Great British Boltholes: The Crown & Castle in Suffolk is a village gem that’s fit for a king
- The Crown And Castle in Orford, Suffolk, is a restaurant with 21 rooms
- There’s an Italian thread running through the menu and vegetarian options
- It also has five dog-friendly bedrooms and a dog-friendly table at the restaurant
Is the tiny fishing village of Orford the best-kept secret in Suffolk? It may not be the most obvious destination, but spend a weekend here and you’ll certainly be charmed.
King Henry II built a castle here in the 12th Century and there’s the equally ancient St Bartholomew’s Church. And nothing beats strolling along Orford’s shingle spit.
In the heart of the village sits The Crown And Castle, a restaurant with 21 rooms which attracts locals and visitors alike for Sunday roasts and intimate seafood dinners.
Alluring: The entrance to The Crown And Castle. It houses a restaurant and 21 bedrooms
Expect to enjoy unfussy fare, with bread from the Pump Street Bakery just around the corner and fish landed locally and smoked at the village smokehouse.
There’s an Italian thread running through the menu – fresh pappardelle, cavolo nero, olive oil sauce and parmesan is a favourite. But the 28-day dry-aged sirloin with all the trimmings is the star.
In the morning you’ll wake to the sound of birdsong. Open the shutters and you’re greeted by a stunning, unobstructed view of the castle. Breakfast is a triumph – undyed smoked haddock, with a poached egg on top, and the full English.
There’s plenty of choice too for vegetarians or those who don’t like fish, such as Somerset ricotta and fruit on sourdough toast with runny chestnut or acacia honey.
You’re kindly reminded not to use a mobile in the restaurant so make the most of it and enjoy the surrounding chatter.
Walk off those calories with a stroll to the quayside, the National Trust site on Orford Ness or RSPB sanctuary on Havergate Island.
A peek inside the suite at The Crown & Castle, which also has dog-friendly garden bedrooms
The Trust has created several trails guiding you through Orford Ness, a former military test site and First World War airfield – now home to marshland birds – to see buildings including Laboratory 1 of the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment (AWRE).
USP: Excellent location with no car required when exploring. The Crown And Castle has five dog-friendly garden bedrooms (and a dog-friendly table at the restaurant). No children under the age of eight are allowed in the rooms or restaurant.
The rooms: I loved the Best Terrace Room, located in the recently renovated Small Outhouse, for its views of the castle, retro print upholstery, anglepoise lamps, super-king bed and walk-in shower.
The food: Award-winning bistro mixes Italian dishes with locally sourced seafood and meat. A set three-course lunch costs £19.50.
The Crown & Castle, Orford, Suffolk. Rooms start from £140 a night with breakfast. Book a two-night stay between Sunday and Thursday until the end of July (quoting the Good Britten package) and you will get free entry to Benjamin Britten’s former home, the Red House, a jug of Pimm’s plus a two-course dinner and breakfast both days from £380 for two.