Consumer champion Which? surveyed more than 2,700 members covering around 5,600 experiences at almost 70 motorway service stations across the UK. Members rated them on criteria, including range of facilities, prices, and ease of social distancing.
The top three service stations belong to Westmorland. Gloucester (on the M5), Tebay (on the M6 at the edge of the Lake District), and Cairn Lodge (on the M74 in Lanarkshire) ranked first, second, and third in the table, respectively.
Gloucester received the top score of 86%, scoring five stars for cleanliness, range and quality of its shops and food outlets, as well as its range of facilities.
At the other end of the table was Bridgwater on the M5, owned by Moto. The service station received 32% and was awarded just one star in every category.
Welcome Break was responsible for half of the 10 service stations at the bottom of the table – more than any other brand. Its service station in Gordano came just ahead of Bridgwater, with a score of 40%, while its services in Newport Pagnell (41%), Keele (42%), London Gateway (45%), and Birchanger Green (45%) also populated the bottom 10. Its highest scoring service station, found in Warwick, scored 57%.
Roadchef runs three of the services listed in the bottom 10, including Watford Gap on the M1 (43%) and Sandbach on the M6 (42%), both of which earned a dismal one star for their range of facilities and just two stars for cleanliness.
Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: “The results of our survey show that it pays to plan ahead to avoid some of the UK’s worst motorway services. It could be the difference between a home-cooked meal in peaceful surroundings, or crowded queues in downright dirty facilities.
“Whether you’re zipping down the M5 towards the beaches on the south-west coast, or up the M6 towards the Scottish border, make sure your journey isn’t spoiled by a stop at a shoddy service station.”