The Inside Scoop: 10 London Ice-Cream Parlours We Love

Looking for old-school Italian gelato? Icelandic-inspired soft serve? We've got the inside scoop on London’s coolest ice-cream shops this summer.

Ice cream, gelato, sorbet, soft serve, sandwich - whatever your iced dessert preference, London has it. The city's ice-cream offering is among the coolest in the UK, with diverse influences (hello, Filipino ube) and adventurous recipes ensuring no two scoops across the capital are the same.

Be your order cherry stracciatella, a decadent double-chocolate gelato or a divisive pear and parmesan cone, we've taken on the onerous task of taste-testing them all in search of the best ice-cream parlours in London. After all, few things bring more happiness than slurping a scoop of the cold stuff on a hot summer's day.

10 of the best London ice-cream shops

The King's Cross ice-cream parlour of Ruby Violet
Photo credit: Ruby Violet


Ruby Violet

King's Cross

Ruby Violet's ice-cream van may be old-school, but the flavours on offer? Ice-cold contemporary. From sorbets like British blackcurrant and Day-Glo blood orange and Campari, to creamy classic gelato flavours made with organic milk and free-range eggs, everything is handmade in small batches and available per scoop or by the tub. Get summer started with a cone of raspberry rosewater and prosecco sorbet. Trust us, it's good.


3 Wharf Rd, N1C 4BZ

Nonna's ice cream from Broadway Market


Nonna’s Gelato

Broadway Market

Crafted in a family-run kitchen in Highbury, Nonna's Gelato is a British-Italian hybrid we're very much there for. Find it on Saturdays at Broadway Market in Hackney and Sundays at Church Street Market in Stoke Newington (look for a vintage bicycle with a freezer on the back) and feast on nostalgic flavours like salted toffee apple, and Amalfi lemon with a touch of rosemary.


Broadway Market, E8

Ice cream from Gelupo
Photo credit: Steven Joyce




The sister establishment to Soho's chicest Italian bistro, Bocca di Lupo, Gelupo is famed for its rich, creamy gelato just like mamma used to make. Chef-patron Jacob Kennedy has put some serious effort into reproducing a classic Italian parlour, from perfecting old-school flavours to hanging Italian film posters on the walls. Expect queues as you await your generously filled cone - bitter chocolate and the heady tiramisu sell out fast. Our advice? Don't ignore the sorbets. Beat the Soho heat with a combo of blood orange and blushing melon, or upgrade to a sumptuous sticky black fig scoop.


7 Archer St, W1D 7AU

Soft Serve Society's three flavours


Soft Serve Society


Mr Whippy ain't got nothing on this place. Soft-serve ice cream gets an upgrade at Boxpark, Shoreditch, with four flavours - vanilla, matcha, charcoal and coconut - crowned by Insta-worthy toppings, including an incredible affogato mash-up. There's a reason Soft Serve Society has a cultish status. Try the salty popcorn and smashed Pocky sticks for a delectable pairing.


Unit 35 Boxpark, 2-10 Bethnal Green Rd, E1 6GY

The ice cream at La Gelateria in London


La Gelatiera

Covent Garden

We admit, we're the first to parrot the phrase "stick with what you know". After all, there's nothing more disappointing than a dud ice-cream flavour. But on visits to the Frankenstein-esque La Gelatiera, we always make an exception. Flavours might be wholly unorthodox, but the result is a freezer of godly creations: pear and parmesan; peppery watercress and lime; Cornish blue cheese and caramelised walnuts. They shouldn't work, but they really, really do. If you're stuck with what to choose, try the earthy porcini mushroom and chocolate combination, swirled through with a generous glug of coffee cream.


27 New Row, WC2N 4LA

The shop front of Richmond's best ice-cream shop, Danieli


Gelateria Danieli


Ice cream fit for a queen - no, really. Gelateria Danieli did its duty on Her Majesty's 80th birthday by serving up scoops at Buckingham Palace. The Richmond parlour isn't quite so palatial, but its wood-panelled interiors add an authentic Florentine feel to the place. Head here to gorge on custard and cherry, and pistachio and amaretto-flavoured delights.


16 Brewers Ln, Richmond TW9 1HH

Sweet whips at Ice Cream Union, Belgravia


Ice Cream Union


Ice Cream Union puts only the best ingredients in its cutting-edge churns. Supplier to London's top restaurants, the Union opened this space-age Chelsea space in 2019. Expect over 20 flavours on the board at the Pavilion Road parlour at any one time, each made with top-class, single-origin ingredients. There are no purées or concentrates around here: strict regulations mean that only fresh, raw fruit makes it into these sumptuous sorbets and churns. Our order? A three-scoop bonanza of mango (made from Alphonso fruits), Sicilian lemon and the coral-hued watermelon (sourced from a one-family farm in Mantua).


166 Pavilion Rd, SW1X 0AW

Ice cream from Mamasons, Soho




Sure, Italy claims to be king of the gelato court, but have you ever tried the Filipino version? Say hello to Mamasons' "dirty" ice cream, the pastel-hued parlour's tribute to the sorbet sold by Manila street vendors. The top seller at their Chinatown joint? Vivid violet ube (purple yam) ice cream, whipped up daily and served over doughnuts or gooey yam brownies. Pile up the distinctively nutty purple stuff with other fantastic Filipino flavours: zesty calamansi, black-as-night coconut, and salty queso (cheese). There's a second Mamasons branch in Camden, too.


32 Newport Ct, WC2H 7PQ

The parlour of Bears soft serve ice-cream shop near Ravenscourt Park



Hammersmith and Fulham

Iceland has an unexpected ice-cream culture for a country so close to glacial landscapes. Head to Reykjavík and you'll likely spot the frozen skyr stores and soft-serve stations beloved by city inhabitants. The latter is the inspiration behind north-west London's Bears, an airy, park-side parlour specialising in mountainous creamy peaks of the soft stuff. Swing by to pick up a salted pumpkin-seed nougat whip or a pyramid of cloud-soft vanilla, finished with a sumptuous selection of toppings. Pick from runny lemon curd, berry coulée, fresh fruit, honeycomb crumb, meringue kisses and chocolate dips.


244 Goldhawk Rd, W12 9PE


Marine Ices

Chalk Farm

Can't find an Italian in London on a balmy summer's day? Swing by Marine Ices and they'll all be there. Founded in 1931 by Gaetano Mansi, the north London spot is where to find the classics, perfected. Rich chocolate, sweet vanilla, roasted pistachio, dulce de leche, cinnamon, honey… Is it bad if we ask for five scoops?


61 Chalk Farm Rd, NW1 8AN

This article was updated on 7 July 2022.

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