Supporting our local businesses

Cambridge, Chelmsford and Peterborough are all home to an array of small independent businesses. As Covid-19 restrictions start to be lifted, we're encouraging our students, staff and the wider community to support these businesses, and to experience local.

Chalk board sign saying 'Thank you for shopping local'

Step into your community and discover the many fantastic local independent shops, restaurants, cafés and bars around, all with something unique to offer.

Pop into a local family-run bakery for a loaf of bread, or buy a quirky gift from an independent shop. By shopping locally you can help local business owners and communities get back up and running.

Here's how you can find out more about businesses in your area.


Mill Road

Cambridge is a wonderful city full of many fantastic independent shops and eateries just waiting to be discovered.

Get the Love Cambridge Gift Card and support local businesses. The card is accepted by a huge variety of businesses from shops and restaurants, cafes and bars to hairdressers and beauty salons.

Download a copy of the Cambridge BID magazine, your guide to seasonal events, culture, shopping, and days out.

Visit Love Cambridge to discover more about the events and projects happening in the city.

Visit Cambridge to browse the local artists’ market at All Saints Garden or explore the Arts Quarter – Bene’t Street Area as well as a range of independent shops and eateries. Find fresh food and, flowers, jewellery, cycle services and much more at the Cambridge Market in Market Square.

For an experience really close to campus...

Mill Road is just a stone's throw from our Cambridge campus. Head off campus via the ‘rear’ gates near the Coslett building and down MacKenzie Road to get to Mill Road. It has a range of independent restaurants and cafés, with two family-run Italian restaurants, a tapas bar and range of cafés with outdoor, pavement seating. You'll also find a specialist fish eatery (with another one opening soon), two Maghrebian restaurants, Syrian, Lebanese and Chinese cuisine... you name it, Mill Road has it.

The side streets also have a range of great pubs that are worth seeking out. There's a huge range of independent shops in which you can buy just about any speciality food, too.

For cyclists, Mill Road has a brilliant range of bike shops which, between them, can sell you, or repair for you, just about any cycle.

There are more hairdressers and barbers than you can shake a stick at, alongside shops selling a wonderful range of antiques and bric-à-brac, charity shops, Relevant Records for vinyl albums, and more.

For more information about Mill Road visit Mill Road Bridges.


Market stall selling artisan bread

Love Local

Local businesses have been under huge pressure this year so, as Essex reopens, remember to support your local community and economy by going local.

Search for local independent businesses on Click It Local.

Visit Chelmsford Market, which dates to the 11th century. Here you find family-run businesses selling a wide variety of products. Or try heading for the Moulsham Street area to find lots of unique and exciting independent shops and cafes.

There are so many reasons to shop, eat, drink and visit locally – here are just a few reminders:

  • be spoilt for choice with unique products
  • enjoy a more personal shopping experience
  • find great deals from local retailers and venues
  • help local people get back on their feet
  • grow the local economy by spending money locally
  • save and create more jobs for your community
  • build a vibrant place to live and visit
  • reduce your impact on the environment
  • a safe way to shop with Covid-19 measures.

So get back out there: local businesses are ready to welcome you back into their Covid-safe premises with a big smile. Find plenty of inspiration and ideas to Love Local on the Essex County Council website.


Two people holding smoothies in takeaway cups

If you’re planning a visit to the city centre, you really are spoilt for choice when it comes to shopping local. You can find many independent shops, cafes, bars, restaurants and more all within a short walking distance of Cathedral Square.

You can continue to support your local community at Peterborough City Market, where local traders sell clothing, haberdashery, flowers, fresh and local fruit and vegetables, confectionery, home decorating materials and much more.

Peterborough welcomes you to discover local shops and restaurants, and encourages all shoppers to have a safe and enjoyable trip.

Visit We Love Peterborough and Visit Peterborough to keep up to date and discover what’s going on in the city including things to do, events, and discounts.

Looking for information about our campuses?

Find out more about our city-centre campuses (and student life) in Cambridge, Chelmsford and Peterborough.