|Facilities | Rating | Reviews|
|Road:||M2 between J4 and J5|
MAP AND DIRECTIONS
Farthing Corner Motorway Services Area
|Telephone number:||01634 236900|
|Signposted from the road?||As Greggs/Costa/Burger King|
|Previous operators:||Rank, Pavilion, Granada|
|Previous names:||Farthing Corner|
|Services type:||Single site built upon the motorway.|
|Visit Medway Westbound/Moto's official website|
Visit Medway Eastbound/Moto's official website
The only 'proper' services on the M2/A2 route, Medway is very old and consists of one building built across the road. The services are quite quiet as new routes such as the M20 and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link have meant that the M2 is no longer as important as it used to be.
Restaurants: Burger King, Costa, Greggs, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme Shops: M&S Simply Food, WHSmith Main Amenities: Children's Play Area, Ecotricity Electric Vehicle Charging Point, Picnic Tables, Showers, Full Hou$e, Lucky Coin Motel: Travelodge Forecourt: BP (with: LPG), Shop, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme, Air1 AdBlue
First two hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £12.50 and HGVs £22.50, or £24 to include a £9 food voucher.
Prices are paid using PayByPhone - more details. The location code is 2454 (westbound) and 2453 (eastbound).
The fees are strictly enforced by CP Plus.
Trivia and History
The services were opened as Farthing Corner, after the nearby village. The change to Medway wasn't just for commercial reasons: the M2 was often referred to as the Medway Motorway, so the services were referred to colloquially as the 'Medway Motorway Services' since it opened.
Medway has a works depot located on the westbound sliproad back on to the motorway. The poor road markings mean that it is easy to go wrong here and, instead of rejoining the M2, end up passing through the secret exit (which is in this case ungated) and end up in Rainham.
On 3 December 2010 the M2 through the services was closed and diverted through the car park following a broken window on the bridge caused by storm damage.
There was a lot of debate to be had about whether the M2 needed a service station, as it was only short. It was decided that as it was part of a major route from across the country to Dover, and as it was trying to attract traffic away from the towns, a service station should be provided in the middle. A maintenance compound was going to be required anyway.
The chosen site for the services was in the middle of the motorway at Hartlip. It was also chosen because the site was a perfect circular shape, a rural area, a rear access was available, there was a local force available, and the cutting meant no steps would be required. Consideration was given to building the whole site on one side of the road, with sliproads taking traffic onto the opposite side.
This location was unpopular with local residents, and the Local Planning Authority objected to it. Alternative sites were examined near Bredgar, which would have had even more planning issues, and at J4. Farthing Corner was the next choice; it was popular in that it wasn't a controversial or particularly scenic location, although it wasn't exactly in the middle of the road.
Although the site acquired for the services was 21 acres (making it massive compared to the services already open at the time), only 12 were for developing. The rest was for picnic areas and embankments.
After this was decided, the East Kent Road Car Company Ltd threw a spanner in the works by suggesting they would be parking 40 coaches at the services at one time. The plan had allowed for five coach parking spaces, with appropriately-sized facilities. The site required to cater for that many coaches would have been absolutely massive, and with hindsight, far in excess of what was ever needed.
The contract stipulated that at least 48 toilets must be provided overall, two cafés and one restaurant.
As well as the winning bid, restaurant chain and food manufacturers J Lyons & Co made a bid for the services, which was described as "deplorable".
Farthing Corner was Rank's first service area. They were attracted to the site as they felt the forthcoming Channel Tunnel would increase the traffic levels - in the event it reduced them by requiring the construction of the M20. As a result, this is one of few old motorway services which aren't heavily overloaded.
Upon opening, Rank described it as "gay and colourful", and intended the blue and yellow colours to offer a warm welcome to visitors to England. In reality it became known for being particularly dirty, and described by inspectors as "sleazy".
To showcase the best of rural England, the westbound (Londonbound) restaurant was built with large windows, offering a wide view to the south. It cost Rank £350,000 to build the services, almost four times as much as the government suggested they spend.
A restaurant at each end offered multi-lingual menus, and staff wore old English-style hunting outfits. They were mustard and teak in colour. One restaurant, open 07:00 to 19:30, had green, plastic settees and stools, with square counters in the middle. A choice of à la carte or a set meal was offered. The second was a busier, long, more utilitarian room with orange and green plastic benches.
The eastbound services had a large picnic area.
The front of both buildings had a large terrace area, with an umbrella-style building at the front selling ice cream and postcards. On each carriageway, customers boarding the terrace had a choice of entering the toilets or restaurant.
Between the two buildings a wide bridge was initially provided between the two sides. This doubled up as a sun terrace, with seats and large windows. This and the terrace offered a prime view of the new motorway. A diagonal pathway with awning over the top ran across the two sides. Plans to advertise Rank from these services were refused. This bridge was later covered to become a core part of the services, and now forms the majority of the public area, serving as the restaurant.
With this gain in floorspace, the rest of the services has hardly expanded at all.
The restaurant then became a Burger King unit.
The Costa outlet here was refurbished and relocated in January 2015 to make way for the M&S Simply Food store.
Use with care. Outdated surveys have been included for interest only.
In May 2012, Visit England rated the services as 3 stars. In August 2011, they gave them 2 stars.
In 2006 the services won a four star loo award.
A 1978 government review described the services as "depressing".
In 1977 Egon Ronay rated the services as "poor". He said the café felt like an "amateurishly-run transport café", the food was "unimaginative" and it "all seemed rather scruffy", with a juke box which "can be unpleasant".
|none on M2|
Thurrock (M25 north, 31 miles)
Clacket Lane (M25 south, 40 miles)
Cobham (A2, 18 miles)
Maidstone (M20, 13 miles)
|Services on the M2||
none on M2|
Gate (A2 westbound, 18 miles)
Harbledown (A2 eastbound, 19 miles)
|Thurrock (M25 north, 31 miles)||Moto services||Dover Port (A2, 39 miles)|
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