Orford is a peaceful, quintessentially English coastal town. There’s something for everyone to enjoy in Orford. There’s beautiful walks to be had, delicious food to be tasted, fascinating history to discover and plenty more. Read on for our Top 10 Things To Do in Orford to make the most of your visit to this part of the Suffolk coast.
1) Discover Orfordness Lighthouse
Orfordness Lighthouse is one of the most iconic buildings on the Suffolk coast. Standing tall and proud in stunning red and white the Lighthouse can be seen from miles around and has guided sailors safely along the shoreline for centuries. There’s something rather magical about the way it reaches high into the Suffolk sky. A tribute to British engineering, Orfordness Lighthouse encapsulates the very special and unique elements of Suffolk that bring visitors to Orford throughout the year. Now run by a Charitable Trust, volunteers work throughout the year to maintain and preserve this historic landmark. The Trust frequently holds open days throughout the year, head to their website to book your place!
2) Try an Oscar-worthy doughnut from the Pump Street Bakery
A trip to Orford wouldn’t be complete without trying some tasty treats from the legendary Pump Street Bakery. The award winning bakery specialises in freshly baked sourdough breads but these aren’t the only baked good that they’ve perfected. The Pump Street Bakery proudly bakes Oscar-worthy doughnuts, with director Mat Kirkby crediting the Pump Street Bakery’s delicious rhubarb doughnuts in his acceptance speech for Best Live Action Short at the 2015 LA ceremony. They also serve simple meals centred around the bread and local produce in their café, Wed – Fri 12 pm – 3 pm. Weekend brunch is served from 9 am on Saturdays and 10 am on Sundays, with lunch dishes available from 12 pm on those days.
3) Explore Orford Castle
Orford Castle, built by Henry II, was one of the most important castles in medieval England, and is truly a magnificent historic landmark to behold. Explore the castle from all the way down in basement, through to the lower and upper halls to the roof where there are beautiful panoramic views seaward to Orford Ness.
Admission charges apply. For more information about opening times and charges click here.
4) Go on a relaxing walk
Sometimes there’s nothing better than taking a lovely, relaxing walk with loved ones. Orford Town Walk is fantastic for the whole family as it’s not too long and is easy terrain. The walk is wonderful for taking in all of Orford with the walk passing Orford Castle, the Pump Street Bakery and ending at the Orford Quay. If you’re interested in photography, it might be worth taking your camera along with you for the journey to capture the beauty of Orford. For a full itinerary and more information click here.
5) Bird watch at Havergate Island
Havergate Island, an RSPB nature reserve accessible only by boat, is an absolute dream for anyone who loves bird watching. The small island on the River Ore is famous for its breeding avocets and terns, which can usually be seen during spring and summer. In autumn and winter, the island provides a haven for large numbers of ducks and wading birds. Havergate is also a great place to see brown hares at close range. Make sure you pack your binoculars and remember to pre-book a place before you arrive. For more information, you can visit their website here.
6) Visit Orford Crafts
While exploring Orford we recommend popping into the shop, Orford Crafts. Much of the stock is locally made or has a local theme, including baskets, pottery, books, jams and preserves. It’s a treasure trove of wonderful local goodies. The perfect place to pick up something to remember your visit to Orford by. Above Orford Crafts is Suffolk Underwater Studies, which is also worth a visit.
7) Learn something new at Suffolk Underwater Studies
When in Orford why not take the whole family to visit Suffolk Underwater Studies, especially if you have any budding archaeologists or geographers in the family. The museum has been operating for 36 years and invites you to discover fascinating exhibits on erosion, deposition and archaeology discovered of the Suffolk coastline and offshore. A lovely museum to visit that has wonderfully extensive records. Open 10am-5pm daily. For more information, you can visit their website.
8) Cruise along Orford River
Orford River Trips offer hour trips on The Regardless, an entertaining and educational cruise on the Ore River allowing you to discover the wonderful wildlife and rich history of the area. Starting at Orford Quay, The Regardless heads south passing Orford Castle, Orfordness, and Havergate Island. So many lovely photo opportunities! What’s even better is that the trip returns on a different route, making it two boat trips in one. A delight for both adults and children. Children are even given the opportunity to hold crabs and look at the lobsters in their pots! No need to book for this trip, just turn up and pay on the boat. For more information you can visit their site here.
9) Try some local fish at Pinney’s of Orford
Orford has a great reputation for its seafood, it is a fishing town after all, so while in Orford why not try some exceptionally high quality local produce at Pinney’s of Orford. Some popular choices are the smoked salmon paté, taramasalata and roll mop herrings. All products are smoked in Pinney’s smokehouses down by Butley Creek. There is also a fresh fish counter where you can purchase daily catches, a frozen counter to stock up on treats such as homemade crab cakes, and even a great selection of pickles, chutneys, and smoked olives to name a few. A super place to go for a tasty lunch.
10) Have a feast at The Crown & Castle
After spending a day exploring Orford, we recommend winding down and having a lovely meal at The Crown & Castle. Originally an inn, which once was built into the walls of Orford Castle, it’s now a charming restaurant separated from the castle by a little lane. The Crown and Castle has the feel of a restaurant; truly unstressed and relaxing atmosphere. The service is efficient and unstuffy. You can sit round one of the comfortable tables in the bar and have a private chat or converse with other holidaymakers and locals – it really is that friendly. The Crown and Castle is open all year round for accommodation, lunch and dinner. For more information you can visit their website.