We've all been there, checking motorway traffic news for the next service station – I like to check 'BBC travel motorways' myself. But where are the BEST and WORST motorway services in England? Vanarama's Tom Roberts reports.
Service stations are great…when they're great, and awful when they're not. On a typical long-distance motorway travel, I try to stop at a service station at least once, and I want that place to be a palace (and have functioning toilets). But where are the palaces, and where are the pits?
Well, thanks to Transport Focus (who ran the same survey in 2017), there's a definitive list of the 111 best and worst services in England – as voted for by 9,600 surveyed motorway drivers.
BEST and WORST motorway services in focus
Smack bang at the top of the list is Norton Canes situated on the M6 Toll in Staffordshire, which received a 100% satisfaction rating. I've been there and it's a lovely place to spend a 20-minute break – clean, airy, friendly staff, satisfied customers.
And right down the bottom is Thurrock on the M25 (surprise, surprise) with only 68% satisfied. Hey, it's not a terrible result, but shows there's definitely room for improvement.
Naming and shaming has worked in the past. Heston East , the lowest ranked from 2017's list, has improved its satisfaction rating from 62% to 88% this year. And the second-worst service station of last year – Stafford Southbound – sat on only 70%, but this year has shot to the second-best with a 99% satisfaction rating. Amazing work!
The Top 5
1. Norton Canes - M6 Toll in Staffordshire (operated by Roadchef)
2. Stafford Southbound - M6 in Staffordshire (Roadchef)
3. Wetherby - A1(M) in Yorkshire (Moto)
4. Hilton Park Southbound - M6 in Staffordshire (Moto)
5. Corley Southbound - M6 in Warwickshire (Welcome Break)
The bottom 5
107. Bridgwater - M5 in Somerset (Moto)
108. Newport Pagnell South - M1 in Buckinghamshire (Welcome Break)
109. Southwaite Northbound - M6 in Cumbria (Moto)
110. Toddington Southbound - M1 in Bedfordshire (Moto)
111. Thurrock - M25 in Essex (Moto)
What do we think?
There they are in all their glory – or shame – the best and worst service stations in England. I can't argue with those choices. Norton Canes is lovely, Wetherby too is a great choice of stop. Conversely, Newport Pagnall South is a bit rubbish, as is Toddington Southbound.
When I look at the massive improvements that some of 2017's low-ranked motorway services have made in the last 12 months, it's clear they took last year's results to heart. And quite right too. Services are there to provide drivers with 20 minutes of comfort on long journeys…if they can't do that, well, maybe it's time to rethink or re-staff.
Happy travels, everyone. And don't forget to tell us about your favourite motorway service stations in England.
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