M25, Junction 18; 9 minutes
Nature lovers stuck on the M25 should stop off at the Rickmansworth aquadrome, a 41-hectare reserve in the hollow of an old gravel quarry. Filled by the River Colne, it throngs with wildlife and a stroll around the easy mile-long trail will still any frayed tempers.
To match the eco-minded location, Café in the Park is a family friendly spot and draws many of the ingredients for its wholesome meals from local farms. Bread and pastries are all baked fresh in the kitchen and dishes are tasty and reasonably priced: rice falafel bowls, harissa chicken salad and a counter full of cakes.
The ethical philosophy spills over into the adjoining shop where you can fill your tote with organic vegetables, bamboo homewares, posies of flowers and loose grains. You can even grind your own nut butter here.
Kids are encouraged to get back to nature in the mud kitchen outside, and you can hose them off in the toilets before returning to the car. The queues are only proof that this is a winning formula.