One of the marvellous things about Orford is that in the midst of unchanging landscapes and absolute tranquillity, there is still a lot to do. Only yards from the hotel stands the magnificent C12th Orford Castle (strictly speaking just a keep) built by Henry II. It has far-reaching views from the battlements but historians believe it was built more for prestige than defence.
To the west of the village lie Tunstall and Rendlesham forests. It’s impossible to exhaust the wonderful walks these magnificent, ancient woods provide but if the beauty of 500-year old oak trees does start to pall there are always the coastal and river paths to explore. Excavations at Sutton Hoo in 1939 uncovered the ship-burial of an Anglo-Saxon warrior king, including the iconic Sutton Hoo helmet, weapons and priceless royal treasures. Intriguing insights into Britain’s history are offered by the Sutton Hoo exhibition, including a full-size reconstruction of the burial chamber.
About 20 miles to the north of Orford are Dunwich beach and Minsmere a protected RSPB site.
For walkers, the Butley Ferry is now working and open until the end of October. Crossings are not bookable, but if the weather is dodgy and you want to confirm that the ferry is operating, the voicemail message on the mobile number 07913 672499 will tell you what’s happening.