As you drive down the B1084 into Orford, it’s like stepping back in time. The narrow streets and fisherman’s cottages look the same now as when they were built. The 12th Century Royal Castle, of which the 90-foot high Keep survives, dominates the surroundings. Built by Henry II, between 1165 and 1173, for defence against invaders from the sea, underlining the political and commercial importance of the area at the time. Orford Castle’s Keep is remarkably preserved, little altered since it was built. The Castle also houses Orford museum and the view of Orford Ness from the top of the Keep is well worth the climb.

Pictured above the magnificent view from ontop of Orford Castle’s Keep.
Quiet streets of Orford

The National Trust now owns a large part of the spit at Orford Ness; which at just over 10 miles long is the largest of it’s kind in Europe. The Ness has had a number of uses, which include top secret military testing during both World Wars. The spit is now much quieter with the most frequent visitors being the large colony of gulls which have made it as their home. The spit has become a haven for bird-watching, the RSPB sanctuary at nearby Havergate Island has become home for a number of mating avocet pairs, which attract twitchers from all over Europe.

Orford was once one of the East of England’s main seaports, however the continual growth of the shingle spit across from the River Ore has caused commercial trade to decline over the years with only a small but still thriving fishing fleet remaining.

This is an almost magical place steeped in history with its ever shifting sandbanks revealing dozens of shipwrecks entombed off shore, some dating back to Roman Times.

Pictured above the Pagodas, sinister looking reminders of the Ness’ military past.

Where to Stay
Crown and Castle Hotel
20 bedrooms, all en-suite. Open all year round. Next to castle
Tel: 01394 450205

Jolly Sailor
16th Century quayside inn
Tel: 01394 450243. Website.

Kings Head
Authentic 13th Century Inn with 20th Century en-suite accommodation
Tel: 01394 450271

The Old Friary
Self-catering accommodation sleeping 5 in 3 bedrooms.
Tel: 01394 450229.

Luxury fully equipped holiday cottage for two in Quay Street
Tel: 01728 687844. Website.

Vesta Cottage
Well-equipped comfortable cottage. Sleeps 4 plus cot if required
01394 450652. Website.

Daphe Road

Attractive holiday cottage sleeps up to five.
Tel: 01394 450714.

Orford Cottages – A selection of luxury fully equipped self-catering holiday cottages for two to six people in Orford and Sudbourne.

Contact Sue Cartlidge on 01728 687 844 or 07836 293925
Website E-mail

What to Do
Orford Castle (English Heritage)
Magnificent 90-foot high Keep with views across the river. Built by Henry II for coast defence in 12th Century.
Tel: 01394 450472. Website

Orford Ness (National Trust)
Take “Puffins” ferry from Orford Quay to Orford Ness. The Ferry also runs other trips on the River Ore.
Tel: 01394 698298. Website.

Lady Florence
River cruises, with either morning brunch, lunch or dinner with a bar on board and sailings all year round. Cosy coal fire in winter. Probably the best way to see all 10 miles of Orford Ness.

Tel: 07831 698298. Website.

RSBP Sanctuary on Havergate Island
Spend the day on the island.
Write to 30 Mundays Lane, Orford.

Where to Eat
Butley Orford Oysterage
Long established seafood restaurant serving Orford caught fish and oysters grown locally at nearby Butley Creek.
Tel: 01394 450277.

Crown and Castle
Traditional cuisine in relaxing surroundings.
Tel: 01394 450205.

The Jolly Sailor Inn
16th Century quayside Inn. Finest local fish and chips, fresh homemade food and daily roasts No Children.
Tel: 01394 450243. Website.

The Kings Head
13th Century smugglers Inn. All home cooked food using finest local fish, game and well farmed meat.
Tel: 01394 450271.

Lady Florence
Brunch, Lunch and Dinner afloat. Local produce freshly prepared onboard. Celebrations and Business entertainment.
Tel: 07831 698298. Website.