Without a doubt, the idea of holidaying in Cornwall is enough to take anyone to their happy place. When we think of Cornwall, we usually think firstly of three things: beautiful beaches, perfect pasties and, of course, irresistible ice cream.
Similar to associating the taste of a particular type of wine to a particular region, Cornish ice cream also has a real unique taste of where it’s made. For us, the ice cream in Cornwall is the best in the country, if not, the world!
Why is Cornwall so well known for its ice cream?
Containing a rich and dreamy blend of cream, whole milk and eggs, ice cream has been made in Britain since the 1700s. Cornwall has earned itself a reputation for producing some of the highest-quality dairy products, thanks to its climate. While having regular rainfall doesn’t go down quite so well with the beach dwellers, it does mean better-quality grass for dairy cows to feed on. There are plenty of well-known dairy farms across the region, each serving up tasty treats using high-quality ingredients.
But what really sets Cornish ice cream apart from other regions is the use of Cornish clotted cream in the recipe, which creates a deliciously velvety texture and unique taste.
While some favour ‘gelato’, the Italian word for ‘ice cream’ with a method that involves using a custard base, no eggs and a lower proportion of cream and fat, others opt for the full-fat version because if not on holiday, then when?
Whether you choose traditional ice cream or the gelato equivalent, the ice cream in Cornwall is decadent, delicious and deserving of its reputation.
Starting in the far west and heading all the way through to the border, we’re happy to give you the inside scoop on where to go to get your hands on a true taste of Cornwall.
Set on the Lizard Peninsula, this ice-cream farm in Cornwall is home to a number of Jersey cows responsible for producing some of the tastiest milk that makes the perfect base for an ice cream and with zero food miles. Using gelato equipment and made entirely on-site in the processing room, this truly Cornish ice cream takes some beating.
And, speaking of truly Cornish, Gwella Dairy is located just a short distance from Gear Farm where you can pick up one of the best pasties in Cornwall, before heading back to your accommodation for a siesta.
Located at Tremedda Farm, this ice-cream supplier operates a number of parlours across Cornwall in locations such as Porthtowan and St Just. Offering myriad flavours to tempt your taste buds, this family-run supplier is all about sustainable and traditional methods of farming, as well as churning out some of the finest dairy milk in the region and combining it with the irresistible taste of Rodda’s clotted cream or double cream.
One of the oldest ice-cream makers in the region, this Newlyn-based ice-cream shop is a popular choice. Offering just one flavour and supplying it in plant-based and biodegradable packaging, the Jelberts family believes in the old adage of doing one thing and doing it well. And they certainly don’t disappoint. All you need to decide is whether you want it in a cone or a tub and, for a little extra naughtiness, opt for a dollop of clotted cream on top for the ultimate indulgence.
Stocking up to 16 flavours at any time, this much-loved ice-cream supplier specialises in producing tasty Italian gelato using only the finest Italian ingredients. Try one of their family-favourite recipes such as Ferrero Roche, Mint Choc Chip or Cherry Ripple. Mr B’s also offers a range of dairy-free ice-cream flavours using coconut or soya milk that promise to taste just as good as their dairy counterparts.
Specialising in shakes, sundaes and waffles, ICED on the Quay serves up a tasty selection of sweet treats including dairy-free options. Using locally made ice cream courtesy of Moomaid of Zennor, visitors will be spoilt for choice selecting a cooling treat on a sunny day before heading back to their accommodation for dinner.
Set on the harbour side of Porthleven, this popular cafe offers a selection of Roskilly’s ice-cream flavours along with some delicious homemade cakes, all to be enjoyed while taking in the spectacular view. Offering flavours such as Salted Caramel, Fudge and White-Chocolate Raspberry Ripple, this locally made ice cream is an experience you won’t want to miss out on.
Set on the southern tip of the Duchy, this working organic ice-cream farm in Cornwall is one of the best-loved ice-cream suppliers in the area. Not only can you sample some of the most delicious ice cream in their on-site tea room, you can also wander through the farm and meet the animals. They stock around 30 different flavours, including some vegan options, and they also have a quirky range of ‘Hiccup’ sorbets, such as their Gin-and-Tonic flavour and Mojito sorbet that are every bit as good as they sound.
Not staying in this part of Cornwall? Fear not: Roskilly’s ice cream is stocked in plenty of cafes and bars across the region and beyond.
Set on the south coast, Swanpool Beach Cafe is a popular spot for locals and holidaymakers alike. Offering delicious ice cream with a dollop of Rodda’s clotted cream on top, this cafe is the perfect choice for beach goers in need of a sugar rush.
Located in one of the most beautiful spots in Cornwall, this quirky cafe is a popular choice for beach-goers and keen walkers. Visitors can sit in the outdoor seating area, taking in the sea view and the iconic Wheal Coates tin mine nestled on the cliffs while enjoying Cornwall’s original ‘hedgehog ice cream’; combining Cornish ice cream with a dollop of clotted cream and crushed hazelnuts, this delicious treat is an absolute must for anyone with a sweet tooth.
For a true Cornish experience, take the family to Callestick Farm and sample some of the most inventive ice-cream flavours, such as Bubblegum, Cornish Sea Salted Caramel and Toasted Coconut. If you’re staying in the local area and looking for somewhere to take the family for a cooling treat, there’s plenty of outdoor seating here and it’s totally free to visit. If you’re keen to try Callestick Farm’s true taste of Cornwall but are not staying nearby, you’ll find that this popular ice cream crops up in many cafes and parlours across the region.
Serving up a tasty range of handmade ice cream, Perran Dairy has been making ice cream and gelato in their shop for over 50 years. Using Rodda’s cream and milk, this popular shop offers a wide range of dairy and non-dairy flavours and is the perfect place to head during an afternoon trip to the beach.
Situated just a short walk away, Pavilion serves up a mouth-watering selection of Italian-inspired gelato and Cornish ice cream, as well as a selection of delicious sorbets and milkshakes. Choose from an array of tempting flavours before heading back to the beach to enjoy your cooling treat.
Offering a range of gelatos and sorbets made using a slow-churned artisan technique, this Truro-based ice-cream shop truly is the taste of Italy. Choose from some of their most popular flavours, such as Fruits of the Forest and Organic Mango. Dairy-free fans will be spoilt for choice at this cafe and there are plenty of lactose-free options for anyone with lactose intolerance.
Set in the heart of Newquay, Freddo’s offers a tasty takeaway menu of delicious ice cream and sorbets to try. Vegans will fall hard for the Vegan Chocolate and Vegan Oreo flavours and, if dairy’s more your thing, the Unicorn flavour really will take some beating.
Located at the Boathouse Street Food Market on Newquay harbour, this traditional ice-cream cart serves up a tasty selection of Gerry’s Originals ice cream, well known for producing high-quality ice cream with none of the artificial ingredients. Made using Cornish cream and delicious fruit, their ice cream is available in both tubs and vegan waffle cones and they also sell special dairy-and-lactose-free ice cream for dogs, so no upset tummies for any furry friends. Visitors to Sunny and Beau will also likely fall in love with the selection of boozy sorbets available: cool down with a Moscow Mule or a Mojito sorbet after a day on the beach. It is a holiday after all.
Set in the heart of Cornwall, this family-run ice-cream shop is located in what was once a weighbridge, used for weighing china clay and metals back in the day. Today it’s a small-but-thriving shop and offers a range of homemade ice-cream flavours made using local ingredients. All flavours are named around pirating and seafaring themes, such as Oreo Ahoy and Lemon Heave Ho, and dairy-free fans will love the delicious range of sorbets on offer.
A popular supplier to some of the most fantastic retailers and restaurants in Cornwall, this artisan ice-cream maker sources the milk for their products from Trewithen Dairy which is based just down the road meaning that their products couldn’t be any more fresh if they tried. No matter where you’re based in Cornwall, there are plenty of stockists of Treleavens ice cream such as St Tudy Community Shop, Yaxley Stores in Polperro and the Great Cornish Food store at Waitrose in Truro.
Wherever you’re staying in Cornwall, chances are you’ll see a Kelly’s van on your travels. Stocking Cornish-made soft-whip ice cream in a variety of flavours inspired by the Kelly family’s best-loved recipes, this mobile ice-cream supplier pops up in almost every town and village across Cornwall at some point or another.
When an ice-cream maker’s motto is ‘a scoop of handmade heaven’, you know you’re onto a winner. Delivering homemade ice cream across south-east Cornwall as well as being available to buy at The Old Boathouse on the quay, this ice-cream supplier produces a variety of flavours in cones and tubs and offers a range of vegan options.
Dubbed as Bude’s most colourful ice-cream parlour, SCOOP is well worth a visit if you’re staying in the local area. Serving up an array of delicious dairy and non-dairy flavours to try that are also available in gluten-free cones, this takeaway also offers ice cream for dogs so your four-legged friend can join in on the fun too.
Based in a kiosk on Widemouth Bay beach, this family-run ice-cream maker crafts the most delicious ice cream using local ingredients and no artificial colourings, additives or preservatives. Handmade just down the road in Launceston and stocked in other cafes and ice-cream shops across Cornwall, Gerry’s Originals ice cream is the perfect way to cool down after a day on the beach and offers more flavours than you can possibly imagine.
Beach bars selling ice cream in Cornwall
Don’t want to leave the beach? Fear not, Cornwall has plenty of beach bars available that sell a range of food and drink options including some delicious Cornish ice cream. If you’re staying on the north coast, a trip to The Watering Hole on Perranporth beach is well worth a try, as is Rosie’s Kitchen in Bude. The south coast has plenty of options too: The Hungry Sailor Cafe on Polkerris beach is a popular choice, as well as The Shack at Portmellon.
Whether you’re in the traditional ice cream or the Italian-gelato camp, Cornwall has got you well and truly covered for a taste of sweet decadence. Once you’ve arrived at your accommodation, be sure to pay a visit to at least one of Cornwall’s ice-cream cafes and parlours and enjoy your favourite flavour. Or enjoy all of them: no judgement.