Suffolk Coast: Exploring Orford
PUBLISHED: 11:28 03 July 2017 | UPDATED: 11:28 03 July 2017
Epicurious visitors to the county should definitely include a visit to this charming coastal spot, where there's an award-winning eatery or producer practically at every turn
What to see and do
English Heritage managed Orford Castle is one of the most complete keeps in England and has an unusual polygonal tower. Explore the basement, halls and passages through the chapel and kitchen. The view from the top is pretty incredible too, so take your camera.
Another statuesque building is the striking red and white Orfordness Lighthouse, which has an open day on July 30. Due to erosion, the lighthouse is at risk and the trust that operates it isn’t sure how much longer it will survive. So go and pay a visit while you can.
Book a Wildlife River Trip with the RSPB. Lasting two-and-a-half hours, the journey takes you along the Alde-Ore estuary, which is rich in wildlife, and lands on Havergate Island, famous for avocets, terns and brown hares, before heading on back to Orford Quay. www.rspb.org.uk for bookings.
Take a lunchtime or sunset cruise out on the Lady Florence, enjoying the views across the Alde and Ore, while dining on homemade food made with local produce.
Parking and toilets
Quay Street (parking and toilets)
Bakers Lane (toilets including disabled)
Orford Castle (parking)
Market Hill (parking)
Did you know?
Oscar-winning director Mat Kirkby, whose film, The Phone Call, won Best Live Action Short in 2015 mentioned Orford’s Pump Street Bakery in his acceptance speech.
Of course you’ll have to pay a visit to Pinney’s down at Butley Creek. The business has a fresh fish counter, and a frozen selection of homemade crab cakes, potted crabs and more to take home for supper. A range of smoked fish is available to buy too, plus pickles, olives and other deli items.
To go with your fish, a loaf or two of Pump Street sourdough is a real treat, as are the sausage rolls and Eccles cakes). And next door to Pump Street, Orford General Store is well-stocked with local produce, interesting wines, and much more.
Newer to the village is Orford Meat Shed in Baker’s Lane, which sells fresh local meat and deli items, including lots of different flavours of Lymn Bank Farm cheese.
Orford Crafts, the shop with all the baskets out front, sells lots of items either locally made or with a Suffolk theme, from baskets and pottery to preserves. Upstairs is a display of information from Suffolk Underwater Studies about the Suffolk shoreline, including details of the underwater medieval Dunwich.
Eating and drinking
Orford is full of excellent places to eat. Try Pump Street Bakery for pastries to take away and nibble on, or you can sit at the communal table and enjoy a changing menu of seasonal plates and bowls, like the bakery’s sourdough breads topped with ricotta, comb honey and pine nuts. www.pumpstreetbakery.com
Butley Orford Oysterage was featured recently as one of the best places to eat in the UK. Serving its own smoked fish (from Pinney’s down by the quay), the Oysterage focuses on doing simple things well. Griddled prawns with garlic butter, homemade fish pie, or a platter of oaky smoked mackerel. Desserts are all homemade. www.pinneysoforford.co.uk/the-restaurant
For dinner there’s The Crown and Castle, a finalist for Best Restaurant in this year’s EADT Suffolk Food and Drink Awards. The dining area has a homely feel and the menu has an Italian slant, driven by flavour and seasonality. www.crownandcastle.co.uk
The King’s Head is a traditional 13th century inn, family friendly and welcoming to dogs. It serves homemade seasonal food and Adnams ales. On July 16 the pub hosts a quiz from 8pm, or pop in for live music from Paul Pryce on August 26.