Orford Ness Beach (Orfordness)

The technical description of Orford Ness as a cuspate foreland shingle spit doesn’t really do much to explain the uniqueness of this atmospheric spot on the Suffolk coast.

Much of the mystery of Orford Ness relates to its past as a military research establishment. There are still plenty of reminders of this with buildings such as the Bomb Ballistics Building, the Black Beacon and the ‘pagodas’ lurking behind the beach.

Along with this secretive military past go any number of rumours and conspiracy theories. These include UFO sightings and the cover up of a war-time Nazi landing.

Another iconic feature of Orford Ness was the abandoned lighthouse. Sadly the red and white banded building was demolished in 2020 as the sea was eroding the beach and the structure was becoming dangerous.

The beach, and nature reserve onto which it backs, are now owned by the National Trust. There aren’t much in the way of facilities here but the village of Orford is only around a mile away.

Also known as:


Type of beach


Lifeguard service


Dogs friendly beach?

Dog ban in force

Orford Ness is a nature reserve with fragile habitats so dogs are not allowed (assistance dogs are welcome)

Suffolk dog friendly beaches »


  • Toilets

Nearest town


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TM 4486 4874

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Orford Ness Beach Reviews

Desolate, tranquil - defies description

May 03rd 2022

Orford Ness beach runs along the eastern side of this 10-mile-long vegetated shingle spit. It’s absolutely beautiful in a brutalist sort of way. When we visited there was no public access to the beach due to conservation concerns but the ridge above it is still worth a visit. You can only reach this amazing site via the National Trust ferry, which runs regularly from Orford Quay at weekends and some weekdays during the summer.

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