The time has arrived to enjoy shops, cafés, restaurants and bars again. Gone are the days of dreaming about dining out and getting dressed up. We can now start to make plans with our friends and family in a safe but fun way. One thing that is a pain, though, is the queues – we all hate them, don’t we?

That’s why it’s important to visit and support local, smaller and less well-known businesses away from the city centre. This gives you and others the opportunity to enjoy your time out the house without feeling worried or anxious about the crowds. If you do want to support local and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, then there a few suggestions below that may tickle your fancy.

Remember: If you don’t yet fancy venturing out, you can still support independent businesses by using Click It Local. It’s a new virtual high street service which lets you buy online from independent shops across Chelmsford – all in one place!

Local restaurants and bars

Many local restaurants and bars in Chelmsford have adapted to the new restrictions. There are some great outdoor areas for everyone to make the most of.

Channels Brasserie are continuing to serve the rustic fine dining they are known for. Pig and Whistle have also been busy creating a new outdoor heated and covered dining area.

On the edge of Writtle, the Horse and Groom pub also offers a beautiful beer garden with hearty pub grub. The Riverside Inn is a lovely place to enjoy a modern pub-style menu with an open marquee outside. You might not have heard of the Moulsham Tap, which is tucked away on Moulsham Street but it’s a small craft beer and artisan gin bar. So many choices!

Above: People drinking beer together

Independent shops

The Pop Up Club in Bond Street is an amazing pop-up marketplace. Small businesses are able to shine as they show off their products. You will be immersed in different cultures and artistic talent.

The Art Place in the Meadows shopping centre is also a new platform for local artists to display their work.

Chelmsford Market is home to many independent businesses too.

Above: Chelmsford Market in Chelmsford’s high street

Local Tearooms

If you want to combine lunch with a lovely walk then Paper Mill Lock Tearooms in Little Baddow is a great destination for you. You can enjoy a slice of cake (or two) whilst enjoying the view of the water and there’s plenty of outside seating to choose from. Another great destination for a walk and a tea or coffee is Phoebe’s Pantry. This is located in South Woodham Ferrers along the beautiful River Crouch.

If you’re looking for a lovely secluded destination to eat, then why not try The Secret Garden Tearooms on Writtle Road? You’ll get a warm welcome with a variety of food options to choose from. Perfect for couples and families of any age. You can even enjoy afternoon tea if you book 24 hours in advance.

Do you own or work at a local business that has recently reopened? Post in the comments below and let Chelmsford know what you offer!

By Charlotte Maltby

Charlotte writes stories about recycling and waste, parks, economic development, local democracy and planning.

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