M40, Junction 10; 11 minutes
Free WiFi for visitors
Vegetarian or vegan options
Parking available onsite
Electric car charging
Follow the winding paths through the leafy garden centre to find the luminous tent that houses Nicholsons’ café, keeping your eyes peeled for wildlife (we spotted the green flash of a woodpecker). The enormous Mongolian yurt is a blissful sanctuary from the road: in winter it twinkles with fairy lights; come summer the canvas roof glows above tables decorated with large boughs of greenery. This is the perfect al fresco dining for a British climate.
The food has an ethically driven vegetarian and vegan focus and is reliably delicious. Try mushrooms served on potato rösti for breakfast; pan-fried spiced mackerel with beetroot salsa for lunch, or a confit duck leg with red cabbage purée. A slice of the ‘cake of the month’ – elderflower, lemon and pistachio in May, blueberry, lime and lemon thyme in August – will set you up for the onward journey.
The coffee is strong and the hot chocolate, made from Mexican cocoa, is mindblowing.