The best service stations in the UK and places to see nearby

Motorway service sign

Do you love a quick coffee stop on the motorway?

A recent survey by Which? has revealed the best service stations up and down the country, based on categories such as cleanliness, range of facilities and prices.

Here’s our pick of the best – plus a few nearby attractions that might tempt you for a longer stop-off.

1. Gloucester

A family-run motorway-stop, Gloucester Services prides itself on being an eco-friendly service station – it even has a grass roof! Inside you’ll find a range of farm shops selling local produce and homemade food at five-star prices. Which? awarded five stars for cleanliness and quality.

Fancy a little retail therapy? Gloucester Quays is a great place to pick up a bargain, boasting a number of top outlet stores including home, designer and high street fashion brands.

Which? score: 86%

2. Tebay

A nice half-way point from the South up to the Scottish Isles, Tebay Services stocks only locally sourced produce, with a range of hot and cold food options and stunning views across the countryside.

If it’s a nice day, why not take your service-stop lunch an extra six miles to Shap Abbey? Hidden in the beautiful valley of the river Lowther, this ruined abbey is free to enter, and makes the ideal stop off on a long summer road trip.

Which? score: 83%

3. Cairn Lodge

An eco-friendly service stop with a homely feel, Cairn Lodge Services is located on the M74 between junctions 11 and 12. With a great selection of fresh farm shop produce to buy in the shop or café, this is a lovely little place to stop and refresh on a long drive.

If you need an extra stretch of the legs, a seven-mile detour will take you to the Falls of Clyde, a stunning nature reserve protected by the Scottish Wildlife Trust. 

Which? score: 69%

4. Norton Canes

Just north of Birmingham, Norton Canes offers a good range of places to eat and drink, including a McDonalds and a Costa. A convenient stop if the toll road is busy.

Little ones need to let off some steam? The Beach Hut is a multi-tiered soft play centre for children aged 0-11, only half a mile from Norton Canes Services.

Which? score: 65%

5. Wetherby

A great little service stop with a range of budget options to keep all the family happy. Food options include Burger King, KFC, Greggs, M&S Simply Food and a Drive Thru Costa if you don’t want to stop.

Add a little history to your drive by driving just 5.6 miles off-route to explore the 13th Century ruins of Spofforth Castle. Perfect for a stretch of the legs, or if the dog needs a run-around.

Which? score: 61%

6. Annandale Water

A scenic stop between Glasgow and Carlisle, Annandale Services has all the basic amenities, plus beautiful views over the loch.

A little out of the way, but if you’re up for a bit of Scottish culture Robert Burns Ellisland Farm is definitely worth a visit. About a half-hour drive on from Annandale Water, this quaint little farmhouse is the rural home of the Scottish National Bard himself.

Which? score: 60%

7. Donnington

Fuel up with a hearty grill at Donnington’s Harvester, one of the best stops for a decent meal on a UK motorway. This M1 stop-off also has a Burger King, Greggs, Costa and M&S Simply Food if you’re just wanting a fly-by.

If you’re into your F1, Donington Park Race Circuit has an incredible collection of Grand Prix cars including those driven by Manswell, Coulthard and Button, right back to Regazzoni and Rindt.

Which? score: 60%

8. Beaconsfield

This 24-hour service stop along the M40 has one of the best selections of restaurants, including a Nando’s, Wetherspoons, Leon and McDonald’s. There’s also plenty of outdoor seating, giving you a nice breath of fresh air before getting back on the road.

Got some time for a stop off? Bekonscot Model Village & Railway is a 15-minute drive from the services, and is one of the world’s oldest original model villages. It also has a lovely kids’ playground and an ice cream parlour if you fancy an extra treat.

Which? score: 57%

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