Visiting Orford Ness: What you need to know

Orford Ness has now opened for the 2022 season. Please check the opening times calendar on the home page for our open days. Booking is now open, with a further week's tickets being released each Thursday morning to maintain roughly a two week advance booking window. Below is the latest information to help you plan your visit.

Booking your visit

Due to boat capacity you'll need to book your visit to Orford Ness in advance. If you arrive without a booking, you'll unfortunately be turned away. Tickets go on sale via our website each Thursday, releasing an extra week's tickets on a rolling basis to maintain roughly a two week advance booking period. Tickets are in very high demand and frequently sell out quickly and so we recommend you book early to avoid disappointment.


Tickets are for a timed outbound ferry from Orford Quay to Orford Ness but once on the island you are free to stay as long as you like as long as you don’t miss the last ferry back to the mainland at 5pm. Tickets are to book the ferry fare and for admission to Orford Ness.
National Trust Members will only pay the ferry fare.

  • Please book one ticket per person including a free ticket for under 5s to allow us to accommodate the correct  number of passengers on our ferry. You’ll need to choose your ferry time when booking for the day you want to visit.
  • Each member of your party must have a ticket to comply with boat licencing requirements.
  • Your booked slot includes time to check in and your ferry will depart promptly at the end time stated on your ticket slot. 
  • Ferries depart promptly and sadly, if you arrive after your booked time we may not be able to accomodate you,
  • Tickets are for your use only and are not available for resale.
  • Tickets are only for the booked time and date stated.
  • We'll send your booking confirmation by email. Please make sure you fill in your correct email address when you book to ensure you receive your confirmation email.

On arrival

There is no parking on Orford Quay, please use the main Riverside car park. The car park is not owned by the National Trust and therefore you will need to buy a ticket. The pay and display machines accept coins and cards (£4 for up to 8 hours).

Please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your ferry and check in at our office on Orford Quay. Please have your booked ticket ready to show our staff, either on your phone or a printed copy. If you’re a member, you’ll also need to show your membership card.

In order to manage capacity, please arrive within your timeslot. Sadly, if you arrive after the departure time of your ferry, we won’t be able to guarantee your entry.

We recommend allowing at least 3-4 hours for your visit.

Full details of our facilities and access can be found on our Home page.

What's open?

All our visitor troutes are now open, now that ground nesting birds have fledged. Our main visitor route (The Red route) takes you through coastal grazing marshes and out onto the vegetated shingle. Our Blue route has now opened and offers a short cut across the Airfield Marshes while the Green route takes you on a 4 mile extension through the Kings' Marsh. The majority of the  public buildings, including the Island of Secrets exhibition in the NAAFI, are open  but the Information Building is currently closed while we prepare a new exhibition and the Control Room is also currently closed. 

Our toilets are open but there are no catering facilities on site, so please bring your own refreshments with you.

We can’t currently hand out maps, but you can purchase a trail guide at our office when checking in (£2.50) or you can download a map from our website to bring with you.

If you’re showing any of the symptoms of coronavirus, or if you've been in contact
with anyone that has the virus in the last 10 days, please don’t visit.

Accessibility

New for 2022 we have a range of new accesibility vehicles to make travelling around Orford Ness easier.

  • Two manual wheelchairs
  • A 6 seater electric vehicle (driven by staff or volunteers)
  • A self-drive Tramper mobility scooter

These vehicles are available on a first come, first served basis and in the case of the 6 seat vehicle subject to driver availibility. These vehicles also need to be booked in advance, please call 01394 450900 to make your booking.

Other facilities available include

  • Accesible toilet in Rangers office
  • Induction loop in Quay Office

Weather

Orford Ness is an exposed coastal location and your safety is important to us. We monitor the weather forecasts and if weather conditions mean it would be unsafe to operate our ferry, we close our site. Please check for any emergency notices on our website before travelling.

Changing your booking

If your plans change and you can’t make it to visit us, you can easily change your booking. We really appreciate you doing this as soon as possible so the tickets can be made available for other visitors. 

If you set up an account when you made your booking, you will be able to amend the date or time of your booking online up to 24 hours before the date of your visit, or by calling 0344 249 1895.