Woodbridge & Orford
This area of Suffolk is extremely popular all year round! The two main locations, Woodbridge and Orford, magnificent places to stay and visit and both are surrounded by an array of delightful villages that are well worth a visit.
Woodbridge is an attractive, historic, riverside town at the navigable head of the beautiful river Deben some 9 miles from the sea at Bawdsey Quay. The town’s ancient centre has retained all its old world charm and has some great restaurants, friendly pubs, fine galleries and antique shops. The town rather divides itself into two, with much activity down by the river including sailing, rowing, riverside walking and feeding the ducks. Uphill is the magnificent parish church of St Mary’s just off Market Hill where the ancient Shire Hall dominates the square.
Head West out of the town and you will find the village of Sutton, famous for Sutton Hoo, the Anglo-Saxon royal ship burial site now owned by the National Trust. Carry on along the river towards the coast and you will find the pretty village of. Bawdsey. Famous for developing the first Chain Home RDF (radar) system. Today there is a museum in the transmitter house.
The Deben estuary provides not only breathtaking views but also a small beach, a beach cafe and boat trips from the quay upriver and across to the small fishing village of Felixstowe Ferry. Hollesley is another pretty village along this stretch of coastline which is home to the Suffolk Punch, a fascinating heavy horse once used extensively on farms but now very scarce. The Suffolk Punch Trust based in Hollesley makes a wonderful day out for all the family. For those that seek to be close to the elements and the sea, head to Shingle Street. Not a street, but a very remote and atmospheric stretch of shingle. Simply go for a walk along this stretch of shingle beach and enjoy the views - simply breathtaking.
Orford is the one of the prettiest towns in Suffolk. Once a medieval seaport and stronghold, Orford now has been distanced from the sea by an intriguing shingle spit - Orford Ness - the longest in Europe. Dominated by a magnificent church and castle keep, Orford is sleepy and relaxed yet boasts two excellent pubs, an award-winning general stores, The Butley Orford Oysterage and The Trinity Bistro at The Crown and Castle - two superb restaurants, an intriguing smokery, a riverside tea rooms and the nationally renowned Pump Street Bakery. There is a choice of boat trips from the quay with the option of having a river cruise lunch on The Lady Florence. The river bank is delightful and there are lots of forest walks, the fascinating castle keep, the magnificent church - all must be explored.
Walk westwards along the Gedgrave Road towards the Butley River, where the local oysters are grown, and you will be treated to some stupendous views of Orfordness. Chillesford is a small village just outside Orford that is worth visiting when dining at The Froize Inn - great for Sunday lunch but do book in advance! Butley is another village nearby to Orford which is known for its 14th century Augustinian monastery of which only the gatehouse remains - now a ‘fairytale’ wedding venue.
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