Essex’s Best Shopping Destinations

For some, nothing feels better than a little retail therapy. If you’re looking to spend some well-earned money, then hop in the car and visit one of Essex’s shopping destinations.

From large malls and designer outlets to quirky boutiques and markets, the county has something for everyone.

Intu Lakeside

Here, you’ll find everything you need under one roof. In recent years the shopping mall has seen some huge changes with the addition of more stores, restaurants and leisure facilities. It’s a shopper’s paradise with big brand names and retailers. Developments are still on-going and 2019 will see the opening of the Nickelodeon family entertainment centre, Hollywood Bowl, Puttshack and Flip Out trampoline park. If you have a special occasion coming up, try the free personal shopping service. Read our review at

Braintree Freeport

A hub for modern entertainment, Braintree Freeport, is a popular retail outlet, which has over 85 stores offering up to 60 per cent of designer brands – definitely a place to visit for the shopaholics among you. You’ll find designer clothing, accessories and homewares for a fraction of the RRP! The area also has a cinema and a selection of chain restaurants.


Home to one of the UK’s biggest summer festivals, shopping centres and glorious parks, Chelmsford has established itself as one of the most popular places in Essex. The city has grown immensely over the last few years with modern property developments and improvements to the towns centre including the Bond Street Shopping Area, which makes a pleasant addition to the retail scene. It features a number of high street stores including John Lewis’ first Essex-based store, and a cinema. The town centre has an additional two shopping malls; The Meadows and High Chelmer Shopping Centre. Drive a short distance out of town and you’ll discover Chelmer Village Retail Park.


Clacton Factory Outlet

The lure of Clacton may be its sandy beach and lively pier, but for shoppers wanting a bargain, Clacton Factory Outlet, is the place to visit. The pedestrianised shopping complex features a range of stores such as fashion, jewellery, gifts, homewares and more with discounts of up to 60 percent. It’s easy to reach, and just 20 minutes from Colchester, plus there’s free parking.


Britain’s oldest town is a great location for a spot of shopping. Colchester’s Charter Market dates back close to a millennium and continues to be a vibrant place to shop along Culver Street West, Long Wyre Street and Culver Street East every Friday and Saturday.  The town centre is home to two large, indoor shopping centres, Culver Square and Lion Walk, that between them house many of the country’s most popular high street retailers from Debenhams to H&M, alongside local businesses.

Great Dunmow

Forget shopping malls and big department stores, the small market town of Great Dunmow has established itself as one of the region’s leading independent shopping destinations. As more and more of us buck the trend of fast fashion and adding to the pockets of big-brand retailers, this Essex town has been working hard for years to promote its shopping local scene. The High Street is a collective of independent businesses – think cute homeware stores, stylish boutiques, salons and cosy coffee shops.

Saffron Walden

Saffron Walden combines the best of both worlds. It’s where old meets new. You can often feel as though you’ve been transported to a time gone by while doing your grocery shopping. A wander around the cobbled streets, while popping into independent boutiques and admiring the historic architecture is a beautiful way to spend an afternoon. The market takes place on Tuesday and Saturday and offers a delightful mix of local produce, furnishings and crafts. After a browse during the summer, prop yourself up at the make shift barrel table on the fish stall for cockles and a little tipple!

Dedham Art & Craft Centre

For a different kind of shopping experience visit the Dedham Art & Craft centre, which is housed in a converted church in the village on the Essex/Suffolk border. Over three floors visitors can browse and buy work from more than 60 artisans. Combine your visit with a stroll around this charming village nestled in the heart of Constable Country.

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