From artisanal ices and locally churned velvety scoops to family recipes dating back decades, Britain’s top independent ice cream and gelato makers provide the perfect accompaniment to a long, hot summer. Set off in ice-cool style in the comfort of your own home-from-home campervan with Yescapa. Have your sunglasses, books and deckchairs at the ready – it is time to take the slow road on a coastal and city journey on a traditional British summer road trip.
Are you in search of the perfect summer staycation, where you can sleep under the stars, be first on the beach, swim in the sea, toast marshmallows over the firepit all while enjoying the freedom of visiting the coast, city, and countryside as and when you please? – With Yescapa, great British road trips are made easy, and together with our round-up of the best gelato and ice cream makers as a destination guide, your summer gourmet expedition should be a breeze!
Perhaps still lesser well known in the UK than other countries, Yescapa is a community of nearly 500,000 users, with a fleet of around 10,000 vehicles. The app is so simple to use, think Airbnb but for camper vans. We couldn’t believe our luck when we found Milo from a Dorset-based company – super stylishly interiors include tiled kitchens with leather cupboard handles and oiled wood surfaces, as well as a cleverly hidden away boot area, solar panels and even a hammock swing. The owners couldn’t have been more helpful, and we were even able to safely leave our car on their driveway for the duration of our trip. In your new super-stylish holiday home, the fun starts long before your first pitstop, it begins just as soon as you drive, with a tremendous sense of adventure.
And, there are so many advantages to living the van life dream, with your own four wheels providing everything you could possibly need. Feeling tired? Stop for a nap. Fancy a swim? Have a shower afterwards. Fancy an ice-cream? Bring out the table and chairs and enjoy as you admire the view. With our guide to the best British ice-cream below you could even go on a best of British ice-cream tour? Get a taste of these wonderful artisan ice-creams and gelati in some of the UK’s most wonderful destinations to visit in your campervan this summer…
Traditional gelato is said to be smoother, creamier and carries less fat content than ice cream. At Swoon it’s made from scratch and churned fresh using Somerset milk. Set up by the latest generation in a family of gelato makers going back 120 years, the first Swoon store opened its doors on College Green in Bristol in 2016. The family-run company now has outposts in Bath, Oxford, Selfridge’s in London and will be opening its newest swish set-up in Cardiff this summer.
Ingredients such as lemons, hazelnuts and pistachio are sourced direct from Italy, and Swoon offers ten traditional flavours and six monthly changing seasonal varieties, alongside a selection of gelato cakes and artisan coffee from Naples.
Flavours on offer include pistachio, dark chocolate sorbetto (vegan) and Bacio (chocolate and hazelnut) with a selection of dairy free and vegan sorbetto options.
Visit: We love the decor and vibe of the Swoon store in Bristol for an eat-in parlour experience but if you prefer to head out into the sunshine with a towering cone, take a rug and relax on College Green overlooking Bristol Cathedral or pile a tub high and chill out in Bath’s Green Park overlooking the Avon.
Boho Gelato has been producing Italian-style ice cream, sorbet and vegan gelato on site in Brighton for 12 years. Gelatiere Seb Cole and his team use Sussex-produced milk and cream as well as ingredients from around the world (such as Sicilian DOP Bronte pistachio and Indian alfonso mangoes) to make 24 ever-changing flavours daily. All flavours are suitable for vegetarians and Boho also offers a selection of gluten-free and vegan scoops.
Now with outposts in Weymouth and Worthing, the award-winning gelato producer has created more than 500 flavours over the years. Some cool new additions include malted miso choc nougat, coconut cocoa nib, strawberry, basil and black pepper, and hazelnut custard pie.
Visit: While it seems churlish to not enjoy at least one scoop on Brighton’s famous pebble beach, why not also take a picnic out of town and head for the Devil’s Dyke, a 100-metre-deep V-shaped valley on the South Downs laced with beautiful walking trails offering incredible views of the Sussex countryside.
Having started as a small enterprise in Looe, Cornwall, Treleavens ice cream is now made in a custom-built premises on Tretoil Farm in the north Cornish countryside. Keeping things local is still key – all of Treleavens’ dairy ice creams have a base of Rodda’s clotted cream and ingredients are sourced locally as much as possible, including Cornish sea salt for its moreish salted caramel ice cream. Treleavens dairy ice creams are made with Trewithen Dairy milk – sourced from 25 farms within 25 miles. The award-winning ice cream maker has around 50 flavours in total with a few new vegan flavours launched recently, including mint choc chip, Biscoff, salted caramel and raspberry ripple. Small theatre tubs of vegan vanilla and a vegan chocolate are also available.
Visit: St Ives Coffee and Ice Cream nestled in the picture-perfect Cornish harbour town incorporates Treleavens’ ice cream into milkshakes, crepes, and epic sundaes.
Or hit the surf off Watergate Bay and head shoreside to the coastal bolthole hotel for an ice cream.
Baboo Gelato was set up in 2015 by Annie Hanbury, a trained gelatiere, who wanted to combine her passion for ice cream with the glut of fabulous ripe fruit she found at her new home’s overflowing and abandoned market garden near the Dorset town of Bridport. Today, Baboo’s artisanal gelato is still handmade using fresh, seasonal fruit and local organic milk. A lot of the fruit is still sourced locally, whether it is plums from North Perrott Fruit Farm, pears from Ellwell Farm, elderflowers from the local hedgerows, or gooseberries from Forde Abbey.
The artisanal gelato comes in scoops, tubs, or chocolate-coated ice cream ‘Baboos’ bites. All Baboo ice creams are suitable for vegetarians and all its sorbets are suitable for vegans. Visitors can head to the Baboo Gelato kiosks in West Bay, Weymouth, Morcombelake and Lyme Regis.
Doggy Doggy Yum Yum
Baboo’s fabulous doggy offshoot is its Doggy Doggy Yum Yum – a frozen treat made with bananas, coconut yogurt, agave syrup and 100% peanut butter.
Made for dogs who want a cool treat in the summer heat, Doggy Doggy Yum Yum is 100% organic and uses no artificial flavours or refined sugars. It is also suitable for vegetarian and vegan pups.
Visit: Ice cream lovers can head to the Baboo Gelato kiosks in West Bay, Weymouth, Morcombelake and Lyme Regis, with their canine pals in tow of course. Don’t miss a spot of fossil hunting at Monmouth beach (particularly for ammonites), and East Cliff beach between Lyme Regis and Charmouth.
New Forest Ice Cream
Born and bred in the New Forest and a family-run business to this day, New Forest Ice Cream was founded over 36 years ago, with the velvety ice cream now sold to restaurants, pubs, cafés and kiosks across the UK and beyond. Of course, you can’t venture far in Hampshire’s spectacular New Forest without seeing a sign for its velvety ice cream. Since 2012, New Forest Ice Cream has received at least one new gold star for a product every year in the prestigious Great Taste Awards, with a total of 17 product awards to date. Winners include the company’s vanilla ice cream, liquorice ice cream and sambuca sorbet.
Visit: A stone’s throw from New Forest Ice Cream’s HQ, the bunting-lined harbour town of Lymington has cobbled streets, a pretty quayside and a breakwater walking trail with far-reaching views across the Solent. The town is also home to a host of ice cream parlours and cafes, selling locally churned New Forest Ice Cream.
Weymouth’s Rossi’s Ice Cream was established in 1937 by Fioravanti Figliolini and is currently run by his grandson Fulvio Figliolini. All the ice cream is still handmade using the same traditional method and uses the same closely guarded family recipe.
Rossi’s doesn’t use vanilla of any kind – saying that its natural ice cream creates its own flavour while being cooked. Other flavours include chocolate, coffee, banana, peppermint & dark chocolate, mango, and more.
In addition to tubs, cones, and sundaes, Rossi’s serves up pancakes, waffles and cream teas and is a fantastic spot right on Weymouth’s Western Esplanade.
Visit: Weymouth beach is literally on Rossi’s doorstep while the famed Chesil Beach lies around the headland.
For a quieter day out head for the captivating water-lily ponds, adorned gazebos and Monet-style bridges of the eight-acre Bennetts Water Gardens.
What started as a culinary passion project has grown to a famed London ice cream name with a devoted following. Named after her maternal grandmother -– who loved a choc ice – Julie Fisher started Ruby Violet from her kitchen. Currently the capital is home to just one Ruby Violet parlour, in King’s Cross – though there are plans for it to reopen a second in North London.
Visit: Head to Ruby Violet’s King’s Cross parlour for its unique afternoon tea experience. Alongside savoury treats, the menu serves up an array of tasty morsels including mini Genovese sponge ice cream sandwiches, Belgian chocolate shells, raspberry rosewater and Prosecco lollipops, rounded off with a three-tiered ice cream cake and ice cream chocolates.
Yescapa is the leading marketplace for leisure vehicle rentals in the UK and Europe, connecting holidaymakers with local campervan and motorhome owners. With over 12,500 vehicles to choose from, it offers rentals in 25 countries, including eight in which a full peer-to-peer service is provided (United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Belgium and Switzerland). Cancellation insurance is also offered as an option (and covers Covid-related cancellations) up until departure.
To book, or for more information on Yescapa, the leading peer-to-peer campervan and motorhome rental platform, which celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2022, visit www.yescapa.co.uk