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Staycation review – The Pavilion – Orford, Suffolk

By Rachel Ducker

Unsurprisingly, Orford is one of the more popular destinations for those on weekend visits to the Suffolk Coast and is quite possibly one of the prettiest.

From its unique castle to quaint cottages, oysterage, famous smokehouse and award-winning artisan bakery, it’s an ideal place to spend a day or two.

The village overlooks Orford Ness, a ten-mile-long shingle spit linked to the mainland at Aldeburgh divided by the River Alde. It is ranked among the most important shingle features in the world. Here you will discover some rare and fragile wildlife, although back in the day its remoteness made it a prime location for weapons testing, including atomic bombs, though it’s hard to believe that now.

The property

On the banks of the River Alde, The Pavilion – available to rent through Suffolk Secrets – is within a minutes’ walk of the quayside, and Aldeburgh, Woodbridge and the RSPB reserve at Minsmere are all within easy distance.

With its own private road and five acres of land, this property is a secluded getaway away for those wanting quality time with family and friends all year round.  

This unique holiday home comes with five bedrooms, it has an upside-down living concept, so the master bedroom is on the top level with panoramic views of the river and its own private balcony, whilst the remaining rooms are on the ground floor.

The décor throughout is very much coastal chic and draws inspiration from its picturesque surroundings.

Its open plan living space invites the outside in, complete with a balcony that wraps the entire first floor. Its bright and airy with large bi-fold doors that lead out to a further outdoor entertaining area. It has, undoubtably, the best location throughout the whole of the village.

The Pavilion was ideal for a large group such as ours, the kitchen diner is large but minimalist with a table for ten, and a kitchen bar. It’s very well appointed with glasses, plates and cutlery for every occasion. There is even a wine fridge to keep those bottles perfectly chilled.

It’s such a lovely home that you’d be forgiven for wanting to stay put, enjoying long evenings with a bottle of wine and some board games, and local walks during the day.

Food and drink

The best part about a self-catering holiday is getting to explore the local eateries and in Orford I am happy to report you are spoilt for choice.

For breakfast we headed to the award-winning Pump Street Bakery, which was a hit with everyone especially my son Leo who is a massive fan of Pain Au Chocolats’ (which he is allowed on special occasions).

This artisan bakery attracts critics and foodies from all over the UK. Here you will find all sorts of delicious breads and pastries, including ‘Britain’s Best Baguette’.

They also make their own chocolate which makes fabulous souvenir gifts.  

For dinner, there are a few pubs in the local area, we dined one evening at The Jolly Sailor. You can’t get much more Suffolk than a plate of classic pub grub and a pint of Adnams.

If you are into your seafood then here you will find some of the freshest in the area, the Butley Orford Oysterage restaurant sends out two fishing boards every day to bring back the catch, or if you want to take something away, pop into Pinney’s smokehouse for some exquisite delicacies.

Things to do

We did a lot of wandering during our stay – as a lot of activities in Orford are seasonal, such as seal spotting and the ferry to Orford Ness.

We did, however, enjoy visiting the castle. It has one of England’s most unusual keeps and its polygonal tower is totally unique. Due to its excellent preservation it means visitors can explore the chapels and halls.

The church is beautiful and was a favourite place of the well-known composer Benjamin Britten who performed some of his church parables here as well as the first performance of his opera, Noye’s Fludde.

The quay is traditional and, in the summer, a great place for crabbing. For something really special, moored here you will find the Lady Florence River Cruise Restaurant. A charming boat that takes up to 12 passages out on the river for lunch or dinner. How wonderful.

Added extras

Speaking of summer activates, The Pavilion also comes with its own tennis courts and heated outdoor swimming pool. It can be used May-September and is a great place for adults and children alike. Although these were not in use during the time of my visit, the house is also very cosy in the winter, think snuggly blankets and watching the stars through the properties very hi tech telescope.

The verdict

The Pavilion is the perfect escape for a large family or a group of friends. It’s a holiday home that you will be proud to hold the keys to for a few days.

With five bedrooms, the best thing about this home is space. Even with ten of you staying there, there is plenty of space to feel relaxed. I travelled with a two year old and a newborn baby – the facilities at The Pavilion cater to family life perfectly.

After so long of being apart from group activities and family, this house makes the perfect space to reconnect and recharge.

My highlights during the stay

Being in one place with all of my family and friends and watching the sun rise over the river from the master bedroom balcony.


Fact box

This is a unique stay for up to 10 guests.

House available through Suffolk Secrets here > https://www.suffolk-secrets.co.uk/woodbridge-surrounding-villages/orford-cottages/pav-the-pavilion