Hunstanton’s most famous feature, amongst geologists and holidaymakers alike, is its magnificent cliffs which extend along the town’s coastline and beach. You cannot help but notice the cliffs’ distinctive layers of red chalk, white chalk and brown sandstone. Locally, the brown sandstone is known as carrstone. Many homes have been built throughout the area with such carrstone.
Hunstanton’s first lighthouse was built in 1666. It stood at St Edmund’s Point until it was burnt down in 1776. Its replacement did not last long and was replaced in 1844 by the present structure. During the First World War, the lighthouse was used as a base for secret wireless transmissions monitoring Germany navy signals. In World War II it was used as an observation station and gunnery. In 1996 the lighthouse was sold once again. It is believed to be used as a holiday home even today. There is a red brick building nearby the lighthouse which is a coastguard look- out station.
The current lighthouse ceased to operate as a functioning lighthouse in 1921. The lighthouse role was instead fulfilled initially by a lightship and subsequently by a fog buoy and light operated by remote control. Since 1964, the current lighthouse has been a holiday home when the building was sold by the local Council following an advertisement in The Times for £4,740. Seventy offers were received within two days. Located not far from the lighthouse in Old Hunstanton is the RNLI lifeboat station. Well worth a visit.
St Edmund’s Chapel
St Edmund’s chapel was built in his memory by the monks of Bury on the cliffs at Hunstanton near where he was reported to have landed. The chapel became disused in the 16th century but the ruins now stand on the cliff top and the area has been converted to a garden of remembrance.