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Birchanger Green services

Birchanger Green
Welcome Break
Facilities | Rating | ReviewsBirchanger Green
Road:M11 at J8
(also accessible to traffic on the A120 and the B1256)

MAP AND DIRECTIONS
Address:Birchanger Green Service Station
Dunmow Road
Bishop's Stortford
Hertfordshire
CM23 5QZ
Telephone number:01279 653388
Signposted from the road?Yes
Opened:1995
Grid reference:TL512215
Services type:Single site located at a junction.
Visit Birchanger Green/Welcome Break's official website
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Twitter: @BirchangerGreen

A single service area located at a busy junction at the exit for Stansted Airport.

Facilities

Restaurants: Baskin Robbins, Burger King, Chopstix Noodle Bar, Harry Ramsden's, KFC, Starbucks, Subway, Tossed, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme, Starbucks Drive Thru Shops: Fone Bitz, Waitrose, WHSmith Main Amenities: Ecotricity Electric Vehicle Charging Point, Picnic Area, Showers, Tesla Supercharger, Welcome Break Gaming Motel: Days Innbook/Ramadabook Forecourt: Shell (with: Autogas LPG), Select, Deli2go, Costa Express, Yorkshire Tea, Air1 AdBlue

Parking Prices

First two hours free for all vehicles, after which HGVs, caravans and coaches must pay £26, or £29 to include a £9 meal voucher.

Prices can be paid in the shop with instructions in each car park. They are strictly enforced by ParkingEye.

Trivia & History

The services have a small birdwatching site.

When you drive in, the petrol facilities are offered before you reach the amenity building. Normally it's the other way round, meaning these services can be confusing as the car park is the very last option you get.

There is a new rival service area just a mile away on the A120, known as Stansted services, which is actually a group of facilities aimed at airport drop-off traffic which doesn't want to use the airport amenities. Consequently, Birchanger is signed to A120 traffic as if it were a tourist attraction. Traffic joining from Stansted Business Park gets signs for both services.

Planning

It's not clear when Birchanger opened but it was planned as far back as 1981. Several plans were rejected for various reasons until 1990, when one was finally permitted. A popular option was to use the south-east corner of the junction, which Mobil bought the land for in the hope they would win the contract, but they didn't.

It is the only service station on the M11, but one at Chigwell was originally proposed near J5, and other plans, particularly at Duxford, have since been thrown around.

Design

The refurbished food court

The building is shaped as a triangle, with an airy corridor along one side and a small seating area taking up the rest of the space. The large glass front is typical of services of this age.

The food and shops appear in almost no order as units have moved around, but a large Waitrose unit currently flanks the main corridor.

Although the interior of the services has been refurbished several times, the entrance doors are still in original Welcome Break blue.

Traffic Problems

Throughout the late nineties Birchanger Green's junction was heavily congested until major improvement works saw a new junction, J8a, constructed within the existing one to get traffic in and out of Stansted Airport much quicker. It is still a complicated junction, particularly for southbound traffic.

In 2010, Welcome Break complained that the new layout made it difficult for traffic to exit the services, creating long queues in the process, and offered to pay to have the majority of services traffic directed to the A120, where it could then join the roundabout with the M11. Their plans were rejected.

Brands

During 2006 a Sainsbury's store was trialled here, but it was removed as it only had a licence for 6 months and hadn't been much of a success. Before opening the store, Welcome Break had to do a lot of negotiating with the Highways Agency who were concerned that the store would lead to local people using the services, making it a destination in its own right. Welcome Break kept using Moto's connection with M&S as a reason for them to open up the store.

The motel at Birchanger was cheaper than Stansted's on-site one, and for that reason it was endorsed by several travel advice websites. A 77-bedroom "Days Hotel" was recently added alongside the existing 60-bedroom one as part of a £3m development. These were later rebranded to Ramada.

There are actually two large Starbucks coffee shops here, one being a former restaurant.

Tossed opened here in May 2014 - the first at a motorway service area.

Chopstix Noodle Bar opened in August 2016 - the first at a Welcome Break service area.

Survey Results

In May 2012 Visit England rated the services as 4 stars. In August 2011, they gave them 3 stars.

In 2008 the services won a five star loo award.

In 2006 and again in 2007, the petrol station's toilets were given a three-star loo award. The services themselves were rated four-star.

In 2005 the services won a five star loo award.

Alternatives

Previous:Next:
none on M11
South Mimms (M25 west, 29 miles)
Thurrock (M25 east, 30 miles)
Services on the M11 none on M11
Cambridge (A14, 32 miles)
none on M11
South Mimms (M25 west, 29 miles)
Welcome Break services none nearby

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