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The Crown and Castle

Orford Ness

Orford Ness, the 12-mile long shingle spit that separates the rivers Alde and Ore from the North Sea, is  riveting. Until only 20 years ago, the Ministry of Defence used this desolate place to test nuclear weapons, and the sinister remnants of their work remains scattered across the landscape. On the plus side, the huge security blanket that existed for decades has ensured a natural paradise for a wide variety of sea-faring birds, particularly the rare avocet.

  • Coastguard's look-out

  • Lab 5

  • Lab 5

  • Administration building

  • Lighthouse and support buildings

Owned by the National Trust nowadays, visitors can take the ferry across from Orford quay and gaze in wonder at the beautiful, if sometimes eery, scenery.

The Ness is closed completely during the winter months from November to Easter. It is open on Saturdays only from Easter to the end of June, then from Tuesday to Saturday in the school summer holidays and back to Saturdays only in October. Access is by ferry from Orford quay, the first departure starting at 10am and the final one at 2pm. The last ferry back from the Ness is at 5pm.

There are full details of opening hours and ferry crossing times in our guest information folder but if you are planning a visit to Orford with the sole intent of visiting the Ness please check with reception that it is possible to go across.