been in hibernation since March 18, but our team have been working incredibly hard to make sure everything is ready and safe for people to return.
“This is just the first step towards a full reopening. We have extensive signage and social distancing measures in place to ensure that everyone can enjoy the island safely. All we ask is that people are patient with us while we get back up to speed, and please keep in mind the sensitive nature of the wildlife habitat when visiting the island.”
To book a half-hour slot, please call 0191 643 4777.
For further information and updates on the phased reopening, follow St Mary’s Lighthouse and Visitor Centre on Facebook.