From the joy of holding a cone of ice cream in your hand to the feeling of bliss that comes with the first lick of it, ice cream is an exquisite treat. While most of us still love the old-time classic flavors, there’s no denying that the range of options is almost overwhelming these days.
Whether you’re fond of the sundae, soft serve, sorbet, gelato, or ice cream, London has it all, and some are the unbeatable masters in making this frozen bit of sweetness galore. Here are my picks for the best ice cream in London.
Chin Chin Labs
Call them the mad scientist genius, the Willy Wonkas of the ice cream world, or sheer kitchen wizards; Chin Chin Labs is frozen innovation. With their dessert bars in Camden and Soho, they pour liquid nitrogen to ultra-freeze their innovative mixes and hand-churn them to create the smoothest, flavor-rich scoops of ice cream.
Surprisingly, their liquid nitrogen ice cream empire is built on three humble, classic flavors uplifted to new heights. The Tonka Bean ice cream is an all-new level of vanilla, Valrhona chocolate is a deep and rich version of standard chocolate, and then there’s the climax with Burnt Butter Caramel.
They even have clover-flavored ice cream for St. Patrick’s Day. Have your scoops inside a brownie cookie sandwich, on griddled cookie dough in a bowl, or marshmallow-stuffed waffle cone; every sweet treat is a serve of deliciousness with quirky toppings.
Must have! 🍨: Their ice cream sandwiches are insanely good! Also don’t miss the Signature Chin Chin Hot Chocolate with gooey marshmallow fluff on a cold day!
- Chin Chin Labs (various locations)
- 40 Greek Street, London W1D 3DS
- 49-50 Camden Lock Pl, London NW1 8AF
Photo thanks to Milk Train!
With a Milk Train ice cream in your hand, you’ll be busy taking snaps of it to post on Instagram before you relish the color-loaded, soft-serve ice cream.
The highlight of this Covent Garden spot is the ice cream cone that has a wispy white cloud of candy floss weaved around it. Watching it being done is a sheer thrill. Of course, they also have some creative flavors, like the bright green matcha and seasonal specials like piña colada.
You’ll be spoilt for a choice of toppings from Oreos to rainbow sprinkles and choco chips. However, you’ll have a magical-looking ice cream that tastes just as incredible and has passer-bys staring with envy.
Must have! 🍨: Got to have the candy floss!
- Milk Train, 12 Tavistock St, London WC2E 7PH
With uncompromisingly, delicious authentic gelato made from fresh, natural ingredients, Gelupo’s ice cream has a depth of flavor that can take on any average scoop.
Found in the center of Soho, Gelupo was started by the owners of the famed Italian restaurant Bocca di Lupo, right across Archer Street. Some of their homemade gelato, like olive oil and rosemary, ricotta and sour cherry, may have you skeptical, but are incredibly tasty.
The list goes one – you can find peanut butter stracciatella and strawberry sherbet to salted caramel and the combination of basil, mascarpone, and pine nuts, Gelupo will have you coming back for more.
To the delight of adults, their summertime specials have boozy flavors like sour cherry & sambuca, gin & cucumber, and Pimms & lemonade.
Must have! 🍨: You can even have your gelato served inside pastry cannoli bites!
- Gelupo Gelato, 7 Archer St, London W1D 7AU
Another traditional gelato ice cream parlour, Nardulli is the place to visit for your classic old-fashioned gelati! You’ll know the place thanks to the long queues on sunny weekends.
Besides their macadamia nut, licorice, and chocolate flavors, they also have amazingly delicious new flavours: After-Eight, Tiramisu, Nutella, white peach sorbet, and fresh fig gelato. It’s some of the best gelato in the city.
The Italians take their gelato very seriously, which is why only the finest ingredients, mostly sourced from Italy, are used. This includes Illy coffee, Piemonte hazelnuts. Tuscany’s licorice and Sicily’s Marsala.
Your ice cream cones are best enjoyed on a hot day while sitting out on the grass on Clapham Common for the ultimate experience.
Must have! 🍨: They make a mean affogato!
- Nardulli, 29 The Pavement, London SW4 0JE
If you’re walking by the canal in Kings Cross, you mustn’t miss out on the lip-smacking ice cream from Ruby Violet. With their organic ice cream and vegan sorbet (especially their strawberry sorbet), they’ve got some serious dedication to crafting the finest ice cream.
The ice cream is handmade in small batches with organic, locally sourced ingredients. They have a stunning selection of modern flavors like matcha green tea, white chocolate and cardamom, raspberry ripple, and salted caramel. Their zingy mint and cucumber sorbet is amazingly refreshing too.
Equally vast is their choice of toppings from mini meringues, almond brittle, and honeycomb, to name a few. If you cannot decide on a flavor, they even provide a tasting menu of six flavors to help you choose!
- Ruby Violet (various locations)
- 3 Wharf Rd, London N1C 4BZ
- Mays Ct, London WC2N 4EJ
Treat yourself to some literally royal ice cream; Danieli had its vanilla ice cream served at the Queen’s 80th birthday party.
This is the place to find some health-conscious ice cream; they offer low-fat gelato and gluten-free, high-protein, egg-free, nut-free, and dairy-free options. You’re in for weirdly unique flavors like Sicilian cactus fruit, custard and cherry, banana and salted peanut, elderflower and honey, and chocolate and honeycomb gelato.
Danieli makes your perfect summertime treat by sourcing the finest ingredients, like mangoes from India, pistachios from Sicily, and fresh milk from Sussex. Nothing says Richmond quite like Danieli ice cream.
- Gelateria Danieli, 16 Brewers Ln, Richmond TW9 1HH
Having mastered over 130 flavors and with branches spread over London, at Oddono’s, they believe that ‘Life’s too short to eat bad ice cream’. Oddono’s artisan laboratory in South Kensington makes classic recipes with fresh ingredients.
From their finest Italian-style gelati, the pistachio is simply unmissable. Traditional and tried-and-tested flavors are aplenty here, including coconut, strawberry, mango, chocolate, and hazelnut. Some uniquely experimented flavors also use honey, lemon and vodka, and basil.
For those who prefer fruitier treats, their range of sorbets is more than pleasing, with refreshing flavors including passionfruit, mango, and banana. The ever-present long queues at each outlet speak volumes about their popularity and quality.
Try their splendid ice creams and sorbets at fair prices at any of their five outlets; no flavor disappoints at my top pick, Oddono’s.
Must have! 🍨: They don’t always have it but their Lemon Sorbet is killer!
- South Kensington
- Stoke Newington
- and many others – check website!
Additional places for the best ice cream in London!
- Soft Serve Society, Unit 35, BOXPARK, 2-10 Bethnal Grn Rd, London E1 6GY (For the soft-serve ice cream lover – in Shoreditch)
- Happy Endings, Arch 437 Burdett Rd, London E3 4AT (Mile End)
- Greedy Goat Ice Cream, Green Market Green Dragon Walk Borough Market, Bedale St, London SE1 9AL (Borough)
- Bake Street, 9 Wardour Street, London W1D 6PF (Covent Garden)
- Bilmonte, 30 Great Windmill St, London W1D 7LW (Soho)
- Romeo & Giulietta, 137 Albion Rd, London N16 9JU (Stoke Newington)
- Mamasons, 91 Kentish Town Rd, London NW1 8NY (Kentish Town)
- Udderlicious, various locations
- Snowflake, Marble Arch, South Kensington
There are also the global brands:
- Ben & Jerry’s, various locations
- Amorino, various locations (Notting Hill, Chelsea, etc.)
- Badiani, various locations (Soho, Notting Hill, Fulham, etc)
The cherry on top!
From the sight of the colorful arrays of ice cream lined up to the unbelievably vast variety of flavors (classic, seasonal, exotic, or bizarre combinations), there’s no denying that ice cream shops delight adults and children alike. And now, you know where you can get the best ice cream in London too! I won’t blame you if you’re craving some right away.
Try ice cream in these places: