If there’s one dessert that can never do any wrong, it ought to be ice cream. Everybody loves ice cream and enjoying the British summer on the streets of London with a scoop in hand is a total vibe itself. The London ice cream scene has developed quite a bit over the years as artisanal ice cream and innovative creations now take over the market. Are you searching for a velvety gelato or smooth soft serve? Or are you looking for funky flavours and unique creations? No matter your preference, London has definitely got you covered. In this blog post, let’s explore the world of London ice cream as we uncover the best ice cream parlours and unique gems around town.
Where to Find the Best Ice Cream in London
From Firenze to London, Badiani has been my top spot for the best gelatos in town. The Pistachio gelato is my go-to, featuring their trademarked Buontalenti gelato laced with pistachio and features the most ridiculously silky velvety texture. Other favourites include the award-winning La Dolce Vita, Coffee, Caramel, and many more. Additionally, they also do gelato cakes, gelato cookies, pinguinos, etc!
Bilmonte brings a taste of Sicily to London and its pistachio gelato reigns supreme in town. Expect to queue but it would be very much worth the wait. Make sure you grab a mini cone of chocolate or pistachio sauce on your gelato, or enjoy them sandwiched in between brioche buns – just like how it is in Sicily!
T’s Fried Scoop
Fried ice cream – yes, you heard right. T’s Fried Scoop takes inspiration from different versions of fried ice cream around the world to create her own. It is essentially ice cream wrapped in a cakey dough with a coating of your choice, then deep-fried till golden. Expect a good crunch on the outside and enjoy the terrific mix of hot & cold sensations!
Following the success of their summer pop-up in 2019, Darlish has been returning every year to satisfy your ice cream cravings! They are known for their Baklava Ice Cream Sandwich and unique range of Middle Eastern flavours. My favourite combo is the Iranian Pistachio served in baklava. For standalone scoops, I also adore both the Chocolate Halwa and Turkish Coffee ice creams!
Gelateria 3Bis brings glorious Italian sunshine to London from Rimini with its delicious gelatos. Expect high-quality ingredients and exquisite flavours, but that’s not the best part yet. Whether you are having a cup or cone, ask for chocolate sauce at the bottom – you can thank me later!
Rosslyn Coffee might not be an obvious choice for an ice cream stop as it is an artisan speciality coffee shop. But they actually serve up some exquisite soft-serve ice cream in the summer! In collaboration with Happy Endings Ice Cream, their Coffee Soft Serve features a vanilla-infused milk base (using The Estate Dairy) and it is then blended with a 24-hour cold brew from Origin Coffee Roasters and dusted with Mork Chocolate.
Venchi is a world-recognised Italian gourmet chocolate brand and also makes some heavenly chocolate & hazelnut gelato that’s adored globally. We’d highly recommend grabbing their chocolate & hazelnut-decorated cones as well to complete the dreamiest flavour profile. Additionally, you can also enjoy their gelato over some freshly made crepes if that’s what tickles your fancy!
Like their chocolate gift offerings, the ice cream from Hotel Chocolat is no short of extraordinary. Infusing a mix of Jersey milk & cream with pure roasted cocoa nibs, their ice cream offers an incredible & unique flavour note. It may seem bold to call themselves “Ice Cream of The Gods” but it’s definitely one up there for best ice cream in London!
Mamasons Dirty Ice Cream
The Filipino ice cream and dessert parlour swept the London market off its feet with its striking purple-coloured Ube ice cream and desserts. Apart from Ube, Mamasons Dirty Ice Cream offers a range of unique flavours such as Black Charcoal Coconut, Queso (i.e. cheese), Calamansi, and many more. My favourite treat ought to be their Bilog, which is a sweet toasted Filipino bun filled with ice cream and it’s mighty delicious.
Chin Chin is the first to bring liquid-nitrogen ice cream into the London market and took it by storm from the get-go. Classic flavours include Tonka Bean, Burnt Butter Caramel, Valrhona Chocolate, Coffe & Olive Oil etc. and you get to choose from a range of toppings as well. But if you want something more extravagant, they serve up a mean Tiramisu Sundae (no alcohol), Sticky Toffee Pudding Sundae, and many more eye-popping creations. Additionally, they are also known to make some of the best hotel chocolates in London!
Gelupo prides itself in making “uncompromisingly delicious gelato” and offering a range of deli-inspired gelato & sorbet flavours. Traditional flavours aside, they dared to be different and make unique flavours such as Fresh Mint Stracciatella, Yoghurt & Lemongrass, Kiwi, Blood Orange, etc. In addition, one of the founders, Jacob Kennedy, has written a dedicated cookbook named Gelupo Gelato: A delectable palette of ice cream recipes.
La Gelatiera is an award-winning gelateria famous for its Dark Chocolate & Chilli sorbet. It is a scotch bonnet-infused vegan dark chocolate sorbet that’s made with the finest Domori chocolate, offering a gentle kick to it and it’s one you shouldn’t knock it till you try it!
You can trust that Udderlicious’ ice cream is utterly delicious! Their flavours are experimental & innovative, such as Eton Mess, Chocolate & Marmite, Birthday Cake, Espresso & Chocolate Biscotti, Avocado Stracciatella, etc. Additionally, you get to vote for your favourite 3 flavours each month and the top flavours will be featured in-store for the following month.
Have you ever tried goat’s milk ice cream before? If you haven’t, then get yourself down to Greedy Goat in Borough Market and have a taste! Using British GM-free goat’s milk, the multi-award-winning ice cream features an extra silky texture and a unique flavour profile. You can also get their ice cream in a recyclable jar, making them the first in the UK to package ice cream this way!
Hailing from Taiwan (known as Milkshop), Milksha is a bubble tea shop that also does Japanese luxury ice cream. If you like fruity flavours, then you must check out their bestselling Mango Passionfruit Sorbet! Alternatively, a classic vanilla & chocolate soft serve swirl is always a good shout too.
Instead of the usual waffle cone, why not switch things up and get a Taiyaki cone?! Taiyaki is a Japanese fish-shaped cake, typically in small sizes and filled with sweet red beans or custard. Bake House enlarged them into Taiyaki cones and filled them with either vanilla or matcha soft serve. If you can’t make up your mind on flavour, you can get a mix of both!
Being UK’s first candy floss ice cream parlour, Milk Train dominated social media when it first opened and continued to be a popular dessert shop in Covent Garden. Milk Train calls itself “an experiential ice cream brand”, serving not just their iconic fluffy candy floss cloud ice cream, but also innovative ice cream flavours such as Sticky Mango Rice, Victoria Sponge, Rose & Raspberry, etc.
As a matcha specialist, Tsujiri uses premium matcha powder to create their matcha soft serve & sundaes, which are some of the best matcha desserts in London. It doesn’t stop at matcha but they also offer hojicha and black sesame flavours.
Festok Lebanese Ice Cream
Festok is a Lebanese artisan ice cream shop in Bond Street, offering Middle Eastern ice cream flavours & desserts. If you’re wondering, Lebanese ice cream has a more elastic texture than regular ice cream and is generally lighter to taste. Other than traditional flavours of Achta, Pistachio & Rose, they also offer bespoke flavours like Osmalieh, Halva, Date, Turmeric, Carob and Meghli.
DAPPA Vegan Ice Cream
It’s all about thick, rich & outrageously creamy plant-based ice cream made from nuts at DAPPA. Find them at Elys Yard in Brick Lane on the weekends (Fridays – Sundays) and enjoy their signature soft-serve with various vegan-friendly toppings. They also supply for various restaurants such as JENKI, Fat Hippo, After School Cookie Club, as well as other regional cities in the UK and internationally in Dubai & Belgium!
Not technically ice cream but Secret Nicky’s is one worth mentioning on the list as they have a unique icy treat to offer to Londoners. Secret Nicky’s is London’s first frozen custard & hot cookie dough cafe, serving you the dreamiest hot cookie dough topped with a swirl of cold and silky frozen vanilla custard. It seriously couldn’t get any more indulging and decadent than this. Want to get it served prettily in a Martini glass? Simply ask for “shaken, not stirred” when ordering!
Their crumbles are a must-try dessert in London and, for the summer months, you can enjoy them with frozen custard as well! Humble Crumble has been dominating the London desserts scene and you can trust that their frozen custard would make the perfect icy treat as delightful as their signature crumbles.
Other ice cream spots
- Amorino (various) – the signature flower cone
- Anita Gelato (Covent Garden) – boutique ice cream
- Bear’s Ice Cream (Brook Green) – artisanal Icelandic-inspired ice cream
- Caliendo’s Gelato (Kentish Town) – UK Parlour of the Year 2023
- Gelateria Romeo & Giulietta (Stoke Newington / Leyton)
- GROM (Piccadilly Circus) – artisanal Italian gelato
- Nardulli (Clapham) –
- Oddono’s (various) – the original artisanal gelato in London
- Ruby Violet (King’s Cross) – you can even get a 15 ice cream “tasting” menu!
- Snow Flake Gelato (various)
- Soft Serve Society (Shoreditch / Covent Garden)
- Yole (various) – sugar-free low-calorie frozen yoghurt