Let’s start this post off with a huge disclosure: I am an ice cream freak.

It is my favorite dessert, by far, in the entire world. I love fast food ice cream, gourmet ice cream, gelato, dairy free, you name it, I want it. If it comes out of a truck on the side of the road, fab. If it comes from a tiny bespoke artisan shop, sounds good. I am an equal opportunity ice cream lover. I’ll even settle for sorbet from time to time, that dairy free ice cream substitute that is a little too healthy for my taste.

The best ice cream in London: Scoop, SoHo

But, summer is coming to London. It’s time to finally (finally!) embrace the fantasy I have in my mind. The one that involves strolling along the canal, ice cream cup in hand, chatting and relaxing and counteracting the immense caloric intake with lots and lots of walking.

To celebrate the season, we have undertaken an informal survey of London’s most highly regarded ice cream spots to help you, fellow ice cream lover, find the best ice cream in London the next time you find yourself in the city, longing for a walk with a cone in hand.

Julie enjoying an ice cream sandwich from Chin Chin Labs, serving some of the best ice cream in London

Udderlicious, Islington

First up, my favorite. Ok, ok, I didn’t say I’m an unbiased judge. I’m obsessed with my very own neighborhood’s Udderlicious, the place I go on a random Tuesday evening when my Fitbit hasn’t hit 10,000 steps and I need to get out of the house. Yes, I understand that the exchange of steps for ice cream calories isn’t quite fair, but it is what it is. I measure every other ice cream experience against Udderlicious, and most lose.

It is that freaking good. Oh, and every flavor is fantastic, go wild.

The best ice cream in London: Udderlicious, Islington
The best ice cream in London: Udderlicious, Islington

The best ice cream in London: Udderlicious, Islington

Riley’s Ice Cream Cafe, Crouch End

Further north in London, in the Crouch End neighborhood, Riley’s Ice Cream Cafe has made a huge name for itself. On a recent warm spring day, the queue of kids was out the door. We were completely satisfied with the high quality in-house churn and equally delicious latte (one of us was in need of a pick-me-up). Nearby, a lovely wooded trail offered the perfect walk-off.

We felt like champions when we arrived home.

The best ice cream in London: Riley's Ice Cream Cafe, Crouch End

The best ice cream in London: Riley's Ice Cream Cafe, Crouch End

Gelupo, SoHo

In central London, the ice cream competition is fierce. Most visitors congregate in this relatively small area and ice cream parlors abound. However, there are three of note that are worth your hard earned (or exchanged) pounds.

Gelupo is the favorite of local Time Out London, and also gets my vote of best scoop in Central London. The famous Ricotta & Sour Cherry flavor is 100% amazing/mindblowing, despite the fact that I normally hate any ice cream with fruit.

Go here first.

The best ice cream in London: Gelupo, SoHo

The best ice cream in London: Sour cherry and ricotta ice cream, Gelupo, SoHo

La Gelatiera, Covent Garden

A mere 10 minute walk from Gelupo, La Gelatiera is another single-location shop located perfectly for tourist traffic in Covent Garden. It was pleasantly busy when I visited, on a cool spring weekend, but the selection hit all the key notes: decadence, smooth consistency, fun flavor combinations.

The best ice cream in London: La Gelatiera, Covent Garden

Scoop, Various Locations

Rounding out the top three central London shops is Scoop. Scoop is a widely recognized quality gelato offering in central London. Scoop has three locations, so it lacks that single location vibe of nearby Gelupo and La Gelatiera. It should also be mentioned that Scoop had the most expensive ice cream of any location I tried, at a whopping £4 a scoop!

The best ice cream in London: Strawberry Sorbet, Scoop, SoHo

Chin Chin Labs, Camden

Back in North London lies a hotbed of summer activity, Camden Lock Market. Camden is home to one of London’s most famous ice cream confectioneries: Chin Chin Labs. Chin Chin is well-known because the ice cream is made to order. Liquid nitrogen is added to ingredients and bam, ice cream.

I agree the whole idea is a little gimmicky, but guys, the taste is seriously amazing. The quick churning reduces the ice crystals in the mix, which results in a super smooth, super creamy finished product. We have tried Chin Chin in seasonal locations, but their home is in Camden. We recently got a ice cream sandwich to share.

It was delicious, but definitely a portion for two people.

The best ice cream in London: Ice cream being made to order, Chin Chin Labs, Camden

The best ice cream in London: Burnt Caramel Ice Cream Sandwich, Chin Chin Labs, Camden

Cookies & Scream, Camden

A few doors down from Chin Chin is Cookies & Scream, a vegan and gluten-free dessert shop that also has serves ice cream. Their ice cream sandwich, in comparison to their neighbor, is arguably even more decadent with those super thick peanut butter cookies. There’s something about vegan ice cream that tastes especially rich to me, so I can’t eat it in great quantities but it is as smooth and creamy as the dairy version, for sure.

The best ice cream in London: Peanut Butter Cookie Sandwich, Cookies & Scream, Camden

Anima e Cuore, Kentish Town

The unassuming Anima e Cuore is a cafe and small restaurant that also offers up seasonal gelato from the front counter. It doesn’t quite have the ambiance of some of the other places mentioned here, but if you’re in the mood for real pistachio – the version that isn’t artificially green and has tiny crumbs of nuts all mixed in – we can highly recommend the version here.

The best ice cream in London: Pistachio gelato, Anima e Cuore, Kentish Town

Ruby Violet, Various Locations

Ruby Violet has traveling ice cream trucks, a location far north Tufnell Park and soon, a second permanent location in the so-cool-it-hurts Granary Square behind Kings Cross. It seems to us that every shop and restaurant opened in this area over the past year booms in popularity, so setting down roots here will hopefully bode well for the locally owned business. We are big fans of all of the flavors we’ve tried, but with the new location walking distance from home, well, Udderlicious will get a run for its money as our neighborhood fave.

The Best ice cream in London: Ruby Violet truck, Ruby Violet, Tufnell Park

There you have it. Just in time for summer, a short and sweet round-up of the best ice cream in London. The summer in the UK is brief but beautiful and I am in the camp that it must be embraced fully.

Hopefully you’ll join me in seeking out some of the city’s best this summer!

The Best Ice Cream in London: Udderlicious, Islington

The Best Ice Cream in London

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  • May 16, 2016
    Dave Seaman

    Julie….Where do sprinkles rate in your research….OK? Never? Not purist? Occasionally?

  • May 17, 2016

    Ok, I live in Michigan, but I LOVE this post and it’s inspired me to do something similar… (uhm… ok… I just love an excuse to eat ice cream too! I’ve been searching for the perfect chocolate milkshake for most of my life!)

    You guys are so cute, and your blog has such wonderful, fun energy! I can’t wait to read your posts… ALL of them!

    Now I need some ice cream.

    • May 18, 2016
      Julie

      Thanks for the kind words. Enjoy your research!

  • May 21, 2016

    Well that was the wrong post to read whilst in the middle of a cleanse! Oy do I want some ice cream now! Not only are your pictures amazingly delectable, but your words describe the ice cream so well. Love that you walk to get ice cream when your fit bit hasn’t reached 10,000 steps…total motivation to meet your daily goal! Next time I’m in London I will be following your suggestions for sure!

    • May 22, 2016
      Julie

      It was tough, grueling research!

  • May 21, 2016

    With each photo and ice cream shop, I kept thinking, oh yes I’d like to go there, oh no wait, that looks better…and so on. I’ll be heading to London next month and I’ll definitely be putting this post to good use. 😉
    Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie recently posted…5 Simple Tips for Booking a Flight the Right WayMy Profile

    • May 22, 2016
      Julie

      If you make it to Udderlicious, you can submit ice cream flavor ideas, and if they pick it, they run the flavor for a month and put your photo up on the wall for the entire year. Haven’t won it yet, but I won’t stop trying!

  • May 21, 2016

    I can’t believe I’m reading this today, because today, I was strolling along Soho in London and my daughter and her friend saw Udderlicious, which apparently had just opened one hour before we stopped in! I’ve never heard of Udderlicious and now I hear about it twice in a day…Haha. I agree, super delicious ice cream. My favorite flavor was rhubarb and fig. What’s your favorite?
    Brenda Tolentino recently posted…Anchovy Pasta Dish Your Kids Will Love To MakeMy Profile

    • May 22, 2016
      Julie

      Yeah, we didn’t realize they had a second location until now! It is our local shop in Islington, so glad to see it expand to more central London. Easier for visitors to enjoy! I personally love their pistachio, dark chocolate and sea salt sorbet, coconut chip, salted caramel, and apple toffee. So many choices though!

  • May 22, 2016

    I love how you thoroughly researched this post which I’m sure is ongoing. They all look so good, I’m not sure which one I’d try first!
    Brianna Simmons recently posted…Flytographer Review: The Secret to Great Vacation PicturesMy Profile

    • May 22, 2016
      Julie

      I will never stop eating ice cream!

  • May 22, 2016

    Oh my! The photos along are almost enough to make me go on a plane. Bookmarking for when I’m back in London!
    anna recently posted…A Guide to Planning Your Dream Trip to SpainMy Profile

    • May 22, 2016
      Julie

      Some fabulous ice cream spots here in London. Well worth a visit!

  • May 22, 2016

    Let me start this comment with an important disclosure, I am an ice cream lover as well. The next time I am in London I am going to try to visit all the places you have mentioned.
    Travelwith2ofus recently posted…These 20 photos will make you want to visit Slovakia now!My Profile

  • May 23, 2016

    The ice cream looks amazing. I might have to go try all the mint ice cream next time I am in London.
    Jennifer @ Made all the Difference Travel Blog recently posted…4 Ways to Explore Music and More in NashvilleMy Profile

  • May 23, 2016

    I always thought of ice-cream as a hot weather kind of snack – and London is never something I associate with hot weather(!) but some of the flavors look and sound amazing. I’ll be in London for a few days later this year so I will keep my fingers crossed for good weather so I don’t look stand out like a tourist with the ice-cream whilst its raining!
    Vicki Louise recently posted…Top 15 Travel Bloggers Who DIDN’T Quit Their Jobs To TravelMy Profile

  • May 23, 2016

    Mmmmmm…so yummy. All the ice cream looks delicious. Your post made me laugh because I attempted a similar challenge in Buenos Aires, Argentina for the best ice cream and quickly lost. Too much deliciousness to choose from. Will think of ice cream the next time I’m in London 🙂
    Rosemary recently posted…Top 10 Authentic Food Experiences in Montevideo – Part 1My Profile

  • May 24, 2016

    I am a huge ice cream fan myself (who isn’t really?) and these all look delicious. I have to say “Utterlicious” is not the most appealing name, but if it tastes good, I don’t care what they call it!
    Mags recently posted…Australia’s Most Amazing Wonder of NatureMy Profile

    • May 25, 2016
      Julie

      haha – Udderlicious is so freaking amazing. You would definitely get over it 🙂