Through the Seasons- a guided tour of Havergate Island

Saturday 16 February to Sunday 20 October

The RSPB boat 'October Storm' will depart at Orford Quay at 9am and 12 noon. The guided walks on the island will last 3 hours and you will return to Orford Quay after around 3.5 hours.

Price: £19 for adult RSPB members; £24 for all others; 3 to 17s pay half of the adult prices. Places are strictly limited, so advance booking via eventbrite is essential

Booking essential

Come join us on one of our extremely popular boat trips to Havergate Island. This is a guided trip and so it is perfect if you want to learn a bit about the birds you are looking at, the history of the island and the current work which is going on. 

After the 20 minute boat journey from Orford Quay you will spend around 3 hours with your guide exploring this unique island in the Alde-Ore estuary before returning by boat to Orford. 

The RSPB  boat 'October Storm' will depart from Orford Quay at 9am and mid day (extra boats may be laid on if there is a high demand) and you will arrive back at Orford Quay at approx 12.45 and 3.30pm respectively. 

Places on these trips are strictly limited because of the small capacity of the RSPB boat, so please book early. We have no life saving equipment for under 3 year old children on our boat and therefore can not accept bookings for this age group.

We highly recommend stout footwear, warm clothing, wet weather clothing and sun protection at all times of year.

You need to have a reasonable level of fitness for this trip because it requires getting on and off the boat and a lot of walking on uneven and sometimes muddy ground on the island.

There are no refreshments available on the island. Visitors need to bring their own food and drink for these trips. We have one public toilet on the island.

In adverse weather conditions, the trip may be cancelled at short notice at the warden's discretion; in this case, you will get a full refund of your booking fee.

These trips run throughout the year on selected dates so you can have the oppertunity to see this changeable island throughout the seasons. Here is a flavour of what you are likely to see to help you pick your date.

In Autumn Avocets gather in large numbers in the Alde-Ore estuary. These elegant black and white wading birds will use the island to feed on the lagoons. Look out too, for many other migrant wading birds, ducks and smaller birds such as Wheatears that use Havergate Island as a re-fueling station on their journey to warmer climes. 

Winter is perhaps the toughest time of year to visit, but if you wrap up warm and pack your flask you will be rewarded with an atmospheric morning looking out onto the lagoons. Winter is the time when big numbers of duck like to hang out on Havergate. You can expect to see Pintail, Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler, Shelduck and Gadwall as well as a wide variety of waders. 

Come spring the island is starting to wake up with the saltmarsh wild flowers slowly coming into bloom and the seawalls start to come alive with butterflies. This is also a great time to watch brown hares,  migrant wading birds, late remaining ducks, barn owls and little egrets.

Late spring and early summer we close the island to limit disturbance to the breeding birds. But, if you book onto one of the late summer trips you can enjoy a lazy day watching the boats sail up and down the river, butterflies and other insects busy on the flowers and you can catch the last immature gulls and common terns preparing to fledge. This is a great time to see the spoonbills and wader numbers will be starting to grow. 

If you would like to discuss a specialised or private trip for your family or local wildlife group perhaps please contact us on


To book please follow this link to the eventbrite booking page


For general enquiries other than booking please contact us on


The RSPB boat 'October Storm' will depart from Orford Quay for the 20 minute ride to Havergate Island. Please ensure you arrive at Orford in good time and leave your car at the pay-and-display car park situated close to the quay. There are bicycle racks and public toilets at car the park.

Full list of dates

  • Saturday 16 February 2019
  • Sunday 24 February 2019
  • Sunday 10 March 2019
  • Saturday 23 March 2019
  • Wednesday 21 August 2019
  • Wednesday 28 August 2019
  • Saturday 28 September 2019
  • Sunday 20 October 2019

Where is it?

  • Lat/lng: 52.09063, 1.53863 (Google Maps)
  • Postcode: IP12 2NU
  • County: Suffolk

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