Motorway Services Online

Keele services

Welcome Break
Facilities | Rating | ReviewsKeele
Road:M6 between J15 and J16

Address:Trusthouse Forte Welcome Break
Keele Motorway Services Area
Three Mile Lane
Telephone number:01782 626221
Signposted from the road?Yes
Previous operators:Motorway Services Ltd, Trusthouse Forte
Grid reference:SJ806440
Services type:Single site built upon the motorway.
Visit Keele/Welcome Break's official website
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One of the oldest services, Welcome Break have refurbished Keele many times. The fast food is located on the bridge.


Catering: Burger King, Dunkin' Donuts, Harry Ramsden's, KFC, Papa John's Pizza, Starbucks, Starbucks Drive Thru, Subway, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme Shops: Fone Bitz, Waitrose, WHSmith Main Amenities: Ecotricity Electric Vehicle Charging Point, Showers, Welcome Break Gaming
southbound only: Tesla Supercharger
Motel: none Forecourt: Shell, Select, Deli2go, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme, Yorkshire Tea
southbound only: Autogas LPG

Parking Prices

First two hours free for all vehicles, after which HGVs, caravans and coaches must pay £22, or £24 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 and Design

Keele in the 1970s

Keele was the first service area on the M6 to be opened to tenders. It was won by Fortes, using a design which was favoured by the Ministry of Transport at the time, because of the efficiency and impressiveness of the structure. The design was very similar to a sister service area at Charnock Richard, but Keele is distinguished by water towers at each end of the bridge.

As you approach the services southbound, there is a sign in the central reservation for the services. It's thought that this is original to the opening of this part of the M6, and Keele is the only services to still have one of these.

Being close to Keele University, the Rear Access here has reportedly been one of the most abused. In 1977, Keele was the first service area to try to stop this with an expensive rising bollard set up, but it didn't work.

Construction and Opening

Having won the contract by impressing the Ministry with their ideas, Fortes quickly found themselves in hot water for the poor detail in their design work. Fortes missed out on several subsequent service station contracts over the next five years as a result.

The Ministry of Transport paid £9,360 towards the cost of the services, which they calculated as the value of the deck of the bridge. The rest of the funds were met by the operator. A minimum spend of £75,000 was required by the winning bidder.

A delay in construction meant the Staffordshire section of the M6 (including the services) was ready to open before the Cheshire section. This would have seen the motorway come to an end at the boundary, just north of the services. Fortes agreed to opening the services even though they would only be accessed via J15, and served only as a local attraction.

In the early 1990s, the northbound side of Keele looked likely to be demolished to make way for the widened M6. Welcome Break had a plan to build a new, larger northbound services, but feared the new Stafford services would take its custom. Instead, they worked on a large extension to the services, including adding the northbound Game Zone.


Today this is the middle of the services. But with toilets on the left (now moved), stairs to the restaurant on the right, and a snack bar ahead, this was once all the ground floor offered.

It has no motel but one was planned in 1997 and 2005, by expanding the site of services. An earlier plan by Fortes was rejected after legal difficulties, and the news they didn't own the land they wanted to use.

During the mid-'80s there was a fire on the bridge at the services which led to the motorway below being closed for several days. This is one of the reasons why today the Highways Agency are reluctant to allow bridges across motorway services. In 2003 there was another fire in the car park which destroyed part of the northbound carriageway.

The original design saw three entrances to the services, a snack bar built against the motorway, and the toilets right at the back (where they stayed until the 2000s). A shop was built next to the entrance, and became part of the main building when a lobby was added in the 1990s. Expansions by Welcome Break have added further shops to the ground floor level, taking away much of the shrubbery.

The bridge-restaurant originally had tables set in small booths with sections of glass in between.

Survey Results

Use with care. Outdated surveys have been included for interest only.

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

In 2008 the services won a five star loo award.

In 2006 and again in 2007, the services won a five-star loo award. The petrol station was rated four-star.

Also in 2006, the services were rated 2/5 by Holiday Which?

In 1977, Egon Ronay rated the services as "appalling", commenting on the deserted restaurants by saying the public had "wisely fixed their own boycott". As well as complaining about the frozen food and the "lackadaisical and ignorant" staff, he complained about its "very dated style and approach", the noisy pin ball machines, and the "sleazy" café whose whole atmosphere "is really only conducive to indigestion".


Stafford (North) (M6 northbound, 10 miles)
Stafford (South) (M6 southbound, 11 miles)
Derby and Burton (A50, 33 miles)
Services on the M6 Sandbach (15 miles)
Crewe (6 miles)
Derby and Burton (A50, 45 miles)
Corley (60 miles)
Hopwood Park (M42, 56 miles)
Telford (M54, 43 miles)
Derby South (A50, 42 miles)
Welcome Break services Charnock Richard (53 miles)
Burtonwood (M62 west, 40 miles)
Derby South (A50, 53 miles)

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