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Best Ice Cream Shops & Parlours in the UK

Friday 07 July 2023

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There’s nothing better on a hot day than delicious ice cream to help you cool off – but there is nothing worse than a disappointingly tasteless scoop. To help make sure that you only enjoy the best ice cream the UK has to offer, CrossCountry has put together a guide to the best ice cream shops and parlours around the UK. From elevated vanilla to barmy flavour combinations, add these icy delights to your must-visit list.

Mary’s Milk Bar, Edinburgh

Beloved by Edinburgh locals and tourists alike, Mary’s Milk Bar has become a must-visit spot in Scotland’s capital city. With a quaint shopfront decked in ice cream cone decorations, it is immediately clear what their speciality is – but nothing can prepare you for the delicious decadence that sits behind the counter.

Mary’s Milk Bar offers changing flavours on a weekly and daily basis, so no two visits will be the same. With previous flavours including black sesame, bergamot sorbet, mango & mint, and brandy mince pie, you can be assured that whatever is on the ‘Specials’ board will be worth trying.

Getting to Mary’s Milk Bar

Located in the centre of Edinburgh, you can get to Mary’s Milk Bar with a 15-minute walk from Edinburgh Waverley station

Ginger’s Comfort Emporium, Manchester

Ginger’s Comfort Emporium is an award-winning ice cream bar based in Manchester, famed for serving some of the UK’s best vegan ice cream on top of a luxurious dairy ice cream menu. With a regularly updated menu, Ginger’s Comfort Emporium demands a second (and third) visit. They have previously created flavours like malted coconut milk; salted caramel & peanut butter; and chocolate, ginger & rosemary; so who knows what kind of treats you might find on offer next time you visit?

Thanks to Ginger’s ice cream van, on top of their permanent location in Affleck’s Palace, there are even more places to taste the ice cream from Ginger’s Comfort Emporium. Check out their list of markets and festivals to figure out where best to find them.

Getting to Ginger’s Comfort Emporium

If you choose to visit their permanent Emporium in Affleck’s Palace, situated in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, you can get there with a simple 10-minute walk from Manchester Piccadilly station.

Brightly coloured ice cream shop on the seafront with people queuing outside.

Wheelbirks Parlour, Stocksfield

Located a little off the beaten track in rural Northumberland, Wheelbirks Parlour is worth going out of your way to visit. As well as a full lunch menu featuring sandwiches, soups, and larger meals, you can indulge in sundaes made with Wheelbirks’ homemade ice cream from their very own Jersey cows. With traditional flavours like mint choc chip and strawberry, as well as innovations like peanut & salted caramel, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Make sure to pair your visit to the ice cream parlour with a look around the ethical dairy farm, where you can see their cows.

Getting to Wheelbirks Parlour

Situated just outside of Stocksfield, you can get to Wheelbirks Parlour by a train from Newcastle station, followed by a bus from Stocksfield station.

Cadwaladers, Cardiff

Serving their signature scoops to Cardiff locals and visitors since 1927, Cadwaladers is definitely one of the best ice cream parlours in the UK. Their recipe is a well-kept secret – but rest assured that their ingredients are locally sourced and their ice cream is made in Wales, making it an extra special delight! Never limiting their selection, Cadwaladers regularly update their ice cream menu, so even returning visitors can expect to try something new. Flavours like sticky toffee pudding and Turkish delight have been customer favourites before, and with vegan and gluten-free options available, Cadwaladers really do cater for all.

Getting to Cadwaladers

Cadwaladers have a number of locations around Wales, but their spot on Cardiff Bay has to be our favourite, and it is only a 14-minute bus ride from Cardiff Central station.

A range of ice cream flavours in a display cabinet, with flavours labelled.

Jelbert’s, Newlyn

Sometimes the classics are the best, and that is certainly the case when it comes to Jelbert’s ice cream shop in Newlyn, near Penzance. Cornwall is prized for its clotted cream ice cream, so at Jelbert’s, they exclusively serve their expertly formulated vanilla ice cream – the only choice to make is with or without a dollop of clotted cream on top. They also take sustainability seriously, so all packaging is plant based and biodegradable (though we think the best way to enjoy their ice cream is straight out of a waffle cone – absolutely no waste!).

Getting to Jelbert’s

Jelbert’s is situated on the Cornish coast, in Newlyn – neighbouring Penzance. From Penzance station, you can reach Jelbert’s with a 7-minute onward train journey.


If you’re planning a visit to one of the UK’s best ice cream shops, don’t forget to book an Advance ticket via our website or the CrossCountry app. If you need more information, you can contact us here.

The UK is bursting with fun activities. Whether you’re visiting one of the best historical places in the UK, the best forests in the UK, or the best cinemas in the UK, you can always travel by train. CrossCountry has services running up and down the country to ensure you can get to the places you need to be.


Written by Abby

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