The Best Soft Serve In London guide image


The Best Soft Serve In London

10 places to go for some sweet, swirly soft serve.

Our love of soft serve began when you could actually get a 99p cone from an ice cream truck for 99p. While we love regular ice cream, we love soft serve just that tiny bit more. There’s something special about watching that lever being pulled and the ice cream swirling out—literally ice cream on tap. It’s delicious, it’s fun, and the human body needs to consume it whenever the temperature surpasses 20 degrees. We don’t make the rules, we just tell you about them. Here are nine of our favourites.

The Spots


We’re suckers for anything limited edition. So a Sri Lankan, summer-only soft serve spot which serves a different flavour each week? Count us in. Though you might not be able to return for the same flavour twice at this Borough Market place, just know that you’ll find things like refreshing watermelon and hibiscus sorbet with passionfruit sauce, or malty Milo-inspired chocolate-flavoured soft serve. Come here with an open mind and an empty stomach, because you might even be tempted to go for round two.

Whether the last cookie you came across was at the bottom of a Ben & Jerry’s tub or you regularly polish off a pack of Marylands, the ones you’ll find at this small dessert spot in Soho are something else. American-inspired with a French twist, the cookies here are huge and almost cake-like in texture. Which makes them a stellar topping for the malt-flavoured soft serve on offer here. Creamy, sweet, and slightly caramel-like from the malt, this generous helping is one for sharing. 

In the buzz of Chinatown’s Newport Court, it can be hard to settle on just one ice cream spot. But sadly, one ice cream is the socially acceptable amount so if you do pick one, pick this one. This little Japanese dessert shop specialises in taiyaki—a fish-shaped cake filled with things like peanut butter and Nutella—and soft serve. It’s all very photogenic, with menu items like rainbow unicorn and little mermaid fish ice creams. But these desserts actually taste as good as they look. We love the vanilla soft serve with Oreo dust and brown sugar tapioca, but the rose lychee soft serve is a very close second.

The rowdy restaurant on top of Kingly Court has a menu designed by the duo behind Tātā Eatery and serves milk soft serve with caramelised cornflakes, gochujang syrup, and sea salt. It’s a sweet, crunchy, salty creation. The gochujang doesn’t add any spice but is a welcome sweet sauce that when mixed with the milk soft serve, tastes like salted caramel. We’d travel to this Carnaby Street spot just for the ice cream.

The soft serve at Bake is fantastic. This old-school bakery in Chinatown serves a wide range of pastries and it’s also known for taiyaki—a Japanese fish-shaped waffle situation—which is also used as the cones for their soft serve. You can go for the matcha, vanilla, or a mix of both, but when the cone’s this good, we’d keep it simple with the vanilla. This place has a card minimum of £10 so unless you’re rolling as a group, or prepared to eat three before they melt (good for you), then bring cash.

Soft Serve Society at Boxpark Shoreditch has some mildly insane, sugar-loaded candy floss toppings on offer, but we prefer to keep things on the simple—and cheaper—side with the classic cone and matcha soft serve. This place also does freakshakes which, frankly, we’re not sure how you eat without a blowtorch and a machete, but they’re worth keeping in mind if you’re a serious sugar fan.

Forza Wine’s soft serve wins the prize for The Milkiest Ice Cream In London. And by verging on the almost savoury, it means sauces, syrups, and toppings don’t make the overall dessert super sweet. The Peckham rooftop spot likes to mix it up: one week you might get a glass tumbler filled with raspberry sauce and flaked almonds for a bakewell-inspired soft serve, other weeks you might get lemon curd and meringue. Order it with two spoons for a sweet end to date night—but to be honest, we won’t blame you if you want one each. Sharing isn’t always caring, especially when the soft serve is this good.

Much like Towpath Cafe’s idyllic Haggerston canalside location, quaint mismatching crockery, and dreamy chalkboard menu, its soft serve manages to be utterly charming. You can order it in a waffle cone or small glass tumbler—don’t ask us why but it tastes so much better out of the glass, with the spoon clinking against the bottom as you scrape up all the melted ice cream. Flavours are subtle and, much like the rest of the menu, change often but if the fresh mint with chocolate sauce is on, get it.

Honestly, if National Rail was anything like Milk Train, commuters would be happier people. Sure, this Covent Garden spot has a wall of fake flowers, one too many motivational ice cream catchphrases, and the kind of mad candy floss creations that’ll give a toddler palpitations, but ignore all that. You’re here for the cookies and cream ice cream. This is one of the few places where we’d recommend foregoing a cone so you can load up on toppings. Get added mini Oreos with the cookies and cream or live a lesser life.

Bake Street is best known as a brilliant brunch spot in between Stoke Newington and Hackney Downs, serving Nashville-style hot fried chicken sandwiches and birria tacos. But its sorbet soft serve has become the stuff of legend too. You might get roasted pineapple or cherry, but the kesar mango is where it's at: soft peaks of creamy, sunshine-yellow soft serve crowning waffle cones or in a plastic tub. We won't judge if you get it for breakfast.

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