Essex is many things and many places. It’s vibrant, surprising, eccentric – and there’s no better way to discover its character than by visiting locally-owned shops, attractions and hospitality venues.

Local businesses are the backbone of our economy and the heart of our communities. They’ve suffered in the past year. But our favourite places and outdoor spaces are safely back open and it’s down to us to show our support.

Venture to your local high street to reconnect with friendly faces and see what you’ve missed in-store. They’re full to the brim with locally made treats and treasures that go a long way to capture what makes Essex unique. Take the chance to catch up with friends, too – it’s time to celebrate being able to shop, eat, drink and visit locally once more.


The opportunity to visit our high streets with friends comes with plenty more incentives when you start to think about your local community.

You don’t just help one business when you buy from an independent shop or dine at a local restaurant. Your money trickles through the local economy, as the shop or restaurant buys from Essex-based suppliers, its employees spend their money locally and its owners reinvest in their business. Every time you spend locally, your money circulates through the area and helps everyone to thrive.

Loving local businesses is a great way to go green, too. Independent shops and hospitality venues tend to source locally, meaning they don’t need the packaging and transport to ship goods halfway around the world. The result is fresher food, quality products and a much smaller carbon footprint – win, win, win.

What’s more, local businesses keep people in jobs, and they’re more likely to pay a better wage than their commercial counterparts. With UK employment at its joint lowest rate since 2017, your day out on the high street could help create a much-needed job for a local person.

So, what are you waiting for?


Essex has fantastic restaurants and pub gardens, and they’ve worked hard to Covid-proof and weather-proof their outdoor spaces. Stop in on a country walk or head into town to soak up the atmosphere. If you’re planning a home-cooked meal, consider getting fresh produce from local butchers, fishmongers and bakeries.

You could catch up with friends over a game of golf or tennis, or treat a special someone to an outdoor cinema screening. If you’ve got the kids in tow, head to Colchester Zoo, Clacton Pier, or any of the fantastic outdoor attractions across Essex.

Staycations are back on the cards too, and you don’t have to venture far. Why not book a self-catering getaway in your favourite corner of the county, or try a part of Essex you’ve never been to before? With beautiful coastlines, country parks and heaps of heritage, there’s something for everyone.

So, let’s champion the produce, products and people of Essex. Let’s Love Local. For more ideas and inspiration to support local businesses, visit Love Local from Essex County Council.

Sources: UK employment at its joint lowest rate since 2017: