|Road:||M1 between J14 and J15|
Newport Pagnell Motorway Services Area
|Telephone number:||01908 217722|
|Signposted from the road?||As Starbucks/KFC|
|Previous operators:||Motorway Services Ltd, Trusthouse Forte|
|Services type:||Two sites located between junctions, connected by an internal bridge.|
|Visit Newport Pagnell/Welcome Break's official website|
One of the oldest services around, Newport Pagnell has done a lot with the little space it has. There isn't a lot of space, especially for southbound lorries, but the hotel has a very 1950s look to it and has received thumbs up for this.
General: BT WiFi, Traffic Information, Welcome Break Gaming, Conference Room
Restaurants: Eat In, KFC, Starbucks, Burger King
Shops: Fone Bitz (northbound only), Waitrose (northbound only), WHSmith (with Costa Express Krispy Kreme)
Fuel: Shell (with: Costa Express Ecotricity electric vehicle charging point)
Motel: Days Inn[book rooms]
First two hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £10. Further information is not available, pleaseif you know.
Prices can be paid in the shop and restaurant, with instructions in each car park. They are strictly enforced by ParkingEye.
Newport Pagnell is often claimed to be the first motorway service area. The truth is that Watford Gap started trading almost a whole year before it, but its facilities were limited. When the services opened they formed the headquarters of certain segments of the Forte business, and today Welcome Break's HQ is only a few miles away in the nearby village.
It had one of the last remaining Welcome Lodges, becoming Days Inn in April 2009. There were plans for the motel to be rebuilt before being rebranded but this never went ahead, so the motel has retained its 1950s American-inspired design. Although the motel is immediately adjacent to the services, it's technically not part of them, and for this reason it is allowed to sell alcohol whereas at most other services it is strictly illegal.
The services received a lot of media attention in September 2007 when a coach took the southbound entrance at 50mph, mistaking it for a junction. It clipped the curb and came to a rest again the building. 30 out of the 33 passengers were hurt, 6 seriously, and the driver was later charged for drink driving and dangerous driving. There's more information and pictures on the BBC website.
In The Smiths' song 'Is It Really So Strange?', one of the lines is "I lost my bag at Newport Pagnell", referring to the services. They have also featured in a few scenes of the BBC's 'EastEnders'.
This was also the test site for WHSmith.
The services opened on the 15th August 1960 under the name 'Motorway Services Ltd', which was a join venture between Forte (catering) and Blue Star (fuel) - the former being involved to help promote their own name. Trusthouse Forte later took over the whole site.
The original plan was that Watford Gap would serve lorries whilst Newport Pagnell served cars, but it didn't work on several grounds: Blue Boar didn't want to build a second site and any other operator wouldn't want to send half their traffic to someone else, plus it wasn't thought to be acceptable that a car driver desperately needing facilities could be deterred from stopping.
When Fortes did open the services in 1960, they were under strict instructions to make the building dull and to separate it from the main carriageway with a lot of trees. When the Government came to make their final inspection, they found that both rules had been broken and the site was seen as a "possible distraction" to drivers. Despite this, the services opened as normal and clearly haven't been seen as that much of a distraction by drivers.
The footbridge between the two sides was included to allow full facilities to be maintained at all times, but it contains an unusual amount of glass so that travellers can stop to watch the passing traffic.
The services were almost immediately seen as being too small. Even today, they are crammed into the local area, however the northbound site has sprawled into the field next to it. Sadly, the same isn't true for the southbound services and they have a huge shortage of space. Recent development means that the northbound site won't be able to expand any further either.
In May 2012, Visit England rated the services as 3 stars. In August 2011, they gave the northbound services as 2 stars and the southbound side 3 stars.
In 2008 the services won a five star loo award.
In 2007, Newport Pagnell northbound won a five star loo award. The southbound side won a four star one.
In 2006, both sides of Newport Pagnell won a four star loo award.
Also in 2006, Holiday Which? rated the services at 2/5.
It was here in 2000 that Egon Ronay made the infamous quote "it's called 'all-day' because it tastes as if it had been hanging around all day".
|Toddington (15 miles)||Services on the M1||Northampton (13 miles)|
|London Gateway (39 miles)|
South Mimms (M25 east, 33 miles)
|Welcome Break services||
Leicester Forest East (45 miles)|
Corley (47 miles)