Fancy a gelato walking tour of London?
What could be a better way to get out and about in London than a gelato walking tour? Gelato provides the motivation needed for a long stroll through London's streets and parks; use it as an energy boost at the start of a walk or as an incentive to pick up your pace. London is home to some pretty fantastic gelaterias. Each have their unique selling points and all taste delicious. Here are my favourite four businesses in London, alongside specific walking routes you can pair with your choice of gelato.
Fondly known as ‘Oddono’s’, this family-owned business has seven shops in London giving us more than one option for a gelato walking tour of London. Since opening in South Kensington in 2004, Oddono’s high-quality artisan gelato has built an exceptional reputation, which sees queues running out of the shops. I couldn’t agree more with their strapline; ‘life's too short to eat bad ice cream’. I would highly recommend the Bacio gelato, which is milky chocolate and hazelnut. Pair this with a scoop of Nutella (a version similar to stracciatella but better) or cookies and cream.
If you fancy a 15-20km gelato walking tour of London, select your ice cream in the Hampstead Heath branch and head to the park, trying not to drip your way up the high street. Ramble along some trails and head down towards Belsize Park, over to Chalk Farm and up (literally) to Primrose Hill. Here, you’ll be treated with unobstructed views of the London skyline. Regent’s Park backs onto Primrose Hill, so enjoy wandering around the park’s paths and ponds, before meandering to Marylebone and Bond Street. That is very justified gelato. If you fancy more south western parts of London for your gelato walking tour, head to Putney Bridge tube station. Follow the Thames river path up through Bishops Park, along to Hammersmith and then Chiswick, where you can find an Oddono’s on the high-street. You’ll soon see why Oddono’s easily scoops its way into my top four gelaterias in London.
If you’re walking past Borough Market, then you cannot miss a stop at Gelateria 3Bis. This is one of my recent finds that is ideally located for a gelato walking tour of London. I’ve already tried their scoops of dark chocolate, milk chocolate, cookies and salted caramel. Their chocolate flavours are particularly divine, which makes sense as apparently the ‘chocolate flavour is prepared with a special blend of Pernigotti cocoa and a Belgian 70% dark chocolate to ensure the perfect smooth taste to suit any palate’. My tip is to pick a cone as it’s crunchy and filled with melted hazelnut chocolate, so your last few mouthfuls are absolutely delicious.
Stroll around the market with your ice cream and then head up to Tower Bridge. Continue east along the river for a pleasant and much quieter walk than it would be to Southbank, passing by Shad Thames, Bermondsey, Rotherhithe and Surrey Quays. Go as far as you fancy. You could even see if you can make it to Greenwich! If you prefer more northern parts of London, head to the second and newer Gelateria 3Bis shop on Portobello Road. After wandering through the market, you can hop onto Regent’s Canal and walk a section (find out more on my top five London walking routes post), as it’s just a 15 minute stroll from the shop. Check out this gelateria, you won’t be disappointed.
I first tasted Venchi gelato when I was holidaying in Bologna in Italy; I was blown away by my scoop of Cuor di Cacao dark chocolate gelato (you may now be noticing a trend with my choice of flavours). A few months later I moved to London, and low and behold, Venchi had also moved there too. It has five outlets, which are suitably located for a gelato walking tour of London! Unsurprisingly, I’ve taken the opportunity to try Venchi’s various scoops but dark chocolate has remained my favourite flavour ever since. Nougatine, as well as Green Pistachio from Bronte, also go down very well with customers.
As I mentioned in my top five London walking routes post, there is a Venchi located in South Kensington, which is a perfect way to end your walk from St James’ Park. What I didn’t mention was that if you go to Hampstead Heath or Richmond Park, two of my other five recommended walks, there are Venchi’s located in these towns too! There’s a shop in Covent Garden but, instead, I would suggest walking around Clapham Common, down through the Old Town towards Battersea Park, and meandering through the gardens until you reach Albert Bridge. Cross over, admiring the views, onto the King’s Road in Chelsea, where you can find outlet number five!
Badiani gelato, where do I begin? The love affair began 18 months ago and it’s ongoing. I discovered Badiani when I first visited Mercarto Metropolitana (I should be a brand ambassador) in Elephant and Castle; it’s one of the original stands that opened with the market back in 2016. The Buontalenti range of flavours is the best in my opinion. This is their trademarked flavour that comprises simply of cream, milk, sugar and eggs, which is then mixed with other delights. Opt for Buontalenti caramel or pistachio and pair it with La Dolce Vita. The latter is built from a Buontalenti base that’s coupled with a chocolate Piedmont hazelnut sauce (i.e. Nutella). If you want to go off-piste, I recommend the black sesame gelato. It’s an usual flavour that just about works; imagine tasting salted caramel initially with a sesame oil flavour hitting you as the aftertaste.
Anyhow, if your scoops can last a moment past the front door, walk up to Borough Market and take my recommend walking route to Southbank. If you’ve already seen enough of Borough with your pit stop at Gelateria 3Bis, check out the Badiani shop in Notting Hill. Here, you can pick your gelato and walk around Holland Park (a 10 minute walk away), Kensington Gardens (a 3 minute walk away) or both. Enjoy!
I have sampled some other great gelato in London (be sure to check out The Parlour in Fortnum & Mason) but, for now, these gelaterias should be enough to get you exploring London on a gelato walking tour. I should also add that all the above shops sell some smashing sorbet, but unless you're dairy free, I personally think that’s like picking New York cheesecake over hot chocolate fudge cake in a restaurant. I say no more.