Whether you fancy a pokey hat, an oyster or a sundae with all the trimmings, here are 20 of our favourite places to find ice cream in Scotland – from coastal towns to major cities. We have chosen from everywhere from traditional Italian-owned parlours, cow-to-cone farm shops and modern gelaterias, experimenting with unconventional flavours. There’s sure to be something for every ice cream lover.

Moo Pie Gelato, Edinburgh

Gelaterias don’t come much more leftfield than Moo Pie, which is surely the only place in Scotland one can find pickle and cream cheese flavoured gelato. But it’s as much about the wonderful as it is the weird – not that they’re mutually exclusive – and more conservative types will rejoice in the roasted strawberry soft serve ice cream sandwiched between buttery shortbread and dotted with pieces of roasted marshmallow fluff. The shop on St Mary’s Street is open Wednesday through to Sunday and Moo Pie also has a presence every weekend at The Pitt Market.


Aunty Betty’s, Stonehaven

Smack-bang on Stonehaven’s promenade, Aunty Betty’s is the place to go for sweet sustenance as you walk along the seafront (right after you’ve had your fill of the savoury at the chippy next door). It has just reopened having undergone a refurb and now has a new layout designed to make it more Covid-safe, with two separate doors for entrance and exit. Row upon row of traditional glass sweetie jars will render even the most weathered customer an excitable child, and that’s before you get to the ice cream – thick, creamy and homemade. The sunny-natured staff are generous with the toppings, too.


The Parlour, Brodick

Situated on the eastern shore of the Isle of Arran overlooking the Firth of Clyde, The Parlour has an idyllic setting with food to match. It’s primarily a jack of two trades, stone-baked pizza and locally made ice cream, and master of both. The latter is sourced from Isle of Arran Ice Cream just along the road, a fourth-generation family-run dairy which has been making ice cream since 1999 and does a solid number in classic flavours from rum and raisin to Scottish tablet. Gluten-free and vegan options are well signposted and while there might be a queue on a sunny day, the service is incredibly efficient.


Renaldo’s, Ayr

An Ayr landmark, Renaldo’s has stood at the top of the Sandgate since the 1920s, passing between generations of Italians over the decades. Husband-and-wife team Linda and Silvio Galli have been at the helm for 25 years and still use the same gelato recipe that whipped locals into a frenzy when the shop first opened nearly a century ago. Made from full-cream milk from Mossgiel Farm with less than three percent fat, the Gallis contend it is a healthier-than-average iced treat. The perfect excuse to indulge in some of the other treats available including chocolatier Linda’s homemade chocs and daughter Natascha’s ‘Crema’ range of coffee and cake.


Cream o’ Galloway

For some people, ice cream is the punctuation in a day filled with other activities. For others, it’s the main event. If you’re in the latter camp then the existence of Cream o’ Galloway will please you greatly: it’s an organic dairy farm that offers tours and ice cream making workshops and even has nature trails and crazy golf so you can make a day out of it. Or you can just go for the refreshments. No artificial colourings or flavourings are used in the ice cream, which is made with lashings of cream from their own ethically reared cows. The banoffee, strewn with chunks of banana and butterscotch, is particularly special.


Mackie’s 19.2, Aberdeen

Mackie’s doesn’t just enjoy fame in Scotland, where it’s our top-selling ice cream brand; it lays claim to being the UK’s biggest indie ice cream company. They’ve been churning cream at their family farm in Rothienorman since the mid-80s but only opened their Marischal Square parlour in 2018. In it you’ll find some of Mackie’s best-loved flavours alongside many that are unique to the parlour (including an ode to the buttery, the pastry of the north). Ice cream cakes, build-your-own sundaes, crepes and waffles are all staples of Mackie’s 19.2. Sit in or get a waffle cone to go – you’re just a 10-minute walk from the harbour.


Stew ‘n’ Drews, Hopeman

Good pals Stew and Drew say they dream about ice cream in their sleep, so it’s little wonder they opened an ice cream shop in the Moray seaside village of Hopeman. The pair get their milk from a local farm, pasteurise it themselves then create ice cream in small batches but with big ideas. They have more than 120 flavours in their repertoire and love to experiment, which means that for every traditional scoop there’s a boundary-pusher. Wasabi, BrewDog beer and cask-strength whisky have all been ingredients at one time or another and the playful pair have even created superhero-themed varieties.


Visocchi’s Café, Broughty Ferry

Its gorgeous sandy beach and charming cobbled streets are reason alone to visit the former fishing village of Broughty Ferry, but some people make the pilgrimage purely for Visocchi’s. Go on an empty stomach because this is not just a gelateria: the homemade pasta and pizza make a delicious amuse bouche before you progress to the sweeter things. The artisanal ice cream is made on-site with a cabinet of regularly revolving flavours and can be enjoyed with Italian delicacies such as sugar-coated bombolini doughnuts, cannoli, and sfogliatella, a pastry filled with sweet ricotta cheese, candied fruit peel and cinnamon.


Highland Fold Ice Cream, Oban

It takes cojones to open a business mid-pandemic, though this new parlour surely has a recipe for success with its resort town location and a few years under its belt selling homemade ice cream at shows and festivals from a converted horsebox. The gelato-style ice cream is made at Achinreir Farm and, as the name suggests, comes from the rich, sweet milk of Highland cows. Provenance is important to Highland Fold and the ice cream is flavoured using foraged and locally sourced ingredients such as garden-grown blackcurrants, Isle of Skye sea salt and coffee from Hebridean roastery Hinba.


The Milk Barn, Falkirk

A fun day out if you have kids to entertain, The Milk Barn is an ice cream parlour and café with indoor and outdoor playgrounds and a fibreglass cow called Glenda for wee ones to finesse their milking technique on. But it’s the real-life pedigree cows in the surrounding fields that provide the ingredients for The Milk Barn’s ices, which come in a rainbow of flavours. There’s always a touch of whimsy in the cabinet’s ever-changing selection and children will delight in asking for a scoop of unicorn sparkle or a cone filled with Harry Potter’s butter beer. The lactose-free ice cream goes down a storm with dairy-intolerant humans and dogs alike.


Mary’s Milk Bar, Edinburgh

A few minutes’ walk from Edinburgh Castle on the Grassmarket, Mary’s Milk Bar has the central location of a mainstream joint but the flavour selection of a backstreet hidden gem. Owner Mary Hillard, a former chocolatier, trained in Italy at Carpigiani Gelato University – yep, there genuinely is a university dedicated to the art of gelato-making – and makes the ice cream for her kitsch bar every morning. The flavours change every day (sometimes more than once) and they’re never pedestrian. Recent winners include lavender and honey, pear and gorgonzola and bergamot and figs, and there are usually mouth-watering vegan sorbets on the menu too.


Portsoy Ice Cream, Banff

The seeds for this family-run business were sown when owner Alex Murray was a wee boy milking cows on his grandad’s farm. His dairy expertise led to him opening an ice cream business which now supplies several shops and cafes across the north-east of Scotland as well as Portsoy’s own award-winning parlour in the bonnie coastal town of Banff. The milk and cream used in the ice cream comes from a local dairy in Nairn and it’s evident that quality matters to Alex and his team, who have developed a rolling range of around 100 flavours. The 26-tray cabinet often features the likes of salted caramel, Nutella brownie and strawberry cheesecake.


Joelato, Edinburgh

Mark June 24 in your diary, because that’s when Bonnie & Wild, a new Edinburgh food market, opens. Located in the St James Quarter, it will house a raft of renowned Scottish eateries including The Gannet, Creel Caught and Joelato, an authentic gelateria which up until now has been delivering gelato to homes all over Scotland. Owners Joe and Lucy trained in Bologna and fuse Italian technique with Scottish ingredients to create truly innovative flavour combinations. Currently they’re working with the head gardener at Scone Palace who is supplying a bounty of homegrown fruits. Expect flavours such as ricotta, lemon zest and pistachio; chamomile, honey and nectarine sorbet; and white chocolate and balsamic strawberry ripple.

Miele’s of Lossie, Lossiemouth

Once a Victorian spa town, Lossiemouth in Moray is often referred to as the Riviera of the North because of its temperate climate and coastal setting. And no jaunt to the riviera would be complete without swinging by Miele’s on the esplanade. A convenience store and gelateria, it serves traditional gelato made daily on the premises alongside a Sicilian cannoli selection with a range of fillings including pistachio, chocolate hazelnut and lemon. We recommend trying one of each, perhaps accompanied by an espresso, before rolling down to Lossiemouth East Beach for a frolic in the sea.


Loop & Scoop, Glasgow

Even in winter you’ll see a queue spilling out of Loop & Scoop’s door and wriggling down Great Western Road. Its candy-striped frontage coupled with a slightly gimmicky offering of churros and ice cream might tempt you to write it off, but you shouldn’t. The delicious gelato is handmade and can be bought on its own or with one of the signature churro loops dunked in. The churros also ride solo if you’re not in the mood for ice cream and contain a choice of fillings from peanut butter to Biscoff and Nutella. There’s an extensive non-dairy selection of ice cream too, making it one of the most vegan-friendly options on this list.


Nardini’s, Largs

Quite possibly Scotland’s most iconic ice cream parlour, Nardini’s has been whipping up scoops of the sweet stuff since 1935. Set within a glamorous Art Deco building on the Largs seafront, it serves ice cream (including the most decadent sundaes), pastries, continental sandwiches and good ol’ fish and chips, sometimes to the soundtrack of a live pianist on weekends. There are 32 flavours of ice cream running from traditional double cream vanilla to peach and passionfruit cheesecake, and customers are invited to peer through the window of the ice cream factory to watch the gelato chefs at work.


Jannettas Gelateria, St Andrews

Ice cream is almost as synonymous with St Andrews as golf thanks to Jannettas, an institution of the town since 1908. It has passed through four generations of the Jannetta family and for the past 25 years has been run by husband-and-wife team Nicola and Owen, who have won far too many awards to name. The family’s ancestry lies in the village of Atina in Italy and the Jannettas team is dedicated to the authenticity of their craft, even shipping the ice cream counters directly from Perugia. A look inside reveals 54 varieties of ice cream, and there’s something for everyone whether you like classic chocolate or pistachio and rose. Try a slice of semifreddo for something different.


S Luca, Musselburgh

You might be familiar with Luca’s already, given that it’s blossomed from an ice cream shop into a wholesaler supplying its distinctive purple-and-gold tubs (and foil-wrapped Conino cones) to several retailers. But you can’t beat a trip to its Musselburgh café, which has only just reopened following extensive renovations and is a 20-minute walk (or five-minute drive) from the golden sands of Musselburgh Beach. It’s right beside the S Luca ice cream factory and in addition to fresh cones and tubs of traditional Italian ice cream, there are made-to-order ice cream cakes and towering knickerbocker glories. Don’t fret if you can’t travel – it has an online shop too.


Novelli’s, Burntisland

Novelli’s is on a quest to become Scotland’s most Instagrammable ice cream parlour. Inside there’s a retro pale pink phone box festooned with flowers and a couple of flower swings set against a backdrop of greenery for that all-important photo op. And there’s plenty of substance to back up that style. There are 18 varieties of homemade gelato to be enjoyed on its own or as a more fulsome dessert. Try it atop bubble waffles and drizzled with chocolate sauce; in a build-your-own sundae beneath a mound of fluffy, nut-sprinkled cream; or nestled beside a chocolate kebab (a Nutella-stuffed crepe). There are gluten-free wafer cones too – a rarity.


Woody’s Ice Cream, Mauchline

This family-run business began life as a wholesaler, supplying local businesses with luxury ice creams, fruit sorbets and frozen yoghurts made with milk from their award-winning herd of cows on Killoch Farm. A few years ago they took the plunge and opened an additional venture in this cheerful ice cream and dessert parlour to great success. Ayrshire cattle are renowned for having a higher yield of butter fat and protein which gives Woody’s ice cream, available in more than 50 flavours, an unctuous, velvety quality. Try it with a waffle stick, a slice of Hazel’s homemade cheesecake, or blended in one of their famous thick milkshakes.