Cambridge may be most well-known for its heritage and grand architecture, but what few really know is that Cambridge is host to a treasure trove of independent shops just waiting to be discovered.
If you’re staying in Cambridge for business, leisure or a mix of both, we highly recommend adding a shopping date into your trip so that you can explore these boutiques and admire the unique gems that are hidden within them. And who knows, maybe you’ll return home with some gifts for those you love that they wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else in the world.
Get your comfortable shoes on, because we’re going to reveal the best independent shops Cambridge has to offer.
1) The Cambridge Satchel Company
The Cambridge Satchel company is the home of the beloved brand who began the world’s obsession with the quintessentially british satchel.
Once just a school bag that many adorned in their youth, Founder Julie Deane re-invented the satchel and began selling them in 2008 to help her fund private schools fees for her children.
The stylish bags catapulted into the trendsetting spotlight as celebs such as Alexa Chung, and Sienna Miller began sporting the bags.
Now the satchels and leather goods created by the Cambridge Satchel Company are a piece of British retail heritage.
The store located in the centre of Cambridge is a must visit if you admire craftsmanship and style.
2) Lilac Rose
If you have an eclectic taste in fashion then Lilac Rose is the place to visit.
Curating a collection of unique women’s clothes, jewellery and gifts, it’s a space you will adore perusing around.
Born from the boredom of high street shops simply doing the same thing differently, Lilac Rose was founded to provide a unique shopping experience that brought forward all the wonderful eccentricity of women’s fashion that is not always present in the traditional chains.
3) Sevenwolves Cambridge
Men’s fashion is rarely something to talk about, but thanks to Sevenwolves Cambridge, there is a destination for the man who likes to remain stylish and on-trend.
You will find an array of brands and styles at Sevenwolves, as this independent shop brings together both emerging little known brands to staple classics that have helped bridge the gap from boy to man.
No matter your sense of taste, Sevenwolves is well worth a visit just to explore the unusual and unique which is yet to set a trend.
4) The Cambridge Market Square
We simply cannot mention independent shops in Cambridge without giving a nod to Cambridge Market Square.
Full to the brim with handcrafted goods, and homecooked cuisine, it is an experience all in itself.
The sights, the sounds and the scents that emerge will give you such a wonderful way to explore Cambridge.
We highly recommend you take a bag or two along with you, as you will come away with armfuls of beautiful products, and a belly full of food you’ll never forget.
5) Laird Hatters
For those who like to be discerningly different, Laird Hatters is a unique hat makers in Cambridge who are passionate about creating unique caps and hats from only British fabrics.
Established in 2009, Laird Hatters has three shops in London and only one shop in Cambridge.
As well as their ready to wear collection, Laird Hatters is also well-known for making bespoke headwear for special events.
If you’re a fan of a good hat, or just want to get a truly British signature piece in your wardrobe that has a story to tell, then Laird Hatters is a must-visit.
6) Nomads Cambridge
Nomads were established in 1978 and are one of the longest-standing independent retailers in Cambridge, so it’s one not to be missed on your shopping adventures.
The best way to describe Nomads is like an Aladdin’s cave. There are many beautiful worldly gifts in this vibrant shop from all corners of the world.
Nomads were born from a love of travel and exploration, and that’s exactly what you will find in this treasure trove of a shop. From beautiful recycled glass vases crafted in Afghanistan to had painted Tibetan fabrics; it’s another world inside Nomads.
If Fin the owner is available, be sure to ask him some questions about the products and his travels, as he has many incredible stories to share about his discoveries.
7) Iris & Violet
For those with a heightened sense of trends and a love of interiors, you must pop into Iris & Violet a women’s fashion and homeware shop that has been curated by owner Beth.
Each label available in Iris & Violet is independent, which means you’ll discover a variety of new styles and pieces that you cannot find on the high street.
Recently Iris & Violet was also listed by Grazia Magazine as one of the top 50 independents of 2021, so you know you’re going to get a unique shopping experience from this indie shop.
8) The Cambridge Cheese Company
If you’ve got a strong love of cheese, a visit to The Cambridge Cheese Company must go on your shopping bucket list.
Located in All Saints Passage Cambridge, The Cambridge Cheese Company boasts a huge selection of British cheeses, local cheeses and speciality cheeses from all over the world.
Even if you decide to create a picnic, or have a night in during your stay, adding a selection of these cheeses will enhance any dining experience.
Of course, as well as an abundance of rich cheeses you will also discover local artisanal products from locally made olive oils to pickles. It’s foodie heaven.
Quirky is an understatement when it comes to trying to explain the items you will find in Podarok.
With gifts, jewellery and homeware Podarok is a well-known Cambridge independent which has got a reputation for always offering the most unique and unusual pieces.
If you have small children in your life, this is also a great space to visit with them or to collect a gift for them on your travels as there are many handcrafted children’s pieces which will without a doubt put a smile on their faces.
Located on Peas Hill Cambridge, Ark is yet another independent boutique providing a wealth of items for both homes, fashion wear and gifting.
The likelihood is with Ark, is that you’ll go in looking for a gift for someone else, but come out with armfuls of items for yourself.
Ark is vibrant, fun and has some great gift ideas that will make you laugh out loud.
The kid’s corner is a particularly popular part of Ark, as it hosts several old-fashioned toys with a modern twist that always capture the imagination of young minds.
At Signet Serviced Apartments in Cambridge we have years of knowledge regarding Cambridge and the surrounding area. If you are staying with us please don’t hesitate to talk to us about how to enhance your stay.