London's Best Ice Cream

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 8 months ago
London's Best Ice Cream

This article was originally published in July 2013, and has been updated for 2017.

While there's nothing wrong with a 99, we're often visiting London's ice cream parlours to sample their wares and find the best. We're confident that the following places won't disappoint – though bear in mind that gelateria often chop and change their flavours to keep it interesting. If we've missed your favourite, let us know in the comments. If gelato's more your thing, you'll be more at home here.


When we asked around for ice cream recommendations, Gelupo kept being mentioned. Turns out we know some smart people: Gelupo was the last on our tasting list and, to be frank, we were starting to feel literally sick of the idea. Then we had a mouthful of melon sorbet with hints of cinnamon and jasmine which was so light, refreshing and damn tasty that our faith was restored. We don't want to say this is definitively the best ice cream in London but we can't imagine what could beat it.
Where: 7 Archer Street, Piccadilly Circus

Anything else? Cakes, flatbread sandwiches and an Italian deli in the back of the shop.
Most outlandish flavour: Ricotta chocolate and black pepper? Blood orange? Cherry and sambuca?

Chin Chin Laboratories

These guys use liquid nitrogen to freeze the ice cream, which makes their Camden Market shop look more like a lab than a gelateria. Pondicherry vanilla and Valrhona chocolate are always available, plus two changing special flavours; then choose a topping (held in science beakers) or sauce. We had the rich, smooth vanilla topped with heather honeycomb, like posh Crunchie. It's the only one on our list to get near the home-made experience, where cream temporarily cloys to the roof of your mouth (that's just what happens when cream gets cold). While The Icecreamists are off the high street Chin Chin Labs is the most 'Heston' you'll get.
Where: 49-50 Camden Lock Place, under the bridge.

Anything else? Chin Chin Dessert Bar pops up every Friday and Saturday evening at Street Feast Hawker House in Canada Water.
Most outlandish flavour: Pineapple and choc chip.

Shake Shack

Yeah yeah, burgers, whatever. What caught our eye when Shake Shack opened was its frozen custard – ice cream heavier than gelato, in other words. You can get vanilla, chocolate or flavour of the day (see website for details) or 'concretes': tubs of ice cream with added bits. We went for a single Union Shack, a chocolate ice cream more putty-like than concrete (though this could have been down to the heat), with St JOHN Bakery brownie, Paul A Young chocolate chips and fudge sauce. Unsophisticated but a lot of fun.
Where: 24 Market Building, Covent Garden, Westfield Stratford, and 80 New Oxford Street,

Anything else? Er, burgers.
Most outlandish flavour: Blackberry Buttermilk.

Sardo Cucina

Sardo Cucina is the cafe offshoot of restaurant Sardo in Fitzrovia, and the ice creams aren't the focal point at all – look for the freezer cabinet tucked into the corner. But we tried the vanilla flavour and where Shake Shack talks about frozen custard, this one genuinely tasted of rich, eggy custard. We'll be making detours to try it again.
Where: 112 Whitfield Street, Fitzrovia.

Anything else? Sandwiches, cakes, everything deli.
Most outlandish flavour: Tiramisu – it's not really that kind of place.

Paul A Young

If you want chocolate ice cream, where better than a top chocolatier? Only the Camden Passage and Royal Exchange Paul A Young shops sell ice cream; we visited the latter and found tubs of ready scooped dessert waiting in the freezer. Time saving. We opted, naturally, for the chocolate sorbet, which tastes like they've taken 70% dark chocolate, churned and frozen it. Which they sort of have. We'd only suggest replacing the wooden spoons with plastic: wood drags on the mouth and slightly spoils the velvety texture.
Where: 20 The Royal Exchange, Bank; 33 Camden Passage, Islington.

Anything else? Masses and masses of chocolate.
Most outlandish flavour: The chocolate is pretty outlandish.

Gelateria 3BIS

Of course Borough Market would have a proper Italian gelateria, and 3BIS has its roots in Rimini. You can choose from two flavours in the two smaller sizes, or three flavours if you pay a bit more, plus you get a wafer and the option of liquid chocolate drizzled into the base of your cup. We tried the coconut bounty flavour which has bits of coconut and chocolate mashed into the ice cream and feels gimmicky compared to our other choice, the velvety smooth mascarpone and figs. That's a proper, grown up ice cream.
Where: 4 Park Street, SE1.

Anything else? Some cakes and drinks.
Most outlandish flavour: Kinder.


We made an involuntary grunt of pleasure on tasting the biscotto gelato, though that might also have been part relief at successfully negotiating the Scoop Covent Garden store's chaotic queueing system. Ice cream comes piled high at even the smallest price and is creamy yet light, quality definitely not sacrificed for quantity.
Where: 40 Short's Gardens, Covent Garden; 53 Brewer Street, Soho; 16 Old Brompton Road, South Kensington.

Deliveroo now from Covent Garden | Deliveroo now from Soho | Deliveroo now from South Kensington

Anything else? Waffles, crepes, churros.
Most outlandish flavour: Green tea made with matcha powder from Kyoto.

Ruby Violet

After some fervent reader recommendations we went out to find Ruby Violet's travelling van (we haven't quite made it to its Tufnell Park base yet). We tried the malted milk and chocolate/cherry flavours, which turned out to be two of the subtler options but still incredibly rich and creamy. They go out of their way to source local ingredients and use organic milk and free range eggs. Follow them on Facebook or Twitter to find out where the van will be turning up next.
Where: 118 Fortess Road, Tufnell Park, and at various markets around town.

Anything else? Cake, sundaes, milkshakes.
Most outlandish flavour: Horseradish.

Honourable mentions

Oddono's: gelato is made daily in South Kensington, including its surprisingly woody award-winning pistachio.
14 Bute Street, South Kensington; 69 Northcote Road, Battersea; 8 Flask Walk, Hampstead; 147 Lordship Lane, East Dulwich; Selfridges; Whiteleys.

Black Vanilla: uses local, independent producers for its ingredients and the creamy cinnamon is excellent. A Londonist favourite, but in SE London only.
32 Tranquil Vale, Blackheath and 5 College Approach, Greenwich.

Amorino: they make your cone in the shape of a rose, which is adorable. Try the speculoos sorbet.
41 Old Compton Street, Soho; 7 Garrick Street, Covent Garden; 67A Kings Road, Chelsea.

Deliveroo now from Camden | Deliveroo now from Charlotte Street | Deliveroo now from Chelsea | Deliveroo now from Covent Garden | Deliveroo now from Covent Garden | Deliveroo now from Fulham | Deliveroo now from Notting Hill | Deliveroo now from Soho | Deliveroo now from Stratford | Deliveroo now from Upper Street

Freggo: Argentinian ice creams on the sweet and creamy side. We paid them a visit when it first opened; service hasn't got any faster.
27-29 Swallow Street, Piccadilly Circus.

Disclaimer: We review anonymously and pay for all our meals/drinks.

See also:

The Best Rooftop Bars in London

Where To Get Gelato In London

London's Best Beer Gardens

This article is part of our Best of London Food and Drink series. Visit the page for more recommendations of where to enjoy the capital's top food and drink, categorised by cuisine, food type and more.

Pondicherry vanilla with heather honeycomb from Chin Chin Laboratories
Pondicherry vanilla with heather honeycomb from Chin Chin Laboratories
Toppings in Chin Chin Labs
Toppings in Chin Chin Labs
Rose shaped cornet with yuzu and speculoos sorbet from Amorino
Rose shaped cornet with yuzu and speculoos sorbet from Amorino
Chocolate sorbet from Paul A Young
Chocolate sorbet from Paul A Young
Tiramisu and biscotto piled high from Scoop
Tiramisu and biscotto piled high from Scoop
A Union Shack concrete from Shake Shack. Tastes better than it looks
A Union Shack concrete from Shake Shack. Tastes better than it looks

Last Updated 30 October 2017


I am not a big fan of Gelupo: I can taste the thickening agent in their concoctions. Freggo is too sweet and rich; as it is sometimes the ice cream of GelatoMio, which you haven't mentioned but it's quite deserving despite the occasional sugar overload.

On the whole, I'd say that my favourite is Oddono: the pistachio is really heavenly as the Cookies&Cream is. Also, the Sorbitium Ices van has the best salted caramel I ever tasted. A pity they have such vague information on their website that it's difficult to understand where they are when.


The millefoglie gelato at 3bis is simply the best cold thing I have ever put in my mouth. It's lovely.

Alex Moyler

Big fan of Scoop right near Piccadilly circus. Been there a number of times and everyone I take has always left happy!


Venchi at Covent Garden is also worth a mention, it's pistachio is to die for. So smooth and creamy but not too sweet

Clapham Mother

LabG in Brixton Market is also fantastic, definitely deserves to be in the top 10. Their pistachio is every bit as good as Oddono's and the salted caramel is wonderful. It is the perfect pudding for any Brixton Market meal, in my experience.

I agree about Gelupo being a bit hit and miss. Sometimes it is sublime, and others not so much. I had fragola grape sorbet once, with high hopes, as it is a favourite fruit of mine, and the stuff was so horrible I had to put it in the bin! Round the corner of course, I didn't want to hurt their feelings.


Agree about Vecchi in Holborn / Covent Garden. Expensive and small portions, but hugely enjoyable!

terry fischer

They all look good, but when I see concrete and custard I'm reminded that the shake shack owner is from St. Louis and all his ice cream creations are from the original Ted Drewes, on the old highway 66 since 1929.


LaGelatiera definitely above all the others. Proper Slow Food ingredients, old fashion craft, unique flavours not found anywhere else.


Nardulli in Clapham Common is definitely worth a try!


Bit disappointed to see no vegan options on here :-(


Ruby Violet in Tufnell Park! Very tasty homemade ice cream and sorbets, with creative flavors that change pretty frequently.

dianne tanner

I'm sure someone has already suggested - Riley's in Crouch End. Heaven can be found in a tub of their pistachio.


The pistachio gelato at Venchi @Covent Garden is to die for

Raya Encheva

OLIVOGELO on 28 Elizabeth Street near Victoria Station is purely amazing! Definitely worth trying it.

Hayley Relph

Caio, at 17 Charing Cross Road, is the closest I've had to authentic gelato outside of Italy. My Italian friend Rocco introduced me to it. Lovely, traditional flavours.

Stephane Moracchini

I would add Gelatorino, near Covent Garden :-)


Marine Ices by Chalk Farm


Gelatorino in Covent garden is the best italian gelato in London. Trust me ;)

Blackstock Ultra

Cremeria Vienna on Blackstock Road, Finsbury Park? come è stato fatto da una nonna italiana.


Udderlicious on Upper St, Angel!

Rose Bud

gino gelato are amazing, they make mint ice cream from garden mint - delicious. They used to be by Charing Cross but they have moved now. I think they have a stall at Wholefoods in Kensington...

Szikla Szil@rd

Gelato Mio close to Holland Park station. Superb pistachio. And zillions of other great ice cream wonders.


Any ice cream shop in East London? I cannot find a decent one :(


Ruby Violet @_rubyviolet on Fortess Road in Tufnell Park. All homemade on site, all innovative flavours, salted caramel to die for, and good value for money. They do ice cream cakes and things too! A favourite with local workers, families and passers by. #bestthingintufnellpark

Bianca @ItsAllBee

A few of these are not too far from me. I will have to pop over and check them out.

Mr Whippy

How about Snowflake in Wardour Street, Soho?. Amazing ice creams and sorbets crepes and coffee. Amazing staff too!. Worth a Look


How about Joe Deluccis?? They supply to Nandos and Tesco finest as well! The coconut and pineapple sorbet is amazing and tastes like a pina colada together

Rob B

Chin Chin does egg nog, awesome hot chocolate and coffee from (I think) Monmouth beans - that probably deserves a mention under "Anything Else".


The website looks laughably kitsch but Nardulli's in Clapham, S. London, is amazing. Go there.


For those a little further out west South Street in Isleworth have great homemade ice-cream and a few weird and wonderful flavours - and cheap too! Website at

Ben R

Lab G in Brixton Market does licorice...yum


You've missed Udderlicious is Islington on Upper Street! Opened up some months ago. Salted caramel icecream is out of this world! The texture is perfect. I recommend it highly. In my opinion much better than plavess like Oddonos.


You left out Ruby and Violet on Fortess Rd Kentish Town. Shame on you!


i was totally surprised by the gelato in Italy when i visited there two months ago, i had never never eaten such an amazing ice cream before, in my whole life. And i keep thinking about it for these two months after i came back, i really hope to taste it again , so i just decided to go to London 6 days later, and to eat gelato in all the shops in London. Can anyone please please telllllllllll me the recipe of making gelato? i really want to make them on my own. I tried several times, but didnt work well.. please,, does anyone know the recipe?


How this pace hasnt even had a mention i will never understand, its like as if nobody ventures out of central when doing these reviews.....head to Richmond and try it. Normally around 20 different flavours


First thing first: if the ice cream is in plain sight you should run away from that place, especially if it's an awful lot of ice cream in a single bowl! Reason being that the temperature can't be kept even throughout the ice cream if it's presented this way and therefore you can rest assured it's not an artisan gelato but uses agents/chemicals. Scoop for example, to me is one of the worst ice creams ever: it even left me an aftertaste of dust because of the agent they added.
This is one of the reasons why, among few others, I adore Gelatorino in Covent Garden (which appears only in 2 comments and is not even listed).

Then, avoid by all means chains (like Amorino or Oddono's) because it's likely that they don't even prepare the ice cream in place but have a central lab somewhere that ships the bowls to the shops, degrading the ice cream quality during transports. They might use the best ingredients, but an hour in a van, even in a refrigerated one, shouldn't be one of these.

Chin Chin is worth a try once just for the experience, but it's all gimmicky and the flavour is not even there (I tried the chocolate).
La Gelatiera on the other hand has all the flavours, but the consistency of the ice cream was weird (almost rock solid), meaning it's very likely that they prepare a lot of ice cream in advance and then just freeze it for days/weeks.
Tesoro is closed down.
So is Dri Dri, unfortunately, which was another very good place.

Sorry, coming from the place that invented the gelato I'm quite finicky and can't let go such lists.
By the way, if you ever go to Florence (and now Rome as well), you should give a go to Carapina. You'll may then understand.

Ian Ratner

Haw many of these are truly ice cream and how many are actually gelato? Big difference.


A blast from the past in Spitalfields!


SHAMEFUL! You don't mention prices (essential) and you forgot to mention marine Ices in Camden- one of the oldest continually running ice cream shops IN THE WORLD


Hi to all, i'm lactose intollerant, what is the best coconut milk ice cream? any ideas?

Fakir Hossain

Scoop is an amazing place to grab a gelato in London. It is located in Shorts Gardens, close to Seven Dials in Covent Garden.


Black Vanilla is dead. Nothing on their website or social media since February, and I've never seen it open. Other people noticed the same. Shame, I would have loved to try it.

Yvonne Aftyka

Marine Ices in Chalk Farm!


Hi. i think this is a great article and I have only just come across it as I am writing up on some of the best Ice Cream & Gelato stores in London. They produce a great Gelato and they are all well worth a visit. More of my article is here....


By far the best ice cream is the Gelatria 3Bis at Borough Market!