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Sep 2016+

ōra shore + ford Old English (river) crossing.

Population - 658.

Suffolk Coat of Arms

The size of the car park next the Jolly Sailor should be a clue to the popularity of this place. Rightly so, there's an active sailing scene down on the quay and the village itself is pure picture postcard.

It's a 5-minute walk from the salt water to the centre where the plaudited  Pump Street Bakery is an option although they're closed on Mondays. They supply a load of local businesses and were even name-dropped at the 2015 Oscars.

Local writer Mat Kirkby won some short award[1] or other and recommended their rhubarb doughnuts on which he's literally  dining out now.

If you really want to go to town on the grub front, there's an  Oysterage? and TV's ex-Hotel Inspector[2] co-owns the restaurant in the  Crown and Castle that boasts 'Rosettage'?

[1] That'll just be the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short  Film, then?
[2] Not Polizzi but Ruth Watson, the nice one that you've all but forgotten about.

  Pump Street Bakery (Pump Street)

Highly-plaudited bakery and café that's closed on Mondays. Can't vouch for the rhubarb doughnuts but thumbs up to the Eccles cake eaten elsewhere. They're well known locally and now export their rye crumb, milk & sea salt chocolate bars to Newcastle-upon-Tyne where they can be found in Fenwicks' Food Hall.

Penny's Café used to be an acceptable alternative next door although their bacon could have done with another minute. The block's since been redeveloped for holiday homes with Penny's no more and relocation of the Orford General Store.

The tables outside were a suntrap and the family on the next table were discussing their favourite Middle Eastern, get this, desert[1]. Shame it was a Monday, should have been in Pump Street discussing our favourite dessert.

[1] The  Judaean seems to get the nod since you ask.

Orford Ness is just over the river and is a 10-mile long shingle spit formed by the local tide.

Now a National Trust™ site, it was previously under military rule and the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment set up shop, no less. The abandoned pagodas were used to test post World War II explosive charges. Nothing nuclear they say but you're still not really allowed nowhere near them.

Although maps indicate there's land access from the north at Aldeburgh, there isn't and the National Trust™ ferry is the only way across.

They don't run on Sundays or Mondays so whatever you do, don't read about this on a Saturday then make a mental note not to go to Orford on a Monday then go to Orford on a Monday. Honestly!

There's a 12th-century castle that  English Heritage™ will let you in for some pounds. King Henry the whoever had a hand in the polygonal tower but enough of the history lesson, let's head straight to the top.

That certainly is quite a view and yes, the hues have been tweaked but this one's now hanging on the wall.

Back on the ground, there's an anti-clockwise loop to be walked through this type of terrain. Head west then south and return to the quay by walking atop the 'sea defence' and if that sounds a bit dramatic, just quoting the guidebook.

It's just a raised, grassy wall, really, but it seems to be doing the job well enough and here's what happens when you don't have one.

Meanwhile, back at the castle, the view from the top is worth the admission alone and these, admittedly enhanced, things were visible on the horizon.

Orford Castle (Atop) - What the?

A couple of older toffs didn't know, neither... 'Margaret, there are some Geordies on the roof in T-Shirts!' he hollered down the stairs to his wife.

Toffs are great aren't they? Margaret turns out to be an Aston Villa fan and was still smarting at a recent rare win for the Magpies. She knew her stuff did Margaret although  Paul Lambert managed to last a little bit longer in his tenure than her prediction.

Returning the next year, they had gone, and the toffs, by the way. Anybody?

  Orford Ness National Nature Reserve

National Trust™ run site that's accessible only by seasonal ferry but not on a Monday or a Sunday. Hares and Chinese water deer offer a distraction from the wading birds although you won't get a better view of them pagodas than from up the castle. Once you're over there, they don't allow you anywhere near them, you see.