The UK’s best and worst motorway service stations
Summer means one thing, road trips! Whether you’re planning a long drive to the other side of the country or just heading out somewhere close by – sometimes you need to take a break for five minutes.
Taking a break at a motorway service station isn’t always convenient, just necessary. If you’re bursting for the loo, need to grab some lunch, or been driving for a long period of time, you have to find the nearest stop.
But where should you stop?
New research from Northgate Vehicle Hire reveals the UK’s best and worst motorway service stations, giving them a definitive score out of 10.
Looking at the number of amenities and the quality of the service, including restaurants, parking spaces, bathroom facilities, and hotels, the data shows Cobham to be the best service station in the UK, with 13 restaurants – including a Nando’s.
Take a break
If you’re heading to Heathrow or Gatwick, Cobham is between junctions nine and 10 of the M25. There are 4260 parking spaces, showers, and even a launderette.
It boasts the most food outlets of any service station, with 13 unique offerings. As well as a Nando’s it has a KFC, McDonald’s, a Harry Ramsden’s, a Carvery Express, a Greggs, an El Mexicana and a Pizza Express.
If you’re planning a trip in the North of the country, Chester services also scored high, with six food outlets, free wifi, showers and even an arcade to keep the kids busy whilst you grab a much needed coffee break.
Corley on the M6 and Cherwell Valley hidden away on the M40 are also recommended as two of the best if you’re travelling in the right direction.
Cherwell Valley even boasts a 4* hotel if you need to take a night cap on a long journey.
Make a U-Turn
The award for the UK’s worst service station goes to Todhills (south) on the M6, near Gretnor Green, with hardly any amenities – just a BP garage and a small Wild Bean Café on site.
Interestingly, Todhills (North) at the opposite side of the M6 also ranked at the bottom of the pile, along with Happendon on the M74 and Gloucester on the M5.
The best and worst motorways
If you’re travelling on the M11 today then you’re in luck – as this motorway ranked the best for available service stations. This was thanks to Birchanger Green services, which boasts 8 different food outlets. London’s M25 placed eleventh on the list, and the M1 came in ninth.
Motorists hitting the M23 in Surrey, however, aren’t in for a good stop, as this was ranked the motorway with the worst quality of service stations.
Tips for combating fatigue on long journeys
If you’re feeling tired on a long journey, you need to stop. In the summer, the warm weather can make you feel fatigued and you need you make sure you’re hydrated and fueled for the drive.
We’ve rounded up some top tips for combating tiredness whilst driving.
• The key thing is to plan your journey wherever possible so you don’t have to drive tired – and take breaks on long journeys every couple of hours.
• Keep the car cool. Adam Beckett, propositions director for Aviva, told The Telegraph: “Keep the temperature cool in the car and have the radio on – these will help keep you alert. But, if you do feel tired don’t try to fight it. Pull over safely and have a rest. The risks of having an accident are too great – don’t take that chance.”
• Get a good night’s sleep before heading off on a long trip
• Don’t travel for more than eight to ten hours a day
• Share the driving wherever possible
• Don’t drink alcohol before your trip. Even a small amount can significantly contribute to driver fatigue
• Don’t travel at times when you’d usually be sleeping
• Take a 15 minute powernap if you feel yourself becoming drowsy