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These are the best and worst motorway service stations in the UK

By Ted Welford | October 17, 2023

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So what was ranked the best and worst service station in the UK? Let’s take a look at the five from the top and the bottom.

These are the best and worst motorway service stations in the UK

If you’re doing a long journey in the UK, there’s a good chance you’ll have to stop at a motorway service station.

Though many are renowned for being expensive, not all that clean and a bit run-down, this isn’t the case for all motorway services, as a new survey has shown a significant difference between the best and worst in the UK.

Collaborated by Transport Focus, an independent consumer organisation, it spoke to 30,000 people across 120 motorway service stations in England, Wales and Scotland to come up with the best. 

Services were ranked on key areas such as cleanliness, toilet facilities, food and value, while various visitor types also rated their satisfaction, including HGV drivers, electric car drivers and disabled users. 

So what was the best and worst in the UK? Let’s take a look at the five from the top and the bottom. 

Please note that Westmorland, operator of Tebay and Gloucester services), Euro Garages and Stop 24 chose not to take part in this year’s survey. 

1. Moto Rugby

If you want to choose a pleasant place to stop on the motorway network, it’s Moto’s Rugby that should be your top choice. Positioned on junction 1 of the M6, and only a short distance away from the M1, the services were given a 100 per cent satisfaction score. 

Rugby is Moto’s newest site, only opening in April 2021, it was rated highly for its food and drink, toilets and friendly staff. The services also has a large number of electric car chargers. 

2. Roadchef Killington Lake

The motorway network’s gateway to the Lake District is Killington Lake, located near Kendal between junctions 36 and 37 of the M6. It comes highly rated too, with a 99 per cent satisfaction rating. 

Motorway service stations aren’t known for being picturesque, but this is an exception as it has a fantastic view over the Killington Reservoir. 

3. Roadchef Annadale Water

You’ve got to head further north to get to the next top-rated services – Annandale Water, which is operated by Roadchef. It also has a lake you can walk around, with reviews saying that swans and geese can often be seen around the car park. 

It’s positioned next to the A74(M) near Johnstonebridge and is the perfect halfway house between Carlisle and Glasgow. It was awarded a 99 per cent rating. 

4. Moto Wetherby

It’s another northern service station that comes highly rated, with Moto Wetherby also having a 99 per cent satisfaction rating. It’s also recently benefitted from having a bank of 12 high-power 350kW electric car chargers installed. 

Located off junction 46 of the A1(M), it’s handily positioned just north of Leeds for those heading to Newcastle or even further north to Edinburgh. 

5. Roadchef Stafford South

You’ll find a number of the UK’s best motorway services located on the M6, and rounding off the top five with a 99 per cent rating is Roadchef Stafford South, located between junctions 14 and 15, between Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent.

What’s more surprising is the difference between the South and North services at Stafford, with the northbound side being positioned 72 (of 120). 

WORST 

116. Welcome Break Hartshead Moor West

Moving to the countdown of the worst motorway services in the UK, in 116th position is Harthead Moor West, operated by Welcome Break. 

Located between junctions 25 and 26 of the M62, near Brighouse, West Yorkshire, it was awarded an 88 per cent rating. 

117. Moto Bridgwater

For the next worst services you’ve got to head much further south to Moto Bridgwater, located on junction 24 of the M5, just south of the town it’s named after in Somerset. 

Recording just an 88 per cent rating, it is placed fourth from the bottom of the worst in the UK. Users of the services complained of the ‘bizarre’ car parking setup, which is said to be representative of a multi-storey car park, as well as ‘terrible access’. 

118. Moto Toddington South

The final motorway services heading south on the M1 before you reach the M25 is Toddington Services south, located between Milton Keynes and Luton. 

But based on its 88 per cent rating, and various online reviews that call it ‘dirty’, ‘unwelcome’ and with locked disabled toilets, it might be worth skipping…

119. Moto Toddington North

It seems you’re no better heading north and stopping at Moto’s Toddington services either, as this is positioned second from the bottom. 

It received an 88 per cent rating, and though this doesn’t sound too bad, online reviews complain of unreliable electric car charging and little parking space. One user said to ‘avoid if at all possible’. 

120. Welcome Break Hartshead Moor East 

But right at the bottom of the poll comes Welcome Break Hartshead Moor East. With an 84 per cent satisfaction score, it’s even lower placed than on the other side of the carriageway.

It’s worth noting that work to refurbish the toilets at this services was happening at the time of the survey. One person visiting said: “Temporary toilets outside. In wet weather, this was a real nuisance.”

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