Orford guide

There are few places better on The Suffolk Coast to enjoy the blue skies and sunshine than Orford, a small fishing village known for its bounty of excellent local food and peaceful atmosphere.

Check out our handy ‘know before you go’ guide to make your visit a huge success! 

Arguably one of the prettiest villages on the Suffolk Coast, Orford is a true historical gem. From its castle, pretty cottages and welcoming pubs to the picturesque quay offering river cruises and the home of Pinney's delicious smoked fish and the Pump Street bakery, it’s an ideal place to while away a happy day or two.

Did you know?

Orford is the location of Orford Ness, a shingle spit linked to the mainland at Aldeburgh, stretching along the coast to Orford and divided from the mainland by the River Alde. The remoteness of Orford Ness has made it prime location for various ballistic tests and even atomic weapons research.  

In the middle ages Orford was an important port and fishing village and still has an Medieval castle. Orford Castle was built by Henry II and was passed on to Richard I; an important structure with an unusual history, it is extremely well preserved and a great example of a revolutionary polygonal keep. 

Orford castle is responsible for a strange legend; the tale of Orford’s wild man of the sea. The story goes that fishermen caught a man in their net and brought him to Orford castle to be kept a prisoner, during his time at the castle the man behaved very strangely, eating raw fish and seemingly unable to speak. He soon escaped and made his way back into the sea and the myth has survived through the years with figures of the wild man appearing locally, in the marketplace, church and the castle itself. 


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Location


Orford Highlights

1. Orford Castle

Towns & Villages - Orford - Castle

Soaring over the town, with views over Orford Ness, and home to the village museum is the Castle. Built between 1165 and 1173 by Henry II to consolidate Royal power in the region, the well-preserved keep stands amongst the earth-covered works of the outer fortification.


2. Orford Ness Nature Reserve

Towns & Villages - Orford - Orford Ness

A ten mile long shingle spit, with marsh, lagoons and waterways, Orford Ness Nature Reserve was the haunt of smugglers in the 1800’s, and later became a Ministry of Defence Atomic Weapons Research Centre. Orford Ness has a long history of experimental work much of which is still top secret today. Britain’s first atomic weapon, Blue Danube, was developed and tested in the ‘pagodas’ which dominate the coastline. The skeletal remains of other buildings used during the two world wars and the Cold War are still scattered across the shingle.


3. Orford Church 

Towns & Villages - Orford - Church

Grade I Listed St Bartholomews Church, built in the 14th century, with 12th century remains attached, has been voted one of the best churches in the UK and has stunning acoustics, making any performances a must!


Useful Information

Check out the Find My Nearest website for helpful information on parking, public toilets, leisure centres, libraries, train stations, cinemas, theatres and museums.


Public Conveniences and Baby Changing Facilities


Town Marsh Car Park, Quay Street, IP12 2NU Bakers Lane, IP12 2LE (back of Town Hall). Please note, there are no disabled toilets or baby changing facilities available.

Download this useful Explorers Walking Guide of Orford to give you some inspiration during your visit!


How to Get to Orford - Public Transport

With Suffolk on Board you can plan journeys using public transport from and to a town or village, named station or stop, or point of interest.

As many destinations along the Suffolk coast are rural there can be limited public transport services on many routes, but there are journey solutions through various local community transport services that will get you to where you want to go/your final destination. These tend to need to be booked in advance but you can find out more and plan your journey at Suffolk on Board. 

By Bus:

Local services running to/from Woodbridge and Ipswich. Bus timetables available from Suffolk on Board

By Rail:

Nearest rail station is Woodbridge with services to Lowestoft, Ipswich, London and on-going connections from Ipswich to Norwich and Cambridge.Tickets and timetable are available on the Greater Anglia website and via the app

Car Parks in Orford

The most convenient ways to find parking places in East Suffolk are either via Find My Nearest, and where parking fees apply the council’s RingGo parking service .

The free RingGo app allows drivers to locate a parking place before starting their journey, receive navigation to it, see how busy car parks are within an area, pay for your parking session and extend it if you need to. Signing up to RingGo is as easy as entering your car’s registration and your payment details.  Find out more about registering and using the service on the RingGo how it works page.

Town Marsh Car Park, Quay Street - IP12 2NU - Pay and Display

Travel Information & News

For the latest travel information listen to or visit BBC Radio Suffolk 

For local news, visit the East Anglian Daily Times of Eastern Daily Press websites.

Covid-19 testing in Suffolk

You can find useful information on Covid-19 testing on the Government website here;

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing/get-tested-for-coronavirus/

Local information on how and where to get a PCR test if you have symptoms can be found on Suffolk County Council’s website here;

https://www.suffolk.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/getting-a-test/covid-19-testing-in-suffolk/

Local information on how and where to get a rapid lateral flow test if you do not have symptoms can be found on Suffolk County Council’s website here;

https://www.suffolk.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/getting-a-test/covid-19-asymptomatic-testing/