April 2019: We’ve added five more options for those of you craving a late-night lick in the city. In central London, you can head to Chinatown for a Filipino fix from Mamasons Dirty Ice Cream, go to Piccadilly for something luscious from Grom, or seek out the Soho branch of Snowflake Gelato. Further west, Amorino is a good bet in Chelsea (and elsewhere), while Unico satisfies the locals in Holland Park.
There’s no better way to end an evening out than with an ice cream. And with London’s night tube service, you’ve got even more time to sample the very best cold stuff the capital has to offer, from cones to cups and sandwiches. Here’s our pick of London's best late-night ice cream spots – make a pitstop on your way home.
London’s best late-night ice-cream spots
There’s no shortage of late-night chill-out spots on the King’s Road, but this international chain makes the cut with its highly photogenic ‘flower cones’ (thin slabs of ice cream artfully arranged like petals). Expect a mash-up of reworked classic flavours and more exotic options – from coffee and salted caramel to amarena cream with black cherries. In the mood for something different? Try one of their signature gelato burgers. There are a dozen branches across town, and most open late.
Last orders: midnight, Mon-Sun
Brasserie Zédel’s huge subterranean dining room stays buzzy right up until closing time, and a serviceable selection of ice creams and sorbets is always available from the chill cabinet. If you’re feeling like you want something a little extra (in other words, boozy), order a scoop of sorbet and ask your server to top it with champagne.
Last orders: midnight, Mon-Sat; 11pm, Sun
Venue says Our à la carte menu is available from 11.30am, as are the Prix Fixe menus starting at £10.95 for 2 courses & £14.25 for 3 courses.
A cut above the rest – literally. Up on the fortieth floor of the Heron Tower, this City hotspot is open 24 hours a day, and serves the sweet stuff in considerable style. There are always some creamy frozen options on the late-night menu (served from 11.30pm until 5am). Try the torrejas (maple caramel apples with cinnamon ice cream) or the caramelised banana waffle with hazelnut and chocolate spread, vanilla ice cream and peanut crunch.
Last orders: open 24 hours a day
Venue says Join us after hours for new late night dishes, unique cocktails and perfect sunrise views everyday from 11:30PM - 5AM
After a night on the town, a trip to the theatre or some boozy shenanigans up west, seek out this Piccadilly outpost of Italian-based Grom for gelato ‘like it used to be’. Each scoop is extremely creamy and dense, with pure natural flavours up front, so take a punt on the signature version (involving pastry cream and lemon peel), Italian nougat or one of the specials – perhaps ‘caramello al sale’ (caramel and Himalayan pink salt). You can eat them in cones or paper cups, and they’re also sold in dinky jars like moisturising cream.
Last orders: 11pm, Sun-Thu; midnight, Fri-Sat
Come chucking-out time, this bustling little parlour just off St Martin’s Lane makes a perfect pit-stop before you need to brave the night bus. La Gelatiera’s flavours are quirky: try their ultra-refreshing watercress and lime or the earthy porcini mushroom with creamy chocolate. Inevitably, someone will dare you to order the blue cheese with caramelised walnuts. Go for it.
Last orders: 11pm Mon-Thu; 11.30pm Fri-Sat; 10pm, Sun
It may have smartened up its act (well, relatively) in recent years, but there has always been something magical about late-night Soho. Equip yourself with a cup of gelato (perhaps cinnamon pumpkin, matcha green tea or strawberry cheesecake) from this grab-and-go joint at the top of Greek Street, then head off for an early-hours stroll – or take a seat in the window and watch the world go by.
Last orders: 11.30pm Mon-Thu; 12.30am, Fri & Sat
Need something to quell the fire in your mouth after a meal at one of Chinatown’s Szechuan sizzlers? Head down to Mamasons – a Filipino take on an ice-cream parlour that peddles the kind of ‘dirty’ stuff you’ll find on the streets of Manila. The signature flavour is ‘ube’ (made with a native purple yam), but also brace yourself for goth-tastic ‘black buko’ (coconut combined with activated charcoal made from the coconut shell). They even serve their ice creams in black cones.
Last orders: 11pm, Mon-Sun
Venue says Rainy day? No problem! Settle down with an Ube Hot Coco, or one of our Barako Bean coffees.
Nights out on Clapham High Street often appear to end in scenes resembling the last days of Rome. However, if ‘La Dolce Vita’ is more your style, pull up a chair at Nardulli’s after last orders, or get a cup of their classic old-fashioned gelato for the journey home. If you’re not up for eating something cold, a couple of scoops of Nutella on top of one of their homemade waffles will soak up the evening’s excesses nicely.
Last orders: 11pm, Fri & Sat (summer only)
A twinkling refuge from the commotion of nearby Camden, Ruby Violet’s Tufnell Park oasis has comfy vintage chairs and flavours that feel like a great big hug – think banoffee, crispy double chocolate and raspberry ripple (flavours are changed regularly, of course). We suggest a triple-decker cone on your way home, or perhaps linger over a ‘soda float’ with Posh Pop cloudy lemonade. The King’s Cross outlet offers something similar.
Last orders: 10pm, Wed-Sat
Itching for a late-night McFlurry, but without the side order of self-loathing? Why not set a course for burger supremo Shake Shack in Covent Garden (or any of its eight London locations)? Their dense, creamy ‘frozen custards’ are churned daily, with flavours varied on a weekly rotation – look out for the mix-in versions with blueberry crumble and caramel pretzel.
Last orders: 11pm, Mon-Sat; 10.30pm, Sun
After a hot night out in Westbourne Grove, cruise on down to this bright and faintly space-age parlour, which ‘serves happiness’ by way of sorbetti and gelati. More than 40 flavours are available behind the counter, plus chocolate-dipped mini cones, sundaes, waffles and crêpes. Where to start? We recommend an A to Z approach – kick things off with a scoop of amaretto or almond. You can also get a late lick at Snowflake in Soho, Marble Arch and South Kensington.
Last orders: midnight, Sun-Thu; 1am, Fri & Sat
A cone’s throw from the Almeida, Udderlicious gets busy when the curtain comes down. The staff couldn’t be jollier, and the range of flavours is second to none – raspberry cheesecake, chocolate honeycomb, and even avocado with stracciatella. Plus, there’s a swing seat, which really comes into its own when you’ve had five pints and no dinner (which we don’t advise, obvs). There’s also a branch in Covent Garden.
Last orders: 11pm, Sun-Thu; midnight, Fri & Sat
Whether you’ve been swanning it at Opera Holland Park or dining in one of the neighbourhood’s restaurants, you might fancy cooling off with some ice cream (especially on a hot summer night). Cheery family-owned Unico offers 13 ‘classic’ and ‘gourmet’ flavours, plus vegan options and some guest stars. Can’t choose between a cone or a cup? You don’t have to, thanks to their portable – and edible – wafer ‘goblets’. The branches in Notting Hill and St John’s Wood also open late.
Last orders: 10pm, Mon-Thu, 11pm; Fri-Sun
If you like to ‘eat clean’ (even after a few drinks), wobble your way up Wardour Street to Yorica. As one of London’s first ‘free-from’ parlours, this goodie serves up ice creams, frozen yoghurts and toppings that feel tremendously treaty but are, in fact, made without any wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs or nuts. The truly brave should order one of their flavourful rice-milk shakes – perhaps the wake-up ‘Espresso Yourself’ .
Last orders: midnight, Thu-Sat
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