I tried Kent’s best ice cream shop and the brain freeze was so worth it

Bears Ice Cream Imaginarium in Whitstable
-Credit: (Image: KentLive)

In my humble opinion, there are few things in life that are better than enjoying a delicious ice cream on a hot summer’s day. With the promise of some warm weather finally on the horizon after a pretty miserable start to June, my hankering for frozen treats is already starting to rise.

Being a county that’s well known for its seaside, Kent is in no short supply of places to grab your scoop of choice, but this year I decided I wanted to try the best of the best. Of course you can’t ever go wrong with a visit to a trusty Mr Whippy van, and Creams has never let me down so far in life, but my eye was caught by one esteemed ice cream shop that has just netted two impressive awards.

Bears Ice Cream Imaginarium in Whitstable has taken home the Muddy Stilettos Award for ‘Best Local Food/Drink Producer’, a high honour indeed. Last month, the publication revealed the winners of its annual regional awards, and plenty of incredible independent Kent gems saw recognition, from charming countryside pubs to a tiny high street hair salon .

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With the award under their belt, Bears Ice Cream will join all of the other Kent winners in competing at the National Muddy Awards, the winners of which will be revealed on July 11. If that's not enough to get you through the door, their Blueberry-Lavender Jam, Meringue Swirl flavour ice cream was recently crowned Dairy Product of the Year at the Taste of Kent Awards 2024.

Finding myself in Whitstable recently, I knew I just had to give Bears a go to see exactly what award-winning ice cream actually tastes like and if this shop truly lives up to the hype. With a name that sounds like it could be a Roald Dahl book and rave reviews at every turn, my hopes were high for this shop.

Getting my just desserts

Finding the shop was dead simple, sitting along the High Street just a stone’s throw from the main beachfront, you really couldn’t ask for a better place to put an ice cream shop. On my first step in, my nose was instantly filled with the incredible sweet scents of fresh ice cream, raising my expectations even higher.

Clearly the spot is popular, with a gathering of eager customers all crowded around the central fridges and till, scanning over the unique flavours and carefully picking their desired scoop. A few stomach rumbling moments later it was my turn to look over the selection, and the choices left me floored.

Here, you’re going to find a little more than your bog-standard vanillas, strawberries, chocolates and mint choc-chip. Instead you’re greeted with a selection that Willy Wonka himself would be proud to call his own.

Salted pumpkin seed, passionfruit and dark chocolate freckles sorbet, gooseberry crumble, lemon curd Biscoff marshmallow - these were just some of the striking creations to pick from. My attention was instantly grabbed by the double dark chocolate flavour which looked like it would have Augustus Gloop foaming at the mouth.

Double dark chocolate ice cream from Bears Ice Cream Imaginarium in Whitstable
This is an ice cream I won't soon forget -Credit:KentLive

Knowing this was the flavour for me, I chose two scoops in a tub, which came to £5.75, so a little more than your local ice cream van but this isn’t your standard 99. From the first spoonful I was in love.

Rich in flavour and silky in texture, each bite seemed even more delicious than the last, so much so that I wolfed down half of it far too quickly and gave myself brain freeze. This truly was an exceptional dessert from start to finish, and despite being so chocolate-heavy, was not nearly as sickly as I expected it to be.

I finished the whole tub in what felt like next to no time and I was half tempted to go back for one more scoop. In the interest of maintaining my current trouser size, I felt best to leave it for the time being, though it was a close call.


If you find yourself in Whitstable anytime soon, this is a spot I wholeheartedly recommend, especially on a hot day. With so many different flavours on offer, I can see this being a shop I'll visit time and again whenever I’m back along this part of the coast.

Whether you’re a chocolate lover, are partial to a refreshing sorbet or want something even more extravagant like an actual bear made of ice cream, you can find it all here. Watch out Ben and Jerry, you’ve got some serious competition.

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