A visitors guide to the charming seaside village of Orford in
Suffolk, with its mix of quaint cottages and elegant houses.
Orford lies on the River Ore and is yet another port that was eventually
cut off from the sea when a large shingle spit grew across the harbour
mouth. This ten mile shingle spit named Orford Ness is the largest
vegetated shingle spit in Europe and a haven for wildlife.
It was once used as a secret military site and there are still some
buildings left over from the Cold War years. Orford Ness is now managed
by the National Trust and at its easterly point is a red and white
lighthouse that has not been used since 1627.
The village has an attractive quay where you can take a number of boat
trips ranging from one to four hours. Some of the trips are across to
Havergate Island and Orford Ness. Havergate Island houses one of the
oldest colonies of avocets and is owned by the Royal Society of
Protection of Birds.
For Holiday Accommodation in Orford Suffolk and nearby - Self Catering -
Holiday Cottages - and Bed and Breakfast check out our Orford
Holiday Accommodation Pages. The village has a butchers, a supply stores
with a delicatessens, off licence, pubs/inns and a renowned fish
This area offers sailing, fishing, walking, bird watching and is popular
with artists and photographers. Orford is also famous for its oyster
beds and many of the pubs and restaurants offer fresh fish and oysters
on their menus. Eateries include The Kings Head Inn; The Crown and
Castle; Butley Orford Oysterage and The Jolly Sailor Inn.
The historic town of Orford is set around the impressive ruins of a 12th
century Norman castle with a five storey Great Tower still intact. Built
by Henry II as a coastal defence against invaders from the sea as well
as putting out of joint the nose of Hugh Bigod the owner of Framlingham
Castle. Henry drained the nearby marshes to build the castle, which in
turn changed the coastal geography and turned Orford into a sheltered
Orford castle is one of the earliest castle whose entire building
accounts still exist, the Castle is now looked after by English
Heritage. Great views can be enjoyed from the top of the Great Tower,
which is some ninety feet in height. In the time of King Henry II in the
early 1200s the fishermen of Orford caught a merman in their fishing
nets. Bartholemew de Glanville was in charge of the castle at Orford at
this time and it was to him that the fishermen of Orford dragged this
naked man. He had a long shaggy beard and was covered in hair and seemed
to be more at home in the water than ever he was on the land. He was
confined to the dungeons in Orford Castle and did not speak even when he
was tortured so the story goes. His captors allowed him to swim in the
sea but guarded him with nets. Despite these precautions he easily swam
under the nets but returned to his captors of his own free will. Then
one day he dove under the nets and was never seen again.