Ramsey's family: father - Mr. Ramsey, mother - Mrs. Ramsey (50 years old, but still quite attractive), children - Nancy, James, Cam, Prue, Rose, Andrew, Jesper, Roger. They live on the island of Skye. A lighthouse is visible in the distance. At first, the story contains a lot of mother’s thoughts, she gives an assessment of everything that happens. Events are shown from her point of view. Children very much want to go to the lighthouse, throughout the book they ask to go there, their mother encourages them, saying that tomorrow will be good weather, and they will go, but my father always disappoints, claiming that the weather will be bad. Therefore, the children are embittered by their father, and James even wants to kill him.

Charles Tansley, from a poor family, came to visit them. The children gave him the nickname "Atheist," they disliked him. Minta Doyle and Paul Reilly are family friends. In the middle of the book they get married, but their married life did not work out. August Carmichael is an old poet. Accepts opium. Every year comes to them. Lily Briscoe - the artist William Banks - lodged with LB, tried to look after her, although he was suitable for her fathers. Everyone was sure that they would get married. But that did not happen.

One day, Nancy, Minta and Paul went for a walk and promised to come before dinner, but Minta lost her grandmother’s brooch, and at this time the tide began, and they had to return home. Paul decided that he would rise neither light nor dawn to find this brooch, but Minte would not say anything. Mrs. Ramsey was unhappy with their delay.

The thoughts of Pru and Lily appear, and in the end Lily becomes the main character. Time passes. War. Mother suddenly dies at night. Pru, married, dies from the first birth. Andrew dies in France from a grenade explosion. A. Carmichael released a collection of poems, which was an unexpected success.

The house was abandoned, the garden was overgrown. One day, father, Cam and James still went to the lighthouse. The father pulled the children out of bed early in the morning to fulfill their childhood dream. But the children are not at all happy. The lighthouse no longer attracts them as before. They hate father because he always does everything as he wants. They decided to conspire against the tyranny of their father and silently look at each other when he does or says something confirming their theory: Mr. Ramsey is an unbearable egoist who tramples on someone else's dignity.

Lily recalls Mrs. Ramsey: “some simply could not stand her, they considered her too harsh, self-confident. Even her beauty irritated someone. Monotonous, they said, is always the same. And the secretive was too unable to put herself in with her husband. ”However, when they were already approaching the lighthouse, his father suddenly praised James because he was well on board the boat, which James did not expect. The children were pleasantly amazed. Arriving at the lighthouse, they landed ashore and unloaded the packages for the lighthouse keepers.