Scotland's best ice cream

We pick the chocolate chips out of our collective beard to share details of some of our favourite ice creameries across Scotland

Feature by Peter Simpson | 21 May 2019
  • Mary's Milk Bar

It's June! You know what that means – time to switch your 'clichéd Scottish talking points' board over from winter to summer! Don't talk about it constantly chucking it down any more; for now it's all 'taps aff' and 'well actually Moira, some parts of the country were warmer than Spain this afternoon'. We first wrote this intro two years ago, and that patter is still bang-on; people, get yourselves some new talking points.

Anyway, summer's here, and that means ice cream, and Scotland's got some cracking cones to choose from. I scream, you scream, etc etc, let's get this show on the road before it starts raining again.

Mary's Milk Bar

There aren't many places which have to leave their own queuing guides stuck to the pavement outside, but Mary's Milk Bar isn't like most places. Armed with honours from the Carpigiani Gelato University in Bologna, and a mind-blowing selection of flavours, Mary's is the go-to for ice cream in Edinburgh. Get in the queue, grab a scoop of something exciting, then run up the stairs at the other side of the Grassmarket to get an under-the-Castle seat, like a particularly summery Rocky. 19 Grassmarket, Edinburgh


A dinky little gelato spot just off the west end of Princes Street, Affogato tread the line of tradition and innovation quite nicely, then throw the contents of that line into incredible ice cream. There's a dog-friendly sit-in cafe, plus – incredibly – Affogato regularly stock dog-friendly gelato. That's ice cream... for dogs. 36 Queensferry St, Edinburgh


Aka Queens Cafe. You won't miss the southside institution from the outside – the all caps sign above the door is a bit of a giveaway – and the bright red booths inside mean you won't get confused about where you are once you get inside. Behind the counter it's all fresh ice cream, made on the premises in an exciting array of flavours. 515 Victoria Rd, Glasgow


We're avowed city-slickers, so when we recommend a place in Largs, you know we're serious. Inside and out, Nardini's is an art deco throwback to 'good old days' by the seaside, and the ice cream lives up to that nostalgic billing. It's also an ideal pitstop on your way to or from Kelburn Garden Party where The Skinny hosts a stage this summer, tickets on sale now, get 'em while they're hot, etc etc etc. 2 Greenock Rd, Largs

S Luca

Luca's have been turning out some of Edinburgh's best ice cream for over a century, with the result that everyone in the office has their own opinion on what to get when you head along. Is it Luca's Irn-Bru sorbet? Is it one of their ice cream sponges? Or should you just get half-a-litre of their ice cream Deliveroo'd to your house so you don't have to go outside? We suggest trying all three; S. Luca can also be found in their purple, Popemobile-esque ice cream van at the beach in North Berwick (you won't miss it – it's the one that looks like a purple Popemobile). 16 Morningside Rd, Edinburgh


Sometimes things don't need to be complicated. Sometimes you aren't trying to reinvent the wheel; you're just walking down the street looking for an ice cream because the sun's out for a change. Vittoria has you covered; classic Italian ice cream served from a handy time-saving hatch on George IV Bridge, which is all you really need. 19 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh

Moo Pie Gelato

Based out of The Pitt street food market in Leith, Moo Pie specialise in super-creamy and supremely creative gelato. Basil, cinnamon toast, pickle brine (although fortunately not all at once) are just some of the options on the table, and they're all bangers. 125 Pitt St, Edinburgh, Sat & Sun only

Loop and Scoop

A favourite of the West End's "private school poshos", Loop and Scoop can get pretty hectic at times. Still, once you elbow your way in the door you'll find a diverse collection of flavours to pair with the fresh churros that make up the 'Loop' part of the name. 665 Great Western Rd, Glasgow


Our in Broughty Ferry, Visocchi’s started out over fifty years ago as a traditional sweet shop, before venturing later into the gelato arena. With what’s been pinned as the some of the best ice cream in Scotland by all kinds of movers and (milk)shakers, it’s no wonder Visocchi’s has queues right outta the door. 40 Gray St, Dundee

Crolla's on the Shore

What better place to have an ice cream than down by the waterfront? OK, maybe the beach, but on those days when you can't trust the weather for longer than 15 minutes it's good to know you can nip to the Shore, get a great ice cream, and enjoy it before the rain starting bawling down again.. 1 The Shore, Edinburgh


The Swedish bakery's tendrils spread across Edinburgh, and their shop just off the Meadows is ideally placed for some summery lounging around. Expect big waffle cones and super-creamy flavours. Oh, and cardomom bun ice cream. It's as good as it sounds. 33 Simpson Loan, Edinburgh

Cafe d'Jaconelli

It's been around forever, and this 50s classic just down the street from Firhill will probably be in place for a while yet. Expect homemade ice cream, a time capsule interior, and at least one of your friends to correctly point out that Jaconelli was indeed used as a location for Trainspotting. 570 Maryhill Rd, Glasgow

Originally published in June 2017