I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Ice cream is a tasty treat whether it’s rain or shine (and let’s be honest, more often than not, it’s rain here in Bath).
There’s no need to wait for a sunny summer day to get stuck into a creamy cone though, as Bath is home to elegant gelato spots, dinky parlours, and old-school ice cream shops that are open year-round.
Unsurprisingly, many of the Bath’s ice cream parlours can be found around the Abbey and Roman Baths, specifically York Street, which is close to Bath’s main tourist attractions and there are plenty of benches to sit on and enjoy a cool treat in the sunshine.
Wondering what the difference is between ice cream and gelato? Italian-inspired gelato is thicker than ice cream and has less fat in it, thanks to how it’s made with more milk than cream and slowly churned into creamy smooth goodness.
Don’t miss out if you’re dairy-free– there are still some cool offerings, just look out for sorbets or coconut-based vegan ice cream to have instead (or check out these other vegan-friendly treats in Bath.)
Take a trip to Italy (well, Kingsmead Square) and savour the flavours at Swoon, where ice cream gets a little bit fancy in this elegant, European style gelateria. During the summer the front opens up to create an al fresco space for enjoying a sweet treat in the sunshine, and at other times you can eat inside if the weather is not behaving.
Ingredients for the gelato are top-notch, with hazelnuts sourced from Piedmonte in Italy, pistachios from Sicily, and milk from Somerset.
Try tasty flavours like Madagascan vanilla, pistachio, chocolate brownie, bacio (chocolate and hazelnut), and salted caramel, or more textured options like speculoos, tiramisu, and amarena cherry cheesecake with poached cherries.
If you’re celebrating a special occasion get a gelato or sorbet cake– try raspberry sorbet and dark chocolate sorbet cake, or vanilla stracciatella & pistachio with passion fruit glaze. Dairy-free delights include the sorbetti in either 85% cocoa dark chocolate or raspberry; it contains water and sugar rather than milk, but is just as delicious.
Address: 15 Kingsmead Square, Bath, BA1 2AE
2. Real Italian Ice Cream Co
From the pink exterior to the sweet little ice cream cone spoons and branded waffle tags, the Real Italian Ice Cream Co is a cute place to cuddle up on a date, or hang out with friends over an Italian coffee and a dolce dessert.
Traditional style gelato is made on site and available in a range of flavours from classic hazelnut, cherry, chocolate, and stracciatella vanilla chocolate chip, to more modern flavours like apple, Kinder, and Oreo. Dairy-free guests can try a sorbet like the well-loved lemon one.
Try the outstanding crepes, like the Lotus Biscoff flavoured one, or sip on a hot Chocolate Dream on a cooler day. If you’d rather drink your gelato (no judgment here), you can pick your fave flavour and have it whizzed into a ‘gelashake’.
Address: 17 York Street, Bath, BA1 1NG
3. La Cremeria
Right by the Roman Baths and the Abbey in the unofficial ‘ice cream triangle’, La Cremeria is a little shop front that sells Marshfield Farm Real Dairy Ice Cream. If you’re local then you’ll know the flavours and if you’re from out of the city and drove in on the A46… you probably saw the sign for the farm and creamery on your way.
Made with local cream (from the organic farm), this little parlour is fully stocked with 26 favourite flavours from Luscious Lemon and Funky Banana to old classics like blue bubblegum, mint chocolate chip, and tangy rhubarb and custard.
Dairy-free? No problem, try a sorbet or one of the plant-based coconut ice creams in mint chocolate, salted caramel, strawberry, or vanilla. The petite parlour also has soft-serve and milkshakes for a less creamy option to grab and go. Look out for ice cream for hot doggos, too!
Why not pop into Topping & Co bookstore while you’re next door? Or maybe head there before so there’s no sticky fingers on the books! Check out our list of Bath’s best book shops for more inspiration.
Address: 7A York St, Bath, BA1 1NG
4. Creams Cafe
Part of a UK chain, Creams Cafe is not just about what scoop of gelato you want, it’s about where that scoop of gelato goes, whether it’s on top of cookie dough, waffles, or a crepe.
If you’re serious about sundaes, then Creams Cafe is the place to get your ice cream fix. Take a seat and get stuck into a stack of waffles or enjoy a generous scoop of gelato on top of a range of sugary dishes.
Sundaes are the stuff of dreams especially the rich Hot Chocolate Volcano Sundae and classics like the Knickerbocker Glory, which is stuffed with layered chocolate chip gelato, strawberry gelato with fresh banana slices, fresh strawberries, more Creams soft vanilla ice cream, mango sauce, strawberry sauce, and a Creams wafer.
Scoop Shakes are a spoonful of gelato with soft serve, and Thick Shakes blitzes crunchy toppings into your vanilla soft serve ice cream like a fancy McFlurry. Gelato comes in all kinds of flavours, but if you want to give chocolate a break (don’t, try the ) then there are some refreshingly fruity flavours like Alphonso Mango and Amalfi Lemon to indulge in.
Address: Unit 6 Avon St, Bath, BA1 1UN
5. David Thayer’s
The Thayer family are well-known in the ice cream world and David Thayer’s ice cream shop has been a fixture in the centre of Bath for decades.
Old-school in style and approach, here you’ll find delicious ice-cream in cones and cups and it’s perfectly situated by the Abbey to have a seat and fight a seagull for your frozen treat. If you don’t fancy an ice-cream then there are milkshakes and fudge to enjoy, too.
Take cash, be prepared for less modern surroundings and get stuck into one of the 27 flavours from honey and ginger (with zingy chunks of ginger) to raspberry pavlova, salted caramel, and clotted cream (with a little dollop of clotted cream on top).
Address: 8 York Street, Bath, BA1 1NG
Whether you want a sweet little pick-me-up on a rainy day, or an ice cold treat in the sunny weather, Bath has plenty of ice cream shops that mean you won’t have to scream to get one!
Amy is an award-winning travel writer born and bred in Bath. She has written for national newspapers and magazines from the Guardian and Mail on Sunday to Conde Nast Traveller and Good Housekeeping. Now she’s helping travellers explore Bath, one story at a time.