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Clacket Lane services

Clacket Lane
Roadchef
Facilities | Rating | ReviewsClacket Lane
Road:M25 between J5 and J6

MAP AND DIRECTIONS
Address:Roadchef Motorways Ltd
Motorway Service Area M25 Westbound
Clacket Lane
Westerham
Surrey
TN16 2ER
Telephone number:01959 565577
Signposted from the road?As McDonald's/Costa
Opened:1993
Previous names:Titsey Woods
Grid reference:TQ423545
Services type:Two sites located between junctions, with no public connection between them.
Visit Clacket Lane/Roadchef's official website
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Clacket Lane consists of two large services on the M25 and it's a popular stopping point for coaches and lorries.

Facilities

Restaurants: Chozen Noodle, Costa, Fresh Food Café, McDonald's, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme Shops: Cotton Traders, Fone Bitz, WHSmith
eastbound only: Leaf Gifts
Main Amenities: Children's Play Area, Ecotricity Electric Vehicle Charging Point, Jackpot £500, Showers
westbound only: Regus Express
Motel: Days Innbook Forecourt: BP, BP Connect, Wild Bean Café

Parking Prices

First two hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £12 and HGVs, caravans and coaches £24, or £28 to include a £10 food voucher.

Prices are paid using PayByPhone - more details or in the shop or restaurant. The location code is 5258 (westbound) and 5257 (eastbound).

The fees are strictly enforced by CP Plus.

Trivia & Details

Looking down the corridor to the refurbished seating area

Between 1993 and 2008, Clacket Lane westbound was thought to be the largest services in the country. It also describes itself as the "brightest". At one point it also had the most expensive fuel.

They are situated below the North Downs, and until recently for a significant distance either side there were no other services.

For a long time the services have had a problem with lorries parking on the hard shoulder to access the services. There are now bilingual 'no parking' signs on the exit from the services on each side.

The services sit right next to the Kent-Surrey border, causing confusion as the nearest postal town (Westerham) is in Kent, but the services aren't. Therefore, although "Westerham, Surrey" is usually wrong, when talking about the services it's right. The two buildings were therefore designed to form a gateway to Kent/Surrey respectively, and the westbound side, once the first services for traffic coming up the newly-formed M20, a gateway to England, having a traditional English design trying to mimic a courtyard. Some of this styling is applied to the eastbound side, such as the brick wall around the building.

The services was the first Roadchef site to introduce the 'Engenie Electric Car Charging Points'. These later changed to 'Ecotricity' charging points.

The filling stations here were previously ran by Total. This then changed to Shell in early 2013 which then, in September 2013, changed to BP.

As with all Roadchef services, the inside used to have a long corridor design. Much of this is retained at the back, but in 2012 a McDonald's was introduced with a large seating area that crossed the main corridor, and a much smaller servery.

Planning

The site of Clacket Lane was chosen from around five possible junctions on the southern section of the M25. It was held as a back-up site from 1971, with Chevening being the preferred site but rendered unusable in 1976. Between J5 and J6 (known as the 'Titsey Woods' option), three individual sites were then assessed. For ease of identification, those three were named Titsey Woods, Clacket Lane and Brasted - Clacket Lane being literally named after the adjoining the street. That option was chosen and the unusual name stuck.

The decision to change the name from Titsey Woods to Clacket Lane was to identify the three options and not, as this site has previously suggested, because there were fears 'Titsey services' wouldn't be taken seriously. In each amenity building there is a large cabinet titled 'The History of Titsey Woods', which has several Roman artefacts which were discovered whilst the services were constructed.

As Roadchef expanded the site, the sliproads became incredibly short so they were eventually extended to improve safety, leaving four very clear 'ghost exits' on the carriageway. It also explains why the access roads through the services appear to head for the motorway and then curve away from it.

Objectors to the services took the proposal to the High Court, arguing that the Department for Transport would not regulate it sufficiently. This caused a delay to many other services which were planned at the time. Indeed the site of Clacket Lane was chosen in 1976, but it took almost 20 years to make it past all the studies and arguments, started after the Daily Mail wrongly suggested the services had been planned in secrecy, referring to it being promoted from 'alternative' to 'preferred'.

Survey Results

In May 2012 and August 2011, Visit England rated the services as 3 stars.

Lord Adonis (Secretary of State for Transport) said he was "very impressed" by the services when he made a surprise visit in September 2009, saying it was clean and provided a good meal.

The services were inspected by the AA on the 24th and 25th of March 2007. These are their results:

Category:Rating:
Road safety and parking:Good
Outdoor facilities:Acceptable
Access and indoor facilities:Acceptable
Catering:Acceptable
Shop:Very Good
Family Friendliness:Acceptable
Service:Good
Hygiene:Acceptable
Pricing:Very Poor
Final Score:Acceptable

The services were said to be well supervised with a good range of items in the shop and restaurant. The food wasn't tasty though, it had no picnic benches or indoor play area, it was very expensive and it was described as dirty, with the fold-away baby changing tables being described as "hazardous to health".

The services were also inspected by the AA on the 3rd and 4th of April 2004. These are their results:

Category:Rating:
Road safety and parking:Good
Outdoor facilities:Acceptable
Access and indoor facilities:Good
Catering:Acceptable
Shop:Very Good
Service:Acceptable
Communications:Very Poor
Hygiene:Very Poor
Pricing:Very Poor
Final Score:Poor

In this test, the services were said to be well prepared and tasty. Again, the variety of stock in the shop was brought up, but again the services were described as "extremely dirty". The shop was expensive and the staff were unfriendly, too.

Alternatives

Previous:Next:
Thurrock (18 miles)
Maidstone (M20, 26 miles)
Medway (M2, 30 miles)
Tollgate (A2 eastbound, 21 miles)
Cobham (A2, 23 miles)
Services on the M25 Pease Pottage (M23, 23 miles)
Fleet (M3, 48 miles)
Ripley (A3, 26 miles)
Cobham (M25, 23 miles)
Maidstone (M20, 26 miles)Roadchef services none nearby

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AA survey results from the Automobile Association, you can view the full report and what they were looking for in this this PDF document for the 2007 test, or this one for the 2004 results.