|Facilities | Rating | Reviews|
|Road:||M5 between J13 and J14|
MAP AND DIRECTIONS
Michaelwood Service Area
|Telephone number:||01454 260631|
|Signposted from the road?||Yes|
|Previous operators:||Mobil, Ross|
|Services type:||Two sites located between junctions, connected by a pedestrian footbridge.|
|Visit Michaelwood/Welcome Break's official website|
Two services staggered along the M5 in a small strip of woodland.
Catering: Burger King, Quick Break (seasonal opening), Starbucks, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme, West Cornwall Pasty Co.
northbound only: Subway
southbound only: Harry Ramsden's, KFC Shops: Waitrose, WHSmith Main Amenities: Ecotricity electric vehicle charging point, Free Cash Machine, Picnic Tables, Showers, Welcome Break Gaming
northbound only: Meeting Room Motel: Days Inn Forecourt: BP, BP Connect, Wild Bean Café, AdBlue Containers
First two hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £5 for 2 to 6 hours and £12 for more than 6 hours. 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 History
Allegedly the only service area to be named after a TV presenter (Heston might contest that), Michaelwood is actually pronounced 'Mick-all-wood', despite some road signs even referring to it as Michael Wood.
Design and Development
Expecting extremely low traffic levels here, originally two temporary buildings were built in a position that wouldn't interfere with the eventual plan for the full services. That plan was dropped, and instead the temporary facilities were expanded. New recruits at the Ministry of Transport noted that the opportunity to take advantage of the woodland views here had been lost as two buildings against the motorway were used instead, and described it as "incomprehensible". This created the unusual layout where the services are completely identical in each direction.
Applications for the original temporary site were made by Mobil, Esso, Texaco and a joint entry from Shell and BP. The amenity building consisted of toilets and a workshop on one side of a walkway, and a shop and a snack bar on the other. This walkway was then extended to offer more facilities. The contract was renegotiated without being opened to rival bids. Mobil had previously tried to hand their contract back so they could bid for a better one.
Originally the restaurant had large windows, a brown tiled floor, green bench seats and oak-coloured tables.
It also seems to have some of the highest-standard slip roads of all motorway services.
In 2001, Welcome Break considered completely rebuilding the entire site, moving the amenity building closer to the front. Instead, in 2011 the car park layout was changed round. This created a long car park with a snack bar at the back, trying to manage the high flow of traffic during the holiday period.
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 2007, the services won a five star loo award. In 2006 they got four stars.
Also in 2006, Holiday Which? rated the services at 3/5.
A 1978 government review said that the services were just a large and badly-managed petrol station, which was "giving service stations a bad name".
In 1977 Egon Ronay rated the services as "appalling", calling it "drab", "scruffy" and "tired", with a poor choice of food, incompetent cooking and dirty toilets with no hand driers.
|Gloucester (15 miles)|
Oldbury (9 miles)
|Services on the M5||
Gordano (16 miles)|
Magor (M4 west, 20 miles)
Severn View (M48, 12 miles)
Leigh Delamere (M4 east, 27 miles)
|Hopwood Park (M42, 62 miles)||Welcome Break services||
Gordano (16 miles)|
Cardiff Gate (M4 west, 40 miles)
Membury (M4 east, 56 miles)
Views expressed in these comments are those of the individual contributor. They are moderated by Facebook.