Every so often, us bikers find ourselves on the motorway… I know, it’s not the place for our bikes really, but if you’re desperate to eat up some miles, and low on fuel (or after a bite to eat), then you’ll be laughing if you’re on the M6 in Cumbria…
Which? members have rated the motorway services stations they’d used recently, and ranked the 26 most frequently visited. The consumer magazine found that Tebay (90%), on the M6 in Cumbria, is the favourite beating the closest competition by 21 percentage points.
Tebay, the only location to get a full five-star rating, achieved this feat in both toilet cleanliness and food quality. The family-run business is slightly different from usual service stations as it sells home-grown and local produce in its farm shop and restaurant. The rest of the top five were Wetherby, A1(M) (69%), Cobham, M25 (67%), Peterborough, A1(M) (61%) and Hopwood Park, M42 near Birmingham (59%).
In addition, Which? looked at the four major motorway service station brands and found that relative newcomer Extra (60%) topped the list. Extra adopts a different approach to other motorway services by leasing space to food and drink retailers and letting them set their own prices in an attempt to increase competition. Roadchef (50%), Moto (47%) and Welcome Break (47%) were the other brands we rated.
Eight in 10 Which? members said they think food and drink is significantly more expensive at motorway services than elsewhere so the cost of motorway service station basics were compared with the closest supermarket. The snapshot investigation found that travellers could slash their spending by nearly half, saving up to £11.47 on the same shopping basket.
To save money at motorway services, follow these simple tips:
- Don’t fill up with fuel unless you really need to – use the website Petrolprices.com to find somewhere cheaper en route.
- Look at motorway services’ websites for deals and offers – Moto and Roadchef have vouchers you can print, and both have mobile apps that provide daily deals.
- Members of the AA can get discounts at Moto outlets, including WH Smith, Costa and M&S.
Which? editor Richard Headland, said: “Our research shows there’s a big difference in the standards you can expect when you pull into a motorway service station. We also found that you can save a packet if you plan ahead and find cheaper alternatives along the route.”
Why not tell us your favourite (and most hated!) services…