Suffolk has a rich history which spans across hundreds of years. Over that time a number of significant buildings, events and people have left their mark on the towns and Orford is no exception with its twelfth century castle, world famous shingle spit and – of course – Pump Street Bakery.
Construction of Orford Castle began in 1165 and was completed in 1173 under the orders of King Henry II as means of his establishing his power over the area. The castle was an important landmark to help guide sailors to Orford as the town became a thriving port. Ownership of Orford Castle remained in royal hands for just over 150 years. Today the castle is maintained by English Heritage and visitors can explore from the basement up through the lower and upper halls, all the way to ramparts where you can enjoy a spectacular view over Orford and beyond.
St Bartholomew’s is a Grade I listed building and stands to represent the importance Orford once had as a fishing port, back before Orford Ness was separated from the town by the sea. Regularly used for concerts and recitals, Orford Church remains a hub of activity today. At the eastern end of the church you can find the remains of the original Norman chapel which stood hundreds of years prior.
See things from a different point of view by taking a trip out on the Regardless. The trips begins at Orford Quay and the boat will take you past Orford Castle, the pagodas on Orford Ness and on the RSPB reserve Havergate Island which is home to numerous species of birds. Educational and exciting, this is a great way to see and learn about the wildlife in the area.
For a little bit different, why not try the Lady Florence River Cruise Restaurant. Passing Orford’s historic landmarks and wildlife spots, dine in style on delicious, locally sourced food. Choose to cruise in time for brunch, lunch or dinner, and you can treat yourself to Cocktail suppers as well!
Orford Ness Lighthouse & Nature Reserve
Orford is seemingly synonymous with its Lighthouse which can be seen for miles around on the Suffolk Coast. Built in 1792, the Lighthouse originally had a light with a range of 24 nautical miles (that’s 44.5km to you and me).
The Nature Reserve at Orford Ness is run by the National Trust and is only accessible by boat. The largest shingle spit in Europe, Orford Ness was used by the army during the Second World War for a number of top secret experiments. As such, there are marked visitor routes to adhere to in order to steer clear of any hidden debris that might remain. Guided tours are run throughout the year where you can learn all about the Ness’s fascinating history and wildlife.