Orford Castle


Book a visit to Orford Castle to bring medieval history to life. Explore from the basement, through the lower and upper halls, to the roof, where there are magnificent views towards Orford Ness. 

Please note: Education visits are currently not available at this site.

Information about your visit

Our number one priority remains the health, safety and security of all of our visitors, staff and volunteers. Our staff are still working hard to keep everyone safe and make sure you and your group have an enjoyable visit.

You and your group don’t need to have a COVID Pass to visit, but please don’t visit if you or any of your group have symptoms of Covid-19, have tested positive or if you’ve been asked to self-isolate. We’ll always follow the latest government guidance, and if anything changes we’ll update this page to let you know our plans.

Important information to consider before you book:

  • Face coverings are now legally required in all our indoor public places, including our visitor centres, shops, on all on-site transport, and in our cafes except when you are eating or drinking (unless exempt)
  • To keep everyone safe we’re continuing to limit visitor numbers at some sites and in some indoor spaces. Please book as soon as possible to secure your preferred trip date and times.
  • In order to process your enquiry as quickly as possible, please ensure you have provided the following information, or have this information ready when you speak to one of our advisers: visit arrival and departure time; age range of the group; subject(s) to be studied; learning objective; number of learners and leaders; name of trip organiser; name of trip leader; SEND requirements. Go to our bookings page to make an enquiry or update an existing booking.
  • Find out more about what to expect on your school visit and make sure you download our COVID risk assessments; download a free copy of managing education visits during the pandemic and if you're participating in a Discovery Visit download our managing Discovery Visits during the pandemic risk assessment
  • To make the planning process as easy as possible, make sure you check our Plan Your School Trip section at the bottom of this page, for updated information on the facilities at the site as well as our free resources.
  • You’ll need to book your visit at least 14 days in advance. Please check our terms and conditions for full details.
  • Although is it not a requirement, any teachers, parents, or students aged 16 years can check in via the NHS Test and Trace app, using the NHS QR code posters displayed at the site entrance. Please factor this into your travel/arrival time. For more information about how we are handling your personal data for NHS Test and Trace please visit this page.

At some sites you might not be able to use our handling collections or costumes as part of a free self-led visit, but where we can provide hands-on items in a safe way we will. We’ve adapted our Discovery Visit workshops to keep you and your group safe at all times, but for certain sessions we’re still working on this – please check the Discovery Visit section and Facilities section on this page below for further information.

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Curriculum links

Bring the curriculum to life at Orford Castle:

  • KS1-3 History: Local History study. Significant historical events, people and places in their own locality
  • KS1-2 Geography: Understand where Orford Castle was built, and why its location was so important to king Henry II
  • KS1-KS2 Drama: Links between the building and people who used it through various role play
  • KS2 History: Extend pupils' chronological knowledge beyond 1066
  • KS2-3 Geography: Place Orford Castle in its geographical context
  • KS3 History: The development of Church, state and society in Medieval Britain 1066-1509; The development of Church, state and society in Britain 1509 -1745
  • KS3 Maths, Design & Technology: Understand that Orford Castle’s shape was carefully designed using simple geometry
  • KS4 History: OCR Specification A; study of the historic environment: ‘Castles: Form and Function c.1000-1750’

Free self-led visits

Bring learning to life and book your free self-led visit to Orford Castle, to discover one of England's best preserved and most unique keeps. Explore from the basement to the roof, and follow a maze of passages leading to the chapel, kitchen and other chambers in the turrets, to imagine what life was like in a medieval castle. Learn more about local history in the Orford Museum, located upstairs in the castle.

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Pre-visit learning

From early Norman motte and bailey castles to sophisticated medieval structures: watch this animation to discover how castles developed and why they were as much about status as defence. 

Plan Your Trip

We have a wide range of materials to support your visit and make school trip planning easy. Download our free resources to help make the most out of your visit and create unique learning experiences before, during and after your trip.


We offer free planning visits for group leaders once you have made a booking. Our Education Booking Team are on hand to advise and help you create the best possible school trip to suit your needs and area of study. 


  • Facilities
    • PARKING There is no coach parking at the castle. The free car park 50 metres from the entrance is drop-off only. Coaches can use the pay-and-display parking available at Orford Quay Car Park.
    • TOILETS: There are no toilets on site for visitors but there are free public toilets close to the castle, located on Market Hill. Please speak to a member of staff and they will direct you.
    • LUNCH: Food and drink are not permitted inside the castle, but there are benches near the keep where picnicking is encouraged.
    • SHOP: The shop is well stocked with memorabilia for your students to buy and take home. We ask that you help our staff by supervising your students and only allowing ten in the shop at any one time.
    • STORAGE Unfortunately, there are no bag storage facilities at the castle.
  • Learning Resources

    A Teachers' Kit is a free educational tool packed with everything you need to give your group a deep insight into the place you are visiting. Featuring historical information, suggestions for activities, and high-quality images, this resource is a comprehensive toolkit for group leaders of various subjects and key stages. Kits also include key site information, facilities, plans and hazard information.

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