Sometimes the London traffic can turn a leisurely shopping trip into an exercise in pollution management. With all manner of buses, lorries and cars passing within a few feet of your nostrils, the fumes can quite literally get right up your nose.
When it gets really bad, like on a still day when there's no wind to blow the irritants away, you might even consider slinging on a face mask.
Or if endless engine noise is banging away on your eardrums like a band of over-enthusiastic Japanese taiko drummers, you may think about stuffing some ear plugs in. But walking down the street with your face covered and your ears blocked up isn't how a leisurely day out should be.
And forget a quiet street-side coffee Parisian style. That'd really be asking for trouble.
So, what to do? You could escape the tranquility of one of London's many parks, but there are no shops there.
OK, here's a suggestion then. How about taking a trip out to Canary Wharf?
Canary Wharf?" I hear you say. "That's one of London's main business districts; there can't be much there except suits and Starbucks!" Hold your horses!
Since its opening in the early nineties, more and more shops, restaurants, cafes and bars have moved into the area, making it a lively place not just in the week, but at weekends too.
And one of the great things about the place? No traffic!
There are more than 80 places to choose from when it comes to eating and drinking.
Restaurants and bars include places such as All Bar One, the Plateau Restaurant, several Pret A Mangers, the Manhattan Cocktail Bar, Organic Chickpeas, Quadrato Restaurant, Singapore Sam, and the Rocket Restaurant & Bar. Of course, you'll find Starbucks there as well. Five, in fact.
Many establishments offer outdoor seating, with some places, like All Bar One, positioned nicely right beside the water.
For all the shoppers out there, you won't go wanting. More than 100 retail outlets can be found at Canary Wharf, from clothes shops to supermarkets.
You've got Wallis and Warehouse, Fat Face and Paperchase. Hobbs and Moss and even Hugo Boss!
The shops' usual weekend trading hours are from 10am to 6pm on Saturdays, and from midday to 6pm on Sundays. A few of the eating places will be closed on the weekend, but the majority will be open for business.
You might catch a dance performance, art exhibition, or even a screening of a major sporting event. That's right, every summer Canada Square Park puts up a giant screen for live broadcasts of major national and international sporting events, such as Wimbledon tennis and Formula 1 racing.
Canary Wharf is only a short ride out from the centre of town so you might want to take a closer look some time.