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Orford, Woodbridge, Suffolk, IP12 2LJ
The Crown and Castle is situated in the heart of Orford, a peaceful village on the beautiful Suffolk coast. There has been a hostelry on the site for eight centuries. The original inn was, apparently, built into the walls of the C12th Orford Castle but is now separated from it by a little lane.
Co-owned by Ruth Watson, David Watson and Tim Sunderland, the Crown and Castle has 21 bedrooms and a lively bistro, the Trinity, which serves decent, unpretentious food. Menus, which change regularly reflect local seasonal produce with lighter 'bar' snacks, pub food and restaurant level cuisine.
We have stayed here on three separate occasions in rooms across the tariffs- from the dog friendly garden rooms to prime rooms overlooking Orford Castle (dreamy and romantic) and have yet to be disappointed. The dog friendly rooms do not smell of dog either -something that concerned us when we had to be moved there one night.
The rooms are beautifully decorated and it is clear that the co-owner, Ruth Watson has taken full charge of how they look sourcing quirky and good quality furnishings and fittings. Every room has an individuality that pleases.
The stuffed cat on the chair in the entrance lobby amazed me with its placid nature, not paying a blind bit of notice to what went on. It took me two days to realise that it was dead.
So richly furnished, comfortable and warm that we were reluctant to go elsewhere, we played scrabble in the bar snug in front of the open fire and then went into the adjacent dining area to eat very well. The food is a riff off contemporary British with that twist of mainland European technique and influence that you so often see. Touches of other cultures could be seen- SE Asian or North African flavours but all the ingredients were local, seasonal and fresh.
Nothing about the Crown & Castle is overblown. The place is pitch perfect and if the accommodation prices are a bit on the higher side, they do offer frequent seasonal deals and it is worth keeping a close eye out for these.
Orford itself is a great place to spend a few days. The shops are independent and speciality from the famous Pump Street Bakery and Orford Pinneys cafe with attached Butley Orford Oysterage to the Suffolk Butcher. There are great pubs, the castle and Orford Ness to visit plus the entire Heritage Suffolk Coastline and the countryside villages to visit.
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