The 17 Best Places To Eat Ice Cream In London guide image


The 17 Best Places To Eat Ice Cream In London

From soft serve to creamy gelato, here's where to get your ice cream fix.

There’s something about holding a cone—as ice cream drips down your wrist and your spare arm is ready to fend off a hungry seagull or brazen pigeon—that screams summer in London. These days your options go way beyond a sickly sweet 99. Here are the best places to eat ice cream in the city, from creamy soft serve to rice pudding-flavoured scoops dusted with cinnamon. 


Ice Cream Union

There are two Ice Cream Union locations but our favourite is the takeaway one in a business park in Bermondsey. The cornflake and coffee flavour is the breakfast ice cream we want to start every day with. But they also do a delicious, creamy pistachio flavour too—nuts are roasted in-house, turned into a paste, and churned all on the same day. So expect an intense nutty flavour and freshness. They’ve also got great vegan options like the blood orange sorbet and coconut chocolate chip.

The takeaway counter in Hackney’s Netil Market is sparse—bar the human-sized 99 Flake on wheels—but it’s serious about ice cream. There’s always only one soft serve flavour at Soft n Swirly. But you can guarantee it’ll deliver. We've been coming here all summer so we should know. One week might bring lemon and basil sorbet with crushed pistachios, another might bring clotted cream with pineapple sauce, and another Uji matcha with toasted buckwheat sprinkles. Whatever you get, the soft serve is smooth and incredibly flavourful. There are also scoops available but the soft stuff is where it’s at. 

Although we’re partial to a 99 from the ice cream van parked outside the gates of Victoria Park, Happy Endings’ pop-up at Pavilion Cafe sways our soft serve loyalty. The intensely creamy signature milk flavour is like that skimmed bit off the top of whole milk, and then some. Swirl it into the changing vegan sorbet—be it tart raspberry for a ripple effect or sweet mango and passion fruit for a Solero-inspired cone. Pull up to the hatch, ask for extra sprinkles, and wander over to eat by the lake. Just be ready to fend off the ducks.

This Soho spot is from the team behind Italian restaurant Bocca Di Lupo and everything from their banging sour cherry and ricotta ice cream, to the squishy, semi-circle booths at the back, marks this as one of the best places to eat gelato in London. The flavours change regularly but you’re pretty much guaranteed to find something you like, whether it’s a classic like pistachio or something a little different like rice pudding with still-chewy pieces of rice throughout. On weekends this place is open until 12am so if you’re looking for an early-in-the-game summer date, head to Gelupo for three scoops.

This takeaway gelato spot in Soho has a double pistachio flavour that’s so moreish we wouldn’t be surprised if it was laced with something stronger than a layer of pistachio cream. Every cone and cup is topped with an additional baby cone, filled with melted chocolate—you know, in case double pistachio and white chocolate gelato isn’t indulgent enough. Pop in for a post-dinner dessert and just know that once you get a taste of their exciting flavours—wild berries, mandarin, gianduja—you’ll be finding excuses to come back for more.

Bake Street is best-known as a brilliant brunch spot between Stoke Newington and Hackney Downs. But during the spring and summer months, alongside its birria tacos and hot chicken sandwiches, you’ll find some inventive soft serve. Flavours change on the regular, but you’ll find combinations like ​​snozzberry and cream, Iranian saffron, and Indian kesar mango sorbet. Our go-to move is getting a tub and heading down to Stoke Newington Common. Although waiting until you’ve found an agreeable patch of grass to sit on before you eat a spoonful is a big challenge.

It’s your classic love story. Cream meets a freezer, they have beautiful gelato babies. The rest, as they say, is history. That’s what Shakespeare was on about right? This artisan gelateria in Stoke Newington serves some wonderfully creamy gelato. There are plenty of options like white chocolate, hazelnut, and ricotta with caramelised figs, but if the biscokrok is on—get it. Plus, the black cherry praline is some of the best vegan gelato we’ve tried. Don’t miss the mini ice cream cones that you can use as a spoon, which is basically the single most useful invention since someone came up with big ice cream cones.

The soft serve at Bake is fantastic. This old-school bakery in Chinatown serves a wide range of pastries, and they’re also known for taiyaki—a Japanese fish-shaped waffle—which they use as the cones for their soft serve. You can go for the matcha, vanilla, or a mix of both, but when the cone’s this good, we’d keep it simple with the vanilla. 

Unico translates to unique, or one of a kind, and that’s exactly how we’d describe the feeling the creamy pistachio gelato at this ice cream shop in St John's Wood gives us. There are a bunch of flavours you won’t find everywhere, like the panna cotta or the rum chocolate, but when at Unico, we prefer the classics. Both the pistachio and hazelnut are thick, rich, taste like actual nuts, and are our favourite things to order. They also deliver tubs of the good stuff, so the next time you’re craving some excellent gelato in bed, you know what to do.

In the buzz of Chinatown’s Newport Court, it can be hard to settle on just one ice cream spot. But Taiyakiya should definitely be on your list. This little Japanese dessert shop specialises in taiyaki, a fish-shaped cake, which they fill with soft serve. It’s all very Instagram-worthy—think rainbow unicorn and little mermaid options. And these desserts taste as good as they look. We love their vanilla soft serve with Oreo dust and brown sugar tapioca, but the rose lychee soft serve is a very close second.

If National Rail was anything like Milk Train, commuters would be happier people. Sure, this Covent Garden spot has a wall of fake flowers, one too many motivational ice cream catchphrases, and the kind of mad candy floss creations that’ll give a toddler palpitations. But ignore all that. You’re here for their cookies and cream ice cream. This is one of the few places where we’d actually recommend foregoing a cone so you can load up on toppings. Get mini Oreos added to the cookies and cream or live a lesser life.

This family-run gelateria and all-round wholesome cafe/restaurant/hotel in Chiswick has been serving its ice cream since 1978. Our favourite order is a large refreshing mango and creamy hazelnut in one of their old-school wafer cones. But you can get plenty of delicious sorbets, ice creams, and some top-quality banter from owners Maria and Luciano. Walk-ins are welcome, but you can also order for collection or delivery to certain postcodes in west London. Plus they have two other stores in Fulham and Kensington.

Oddono’s makes some seriously good gelato. Flavour-wise, you can expect everything from chocolate and coconut to vodka lemon, plus several sorbet options. Their original shop is in Kensington but the Stoke Newington spot has the advantage of lots of indoor seating, which is perfect if you’re looking for more of a sit-down situation. Or if it starts pissing it down the second you’ve ordered, because London. They also deliver locally from most of their seven stores.

This Boxpark Shoreditch spot has some mildly insane, sugar-loaded candy floss toppings on offer. But we prefer to keep things on the simple—and cheaper—side with the classic cone and matcha soft serve. This place also does freakshakes that, frankly, we’re not sure how you eat without a blowtorch and a machete. But they’re worth keeping in mind if you’re a serious sugar fan.

Much like algebra, quantum physics, and Kevin Federline’s wrestling career, we don’t entirely understand Chin Chin Labs in Camden. More specifically, we don’t know how they make their ice cream. We do know that it involves nitrogen and, you know, science. But however they do it, it’s excellent. It’s super smooth and although they do serve some classic flavours like vanilla, you're here for the interesting options, like vegan passion fruit kombucha or burnt butter caramel, as well as ice cream sandwiches.

Unlike Chin Chin’s OG joint in Camden, their Soho spot has more of a shiny sit-down feel than a market grab-and-go situation. Their Greek Street outlet also has additional flavours like coffee with olive oil, as well as more ice cream sandwiches and toppings to choose from. We’re big fans of the burnt caramel topped with ‘crack’—a molten chocolate shell—but it’s also worth trying their weekly specials.

It’s a fact that anything you put inside a milk bun becomes roughly 10 times more exciting to eat. And the ice cream at this Filipino spot in Kentish Town comes in a number of different flavours like ube (purple yam), milo (chocolate malt), and black buko (black coconut), all of which can be eaten in bilog form. Which is basically a pandesal ice cream sandwich. And we’re into it. They also serve their ice cream in scoops if you’re more into a classic cone situation.

Chase Sapphire Card Ad

photo credit: Korat Firat

The 17 Best Places To Eat Ice Cream In London guide image

Suggested Reading

The 11 Best Riverside Restaurants To Hit Up This Summer guide image
The 11 Best Riverside Restaurants To Hit Up This Summer

Here’s where to hang out, eat, and drink near the Thames and London's canals.

The Best Soft Serve In London guide image

10 places to go for some sweet, swirly soft serve.

Where To Eat When It’s Too Hot Outside guide image

18 airy and air-conditioned London restaurants.