Over the last couple of weeks, London has been experiencing one of the most intense and prolonged heatwaves on record. Thankfully, a new ice cream museum (SCOOP: A Wonderful Ice Cream World) is here to cool things down a touch – phew. We took a trip down to Kings Cross to see if it’s as dreamy as it sounds.
Where is it?
Round the back of Kings Cross station; a short walk from Granary Square.
How long does it run?
From July 3 to September 30.
How much does it cost?
General Admission is £13, with concessions it’s £11 and under 16s get in for £7. Oh, and in case you have little ones, it’s free for under 2s. Tickets can be bought on the door or beforehand online. (Note: SCOOP is cash-free)
What’s the deal?
We’re not lying: SCOOP really is a whole museum dedicated to ice cream. As you’d expect, there is ample opportunity to indulge in the good stuff and take some killer Insta shots while you’re at it. It’s lighthearted and silly in places, but there has also been some more thoughtful curation – particularly when it comes to the history of ice cream and some of the unusual devices used to produce it.
Who’s behind it?
SCOOP is a project by The British Museum of Food, a roaming entity that aims to open a permanent space further down the line. Its founders are Bompass and Parr, the duo behind some of London’s most bizarre food events over the last decade, including the breathable cocktail cloud that wowed people in Borough Market a couple of years back. Many of the historic artefacts on show are taken from the private collection of Robin and Caroline Weir, who have been collecting ice cream-related paraphernalia for over thirty years and have authored books on the subject. The curator is Lisa Slominski.
What is there to do and see?
This a multi-sensory experience, meaning there are things to read, watch, taste and even smell. We particularly enjoyed pressing our noses up against the wall to get a whiff of some classic ice cream flavours. Another highlight was a Ben & Jerry’s installation, which asks you to put on a brain scanning headband while eating some of their ice cream to demonstrate the dancing effect it has on brain waves. There are experiential elements, too. One room recreates a cookery school and invites visitors to meet Ida Cooke (or at least an actor playing her) – a star pupil of Agnes B Marshall, a Victorian cook renowned for her ‘ices’ recipes. There is also an ice chamber, which is a godsend on a hot day.
How long does it take?
The museum doesn’t cover a huge expanse but with interactive elements plus plenty to read and watch (including an 18+ documentary about Glasgow gangs using ice cream vans to push drugs) you’ll probably want to set aside a good hour. Once you’re done you can buy ice creams at the exit and take them outside to eat by the canal.
If you’re interested in food history and anthropology or, you know, like to take fun pics for your feed then this is for you. If not, you can just marvel at Bompass and Parr’s Hundreds and Thousands fountain and enjoy the ice cream.