The lighthouse was built to the design of Trinity House consultant engineer James Walker at a cost of £3,268; the square tower is of sandstone surrounded by a turreted parapet with walls in excess of one metre thick. The dwelling houses are also an integral part of the fortress-like structure where the keepers appointed to attend the light lived during their periods on duty.
The first keeper appointed to Coquet Lighthouse was William Darling, elder brother of famed rescue heroine Grace Darling. He was the second of her brothers to become a Trinity House lighthouse keeper. It has been said that it was probably a boat trip to see her brother at Coquet Island in the summer of 1842 that led to a chill which eventually proved fatal to her. In fact Grace Darling died from tuberculosis ('consumption').
The lighthouse is now monitored and controlled from Trinity House’s Planning Centre in Harwich, Essex.