|Facilities | Rating | Reviews|
|Road:||M6 between J16 and J17|
MAP AND DIRECTIONS
|Address:||RoadChef Motorways Ltd|
Sandbach Motorway Services Area
|Telephone number:||01270 767134|
|Signposted from the road?||Yes|
|Services type:||Two sites located between junctions, connected by a pedestrian footbridge.|
|Visit Sandbach/Roadchef's official website|
Bouncing back from past poor performances, Sandbach has now been upgraded to the point where it's almost unremarkable - if a little too concreted.
Catering: Costa, McDonald's, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme, Typhoo Tea Machine
northbound only: Fresh Food Café
southbound only: Chozen Noodle, Hot Food Co. (seasonal opening) Shops: Top Gift, WHSmith
northbound only: Leaf Gifts Main Amenities: Jackpot £500, Showers
northbound only: Ecotricity Electric Vehicle Charging Point, Game On
southbound only: Game On, Regus Express Forecourt: Esso, Costa Express, AdBlue Containers
First two hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £12 and HGVs, caravans and coaches £26, or £30 to include a £10 food voucher.
Prices are paid using PayByPhone - more details or in the shop or restaurant. The location code is 5265 (northbound) and 5266 (southbound).
The fees are strictly enforced by CP Plus.
Trivia and History
In September 2014 the southbound services formed a makeshift drop-off point for donations to the Cheshire Dogs Home near Warrington, after an incident at its sister site sparked a surge in donations which brought the M6 to a standstill.
An Ecotricity charging point is due to be installed here on the southbound side soon.
The services were one of few infill sites (where the sliproads were laid out before anyone had come forward to build the rest of it) which actually went ahead as planned, although early plans were for a truckstop only. The contract was opened in 1972, as Knutsford needed to expand but Rank refused to do so.
It was described it as a 12 acre site, aimed at commercial traffic. Today it still has a HGV-friendly concrete surface all over.
The southbound side also houses a maintenance compound which was built long before the services. It took up a lot of space, leaving little room for landscaping, causing the services to look tired before it had even opened.
The services were the first in the country to have one large restaurant, instead of several smaller ones. The bridge - which may well pre-date the services - had its distinctive covering added in 1978.
In May 2012, Visit England gave the southbound services 3 stars, but the northbound side had fallen down to 2 stars.
In August 2011, Visit England rated the services as 3 stars.
In late 2006 the BBC's 'The Money Programme' took a look at the services. Whilst the northbound side was almost acceptable, southbound was dirty and the toilets had several broken locks.
In 2006, Holiday Which? graded the services at 2/5. This isn't bad, considering that there were a handful of 1/5s awarded.
The services were inspected by the AA on the 3rd and 4th of April 2004. These are their results:
|Road safety and parking:||Good|
|Outdoor facilities:||Very Poor|
|Access and indoor facilities:||Poor|
|Final Score:||Very Poor|
Here the services were chosen as the worst in Europe, with the inspectors saying "You could stop for petrol and perhaps buy some provisions, but we wouldn't recommend taking a break there". The shops and staff were the only good things found: it had poor facilities, litter "everywhere", a dirty restaurant with a poor variety of unappetising food, high prices, dirty showers, the building and its facilities looked poorly maintained, it had no information and it had very little to help the disabled. Even the car park was poorly marked and poorly maintained.
A 1978 government review described the services as "pleasant but disjointed".
In 1977, Egon Ronay rated the services as "poor", but he did say it was "light and airy".
|Keele (11 miles)|
Crewe (5 miles)
Derby and Burton (A50 east, 43 miles)
|Services on the M6||Knutsford (12 miles)|
|Stafford (South) (M6 southbound, 23 miles)|
Norton Canes (41 miles)
|Roadchef services||Chester (M56 west, 32 miles)|
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