Orford Castle

School Visits

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. 


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. You can find all our site-specific information and tools below, and further information on our what to expect page.

Download our free resources to help you make the most out of your visit and create unique learning experiences before, during and after your trip. We also offer free planning visits once you have made a booking, plus a 20% discount on the official English Heritage guidebook for your place of choice.

Once you book your visit you’ll be sent a visit permit, which you’ll need to bring with you on the day.

Visit our bookings page to start planning your trip!

  • 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.
    • BAG STORAGE Unfortunately, there are no bag storage facilities at the castle.
    • ACCESSIBILITY: 9 long steps leading to the Castle, 21 to the shop entrance, 27 to the basement and 91 to the roof.
    • WET WEATHER: Visits to the inside of the castle will not be disrupted by wet weather.
  • Hazard Information

    A useful tool to help you with your risk assessments. 


    You must meet the following ratios for leaders to students on the day of your visit when booking, and if your group is forming smaller groups while at the site:

    • Ages 4-5 (UK Reception) 1 leader for every 4 students (1:4)
    • Ages 5-7 (UK Key Stage 1) 1 leader for every 6 students (1:6)
    • Ages 7-11 (UK Key Stage 2) 1 leader for every 10 students (1:10) and
    • Ages 11-18 (UK Key Stages 3, 4, and 5) 1 leader for every 15 students (1:15)
    • For an adult learning group, consisting of individuals all over the age of 18, there are no ratios but there must be an appointed group leader
    • All ratios outlined above apply to home education groups
    • If your group consists of children aged 3 and/or 4, you must also refer to the Early Years and Foundation Stage Statutory Framework which sets out specific legal requirements for minimum ratios for this age group, to include requirements about the qualifications of the leaders
    • SEND groups must meet the minimum ratios above but may bring any additional leaders as required to adequately support their group
  • Education Site Opening Times

    We offer free self-led education visits during school term time*

    *Free education visits are not offered on UK public holidays or during the operation of additional fee paying public events at English Heritage sites.

    • April-October: Monday-Sunday 10-5pm
    • November-March: Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays 10-4pm

Learning Resources

  • Orford Castle Teachers' Kit (KS1-KS4+)

    Our Teachers’ Kits feature historical information and activity suggestions for group leaders of various subjects and key stages.

  • Teaching Medieval History

    Use historical information, learning activities and tips from our historians, curators and educational experts to support your teaching of medieval history.

  • A Mini Guide to Castles

    ​Discover how castles developed over time with this short introduction.

  • How to Take a Medieval Castle

    Watch our short animation to learn more about how to take a medieval castle.