One of the United Kingdom’s Top Three Motorway Service Stations
Growing up in England, on any road trip, my parents and I always stopped off at a motorway service area. Also known as service stations, when I was a kid these places were shabby, rundown and often not that clean. Fast forward a couple of decades and companies like Road Chef now operate some of the best motorway service areas in the world. So good in fact that on my last trip to the UK this year, I spent so much time in Road Chef motorway stations I was seriously considering getting a hotel room there.
What are Road Chef Motorway Service Areas? – Similar to an American rest stop, British Road Chef motorway service areas (service stations) are located slap bang next to the UK’s major motorways (freeways) all around the country. If you’re in need of a a bathroom, a coffee, some food, a bit of a change of scenery or even an inexpensive hotel rooms, these service areas have all of this.
Road Chef is one of the top three companies in the country that run motorway service areas and, although I enjoyed what the other two companies provide too, I still think Road Chef is the best.
What Will You Find at a Road Chef Service Area?
Of course, it depends on which of the 27 Road Chef service stations you stop at. All have similar amenities, but some are simply bigger service stations than others so offer additional things the smaller ones don’t.
Each Road Chef service area though has basic amenities every driver on the UK’s roads might want to take advantage of.
Each Road Chef location has enormous toilets in a couple of locations around the facility. They’re constantly cleaned, so lovely to use, and there are plenty of sinks and childrens’ diaper changing (nappy changing, as the Brits call them), if you’re traveling with small children.
Restaurants and Cafes
Each Road Chef has contracts with certain restaurants and cafes, so the places you can eat or grab a coffee at are consistent at every Road Chef.
Companies include Subway, where you’ll get that typical American sub sandwich with loads of choices of fillings, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, and a restaurant called Hot Food Co, which serves excellent British food like fish and chips, steak pie and chips, full English breakfasts and other hearty filling food. There’s also The Burger Company, if you’re looking for a better burger than McDonalds, and RestBite, a mini supermarket where you can pick up wrapped sandwiches, salads, mini meals, soup and a whole range of inexpensive kids’ meals.
With any of the restaurants, you can eat at one of the tables in the main area of Road Chef, or you can take it to go and eat it in the car. Just remember to pick up plastic knives, forks, spoons and paper napkins before you leave.
For coffee, you’ll find several Costa Coffee stalls and coffee shops all over each Road Chef service station and the coffee is excellent. Or, if you want a cheaper latte, cup of tea or hot chocolate, most of the other restaurants and food outlets serve it from vending machines which, surprisingly, is quite delicious.
Road Chef is great for picking up a newspaper, magazine, book, candy, chocolate, CDs, stationery and travel items as they all have fully-stocked W.H. Smith retail stores.
In many of the Road Chef service areas, you’ll also find Fone Bitz stores, where you can buy a new cell phone or phone accessory, or a Wi-Fi dongle if you need internet for your laptop, as well as other laptop accessories you may need on the road.
Speaking of Wi-Fi, every Road Chef location also has free Wi-Fi. It’s fast, secure and sign-up is as easy as going online and giving them a valid e-mail address. Takes all of three minutes and you’re set up and web surfing.
Days Inn Hotels
Fourteen Road Chef locations around the UK also have Days Inn Hotels right next door, so if you’re long-distance driving or driving late into the evening, pull off the road and spend the night. You can eat dinner at one of Road Chef’s restaurants, buy a newspaper or a book at W.H. Smith, grab a Costa Coffee latte to take back to your room, then settle in for the night for a good sleep.
Road Chef’s are open 24 hours a day. They’re clean, incredibly comfortable, safe and convenient. We also found the staff at every cafe, shop and Road Chef service area to be extremely pleasant, friendly and helpful.
Driving around the UK and need a rest? Stop off at any Road Chef service station. You’ll absolutely love them.