The secret to the success of Cheshire’s favourite ice cream parlour

The award-winning Parkgate Homemade Ice Cream Shop has been run by the same family since it was opened on the June 7, 1985, some 36 years ago.

A long-standing favourite with day trippers from Cheshire and beyond, it has recently been recognised as the county’s favourite ice cream vendor by TripAdvisor, and has won the coveted TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Award.

Joe and his sister Emma now run the shop that their mother opened over three decades ago. Joe puts the shops popularity down to the quality of their produce:

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“We only serve quality ice cream, and we only sell ice cream. Premium quality ice cream in the best Italian flavours.”

A truly family business, regular patrons get to know those serving them, including the family’s dog, Dora, a fixture of the shop’s timeless appearance.

Joe couldn’t be happier in his work, and intends to continue what his mother started: “My mum opened the shop in June 1985, back when Maggie was the Prime Minister,” he laughs. “The lockdowns have been tough, but we’re still here. My mum has done this for the last 37 years and I’ll be doing it for the next 37.”

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The village has seen plenty of changes over time, not least the silting of the Dee Estuary, which has brought new life and beauty to the old port. Visitors can enjoy the huge wealth of bird life that exists on the marshes, including hen harriers and barn owls.

Joe recounts the changes he has seen: “We’ve got the nice new lagoons, the school has closed, Mostyn House; St. Thomas’ church was shut, but the residents all came together to open it up again. We’ve lost all the fish shops too with the tide going out. But it has kept its scenic value.”

(Image: Louise Colebourn)

“It’s just a really nice place to come and visit … We get visitors from all over the shop. Sydney, Australia; and China yesterday. If you’re visiting, it’s a lovely day out – Parkgate is the only coastal strip in Cheshire, people forget that. People from the area who have moved away always seem to come back here too.”

“We had a guy in from Liverpool and he couldn’t believe this was all here,” he says, gesturing towards the mile-wide marsh that stretches on towards the Welsh mountains and far out to sea.

The shop, which serves traditional Italian flavours alongside exciting new flavours such as coconut choc-chip, recently won the 2021 Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Award, something that Joe takes great pride in:

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“I was really made up, we’re very proud of that.”

Parkgate Homemade Ice Cream can be found on The Parade, a 1 kilometre run along the village’s seafront, and is ideally located across from a seating area from which visitors can enjoy stunning vistas of the Welsh hills and the vast Dee Estuary.

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