St. Abb's Head is a coastal headland with high sea cliffs that are home to more than 50,000 seabirds. The area is designated a national nature reserve.
The lighthouse, like so many in Scotland, was built by members of the Stevenson family of civil engineers. It was first lit in 1862. In a region often obscured by fog, in 1876 it became the first lighthouse in Scotland to be equipped with a siren fog signal.