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Millions of people will travel up and down the country to visit friends and family this Christmas, and many will do so by car.
When you live hours away from your relatives, it seems inevitable that a stop at a motorway service station will be required, if only for a comfort break and a coffee – and they can be bleak places at the best of times.
With that in mind, we believe you should make your trips as enjoyable as possible so you arrive at your destination relaxed and refreshed.
If you’re driving home for the festive season, you’ve probably planned if and when you might stop to visit a service station along the way by now. If you haven’t, then good news – we’ve done the leg work for you and researched the best places to stop in the UK.
Here are some of the most well-reviewed motorway services according to Tripadvisor.
Strensham Northbound Motorway Services (Average score 3/5 stars)
Location: Strensham M5 Northbound Service Area 5
“Excellent services with clean toilets. A good variety of food outlets with Cotton Traders there as well. McDonalds our favourite.”
Cairn Lodge Services (Average score 3.5/5 stars)
Location: M74 Between Junctions 11/12, Glasgow
“I have to say, it is not often that you leave a motorway service stop off and think, ‘Wasn’t that lovely?’. We stopped off today on the way back from a week in Lochgoilhead with friends and I have to say, fantastic breakfast, brilliant coffee and just the loveliest staff one could wish for. Seriously; one day, all motorway services will be this way. Can’t speak highly enough.
“Brilliant farm shop with genuinely well-curated food, drink and crafts. There is no “gift shop tatt” here – the last thing I expected to buy today was a lovely enamelled candlestick holder and a brilliantly designed Tunnocks tea towel. Cannot recommend highly enough. What a delightful discovery for a weary traveller. Thank you.”
Cobham Service Station M25 (Average score 3.5/5 stars)
Location: M25, Cobham, Surrey
“For a motorway service station this is huge, so many various, diverse places to eat and drink. Main amenities – the loos were spotlessly clean and modern, surprising for the amount of footfall here.”Many other retail outlets here as well. First visit but won’t be our last because whatever way you look at it, we all tend to stick to service stations we’ve tried and tested for years!”
Roadchef Chester (Average score 3.5/5 stars)
Location: M56 Junction 14, Elton, Chester
As one user wrote: “Many visits to this venue over the years and never found anywhere to leave a review until now, by chance.
“Useful location, fairly large car park, great for a pit stop. Quite a few outlets for food and shopping. Normally head for the costa as we like their coffee. Usually only there for a road break, the loo and some light refreshments. Nice to look round the Cotton Traders.”
Gloucester Services (Average score 4/5 stars)
Location: M5 Northbound, Gloucester, Cotswolds
As one happy customer recently posted: “I was impressed by the standard and cleanliness of the toilets. Knowing how heavily used motorway toilets are, these really do set the standard high.
“The farm shop has an amazing selection of local food from artisan bread, ‘proper’ cheeses, excellent meat as well as sausages and cold meats.
“The cake selection is to die for. I regretted having had breakfast before I set off on my journey. Staff were neat and tidy with excellent customer skills. Definitely worth stopping at!”
Beaconsfield M40 services (Average score 4/5 stars)
Location: M40, Beaconsfield
“So many options of food and friendly staff,” said one recent review. “A bit busy but what can you expect from the best service station in the UK?”
Tebay Services (Average score 4/5 stars)
Location: Tebay, Lake District, Cumbria
One review reads: “Called into Tebay North on our way back from Manchester. Thought I would treat the family to lunch. Lasagne, macaroni cheese, steak and ale pie with gorgeous mashed potatoes, mixed veg and gravy. Two kids meals, which is amazing value for the money. All excellent and flavoursome fare.
“Staff very pleasant and attentive. Lovely experience. Called into the shop for some goodies on the way out. Thoroughly enjoyed our visit.”
Moto Hospitality (Average score 4.5/5 stars)
Location: Junction 1 M6 Leicester Road, Rugby, Warwickshire
One review reads: “Easy to find off the motorway. Modern and clean, with an open plan eating area and a separate children’s play area. Had a number of options for food and drink and enough staff to deal with the demand.”
Route 74 Truckstop (Average score 4.5/5 stars)
Location: Teiglum Road, Lesmahagow, Scotland
“This is our regular pit stop when travelling from England up to Scotland,” explained one customer. “You can get to it travelling both ways. Hearty portions at very reasonable prices. Very clean as well. We would highly recommend it.”
Someone else wrote: “We stopped here on the way back down from a motorcycle trip to the Cairngorms. Great breakfast, quality food, friendly staff and bonus – the loos were spotless.”
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