Nothing says summer quite like a crumbling fistful of wafer and a frozen mouthful of ice cream. British summertime is here and whether your favourite is mint choc chip, sour cherry or quintessential vanilla, all are equally delicious under a clear blue sky or (all too often) wind-beaten umbrella.
Many myths surround the introduction of ice cream to the UK, the most popular one being that when the Italian duchess Catherine de’ Medici married Henry II of France, she bought with her Italian chefs who had perfected the flavoured ice. Charles I of England was so impressed with the ‘frozen snow’ that he offered his own ice cream maker a lifetime pension to keep the ice cream recipe secret.
Legend or fact, Brits today still love a good ice cream, but unless your summer travels are taking you to sun-flecked Italy, it can be hard to find the perfect cone.
We’ve narrowed down the UK’s best ice cream so you can find the most delicious one a little closer to home.
Marshfield Farm ice cream, Chippenham, Cotswolds
For West Country dwellers, Marshfield ice creams are a firm favourite, and it’s not hard to see why. Organic, sweet and creamy, their flavours range from honey and stem ginger to luxury Christmas pudding. In 2012, they won gold for their Strawberries In Clotted Ice Cream and a further two gold stars for their Mango Madness in 2013, and was named Best Ice Cream in the whole of the south west.
The business began in the 1980s when Will Hawking decided he could do more with his parents’ herd of cows on Marshfield Farm than milking. He decided to combine his two passions: farming and ice cream. Thirty years later and the farm has almost 1000 acres of organically farmed land and can produce up to 30 bathtubs worth of ice cream an hour.
You can visit the farm for a merry day of taste-testing or buy their tubs at local shops, Bristol Zoo, Bath Theatre Royal, Hampton Court and even the Tower of London.
Our Cow Molly, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
What better respite from trudging up those Yorkshire Hills than a generous bowl of Our Cow Molly’s ice cream?
A newcomer to the ice cream making business, the Andrew’s family started making ice cream in a bid to save the farm when milk prices dropped. Today, customers can enjoy the delicious result of seven years hard work.
Made on top of one of the seven hills of Sheffield, Our Cow Molly uses only the best ingredients from surrounding areas and fresh milk and cream to give it its distinctive creamy flavour.
Their Wild Cherry Cheesecake and Cora’s Chaos are must-tries for any ice cream fanatic.
Roskilly’s, St Keverne, Cornwall
If it’s not the seafood or beaches, then Cornwall is famed for its ice cream and Roskilly’s doesn’t disappoint.
Located on the southern tip of Cornwall, the farm is teeming with ponds, (built by the farmer himself) meadows and wildlife and is open to explore for those who want to work up a bit of an appetite before setting off to the ice cream parlour.
Roskilly’s boast a range of organic, no preservatives or artificial range, including classic favourites like strawberry and clotted cream vanilla.
Foodies should also try their chutneys, jam and fudge for an all-round taste bud tingling experience.
Snugburys famous ice cream, Nantwich, Cheshire
It’s not often you get to feast on damson and sloe gin ice cream, but at Snugburys in Cheshire, creating exciting ice cream flavours is all part of the day’s work.
Since 1986, the Sadler family has been making ice cream for family and friends in their farm kitchen and people loved it so much, they decided to make it for the general public as well.
Try their Mint Oreo blitz or shake it up with a seasonal scoop of Pina Colada in their Cheshire store.
Alternatively, find their ice cream in the North West, Midlands and North Wales.
For over 10 years, Snugburys has also been building fantastic straw sculptures for charity. For a glimpse of their latest creation (a 35 foot Dalek), travel along Chester A51 Road.
Mauds, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Ice cream obsessives from Northern Ireland, Mauds are famous for their crème brulee, Belgium chocolate and, of course, Guinness flavoured tubs of delight.
Named after the head of the business, (grandmother) Maud and with the help of the very tall sugar boiler Jackie back in 1982, they perfected their favourite recipe the Pooh Bear, and ice cream lovers came flocking.
Mauds has been scooping in the food awards ever since and with 129 under their belt, their future’s looking as bright and delicious as ever.
Sold in cafes in and around Belfast, a cone of chocolate and mallow is the perfect end to a day’s sightseeing.
Portsoy Ice Cream, Aberdeen, Scotland
Ice cream and booze – is there a better combination? Alex Murray, owner of Portsoy Ice Cream doesn’t think so.
Cranachan ice cream and sloe gin sorbet are among the many creative and tasty creations that have been making waves in the harbor village of Portsoy in Aberdeen for over ten years.
If boozy ice cream isn’t up your street, their banoffee pie, mango and raspberry and strawberry panacotta are excellent alternatives.
A family-run business on the coast, Portsoy Ice Cream is a favourite of visitors and locals alike and their homemade, gorgeously tasty treats are available in their store, or at Fasque House, a baronial mansion in the highlands.