After all this sunshine and as the lakes warm up, all we can think about is ice cream! With some of the finest ice cream located close to our Lake District holiday cottages, we thought it was about time we shared our experiences and talked about our favourite Lake District ice cream.

We of course love English Lakes Ice Cream – it’s basically part of our Lake District history, but we’ve recently been touring the Lake District to find THE best ice cream, all while staying close to our collection of self-catering accommodation and always aiming to support local businesses.

Can you tell we’re ice cream OBSESSED at Tarn & Fell Escapes? Here’s a run down of our favourite finds so far:


Kimi’s Gelato, Staveley

First things first, what does gelato mean? It’s the Italian word for ‘ice cream’. It’s made in a similar way to the ice cream we know and love, but is often made fresh each day and has a higher ratio of milk to cream when compared to traditional English ice cream. You might ask which is better for you, and while both are a treat, gelato does in fact have a lower fat content. Winner, winner if you ask me!

Now picture this: it’s a hot day, you’ve been for a walk around the Kentmere Valley and you’ve got a craving for something sweet. Look no further than Staveley’s own, Kimi’s Gelato.

Kimi’s Gelato bar is a family-run kitchen and parlour in the popular Lakeland village of Staveley – located in the heart of the lakes, between Kendal and Windermere. Kimi’s churn their gelato slowly, incorporating less air into the mixture and in turn allowing those wild and wacky flavours to blossom as they hit your tastebuds. With the most incredible list of flavours, you certainly won’t be disappointed with this Lake District ice cream. Although they do of course have the more traditional flavours of vanilla and chocolate, a recent and rather rogue favourite of mine was their special ‘Sea Buckthorn’ flavour. I, of course, had to ask for a taste sample first and wow – it was a definite yes! I hadn’t heard of sea buckthorn before, and certainly hadn’t tried it in ice cream form. It was bright orange in colour and tasted of a sweet yet tangy and tart orange flavour. I expected it to be sorbet like, but this was a true gelato – soft and creamy. 10/10 from me!

Kimi’s Gelato is located on Main Street in Staveley, which is only a 2.1-mile direct walk, or a 5-minute bus journey, from Mill Cottage at Ings. This is the ideal Lake District ice cream spot for any of our guests staying at Mill Cottage, and if you fancy working up an appetite before you get there, why not extend your walking route and experience some spectacular Lake District scenery along the way.

Ings Mill Park to Kimi’s Gelato, Staveley (extended walking route):

  • On foot, head left out of Ings Mill Park;
  • Shortly turn right, following signs for Staveley and up a narrow footpath;
  • Follow the footpath until you reach the farm, proceed through the working farm and turn right when you reach the road;
  • You’ll soon pick up a sign for Staveley on your left-hand side, turn left and go through the gate;
  • Following this, you’ll proceed through fields, over two streams and a couple of stiles;
  • At the second stile, follow it down to the right-hand corner of the field. Once through the gate, start heading up the path and begin your climb;
  • Once you reach the traditional style kissing-gate, turn right to reach to summit of Reston Scar – eventually looking over the village of Staveley and with panoramic Lake District views;
  • Once descending, follow the path and head in the direction of the village. You’ll arrive on Main Street;
  • Follow Main Street and you will find Kimi’s Gelato next door but one to the Spar convenience store.

Enjoy Kimi’s here


The Little Ice Cream Shop, Hawkshead

Perfectly located if you’re staying with us at Smithy Cottage, the Cumbria Life award winning Little Ice Cream Shop is situated in the largely pedestrianised centre of Hawkshead village. Honestly, it’s less than a two-minute walk from the cottage door! Some might say this Lake District gem is conveniently located to the cottage, but I’d say it was dangerously close… I know myself from visiting Smithy Cottage regularly that no amount of will power can hold me back from one of their divine ice creams. Forget self-catering cottages in Hawkshead, you could eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at this Lake District ice cream parlour during their summer season.

The Little Ice Cream Shop is owned by Amy, a local businesswoman who is on a mission to serve the best ice cream in the Lake District. They make over 40 flavours of ice cream and serve around 20 in any one day. Not only do they produce some of the finest Lake District ice cream, but they also make “some bangin’” sorbets and dairy free flavours too. If you’re looking for the best vegan ice cream in the Lake District, then Amy’s team down at The Little Ice Cream Shop really are the people for you. Give them a nudge when you get there and they’ll be able to tell you what amazing vegan, dairy and gluten free taste-tingling alternatives they have in stock.

Just when you think you’ve made your mind up on the flavour though, the friendly and ice-cream mad ‘scooping staff’ will put you through your paces by introducing you to their selection of cones, it’s an absolute haven for those with a sweet tooth. Take your pick from:

  • Plain waffle cone
  • Chocolate coated cone
  • Hundreds and thousands
  • Honeycomb pieces
  • Bubble gum coated

I like to experiment with my ice cream and try something different, but I can’t steer away from their Kendal Mint Cake flavour. This is localised take on the traditional mint choc chip. It still has that fresh yet creamy peppermint taste running through it, but instead of chocolate chips, unsurprisingly, this has big chunks of the infamous Kendal Mint Cake. It’s not everybody’s favourite on its own, but try it The Little Ice Cream shop way and you’ll never look back…

As well as their Hawkshead home, Amy and her team also have The Little Ice Cream Shop in Windermere. Located right in the middle of town and opposite the equally popular Homeground café, you won’t know which queue to join!

Check out The Little Ice Cream Shop here


Cumbrian Cow, Ulverston

This one’s a little further a field and certainly driving distance from any of our Lake District holiday cottages, but that’s the beauty of Cumbrian Cow, it’s geared up for cars: it has a drive-thru! Drive-thru ice cream, isn’t that revolutionary? Although they only open during the obvious ice cream season (usually from Easter to October), come rain or shine, this is the ideal place to get your Lake District ice cream fix. You’ll need the car out, but Cumbrian Cow isn’t too far from our beloved cottage, Potter’s Wheel at Water Yeat, Coniston. After a day of paddleboarding on Coniston Water, why not treat yourself to a scoop of the finest Lake District ice cream?

Cumbrian Cow not only serve some of the best ice cream we’ve ever had, but they make it all using milk from their own farm. There are no air miles here! This popular ice cream in Ulverston is situated at Edge Hill Farm and their award-winning Bolton Manor Cows produce all the milk for the rich and creamy delights we see on their menu. They always have 16 amazing flavours to choose from and if you don’t fancy it scooped into your favourite cone, they make the most incredible milkshakes too.

While you’re visiting Cumbrian Cow, give the Maize Maze a try in the field opposite. 2023 has seen the maze become jungle themed, with a jungle themed quiz to complete as you navigate your way through the maze. Your entrance ticket not only gives you access to the Maize Maze itself, but also their fun zone – new for 2022 with electric go karts, giant sandpit and stranded pirate ship!

Cumbria Cow makes for the perfect Lake District day out with family. Here’s a roundup of our family favourite flavours:

  • Birthday Cake – I’m a sucker for something novelty and old-fashioned school cake is my favourite. Ice cream and birthday cake mixed up. Yes please!
  • Custard Cream – rich and creamy with HUGE chunks of everyone’s favourite biscuit.
  • Blackcurrant & Cream – a delightful combination of tangy and tart.

Visit Cumbrian Cow here


Only one question remains, do you have your ice cream in a cone or a tub? Get in touch and let us know your verdict.