|Road:||M25 at J23|
A1(M) at J1
(also accessible to traffic on the A1 and the A1081)
|Address:||The Welcome Break|
Welcome Break Service Station
|Telephone number:||01707 646333|
|Signposted from the road?||As Starbucks/Waitrose|
|Services type:||Single site located at a junction.|
|Visit South Mimms/Welcome Break's official website|
South Mimms is situated at the busy roundabout between the M25 and A1(M). It has supreme local access, and recent refurbishments mean it is pretty modern. They claim to offer special facilities for truckers.
Main Amenities: Children's Play Area, Ecotricity Electric Vehicle Charging Point, Showers, Welcome Break Gaming, UK TruckClean Truck Wash[website]
Restaurants: Burger King, KFC, Starbucks, Papa John's Pizza, Subway, Harry Ramsden's, Tossed, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme
Shops: Fone Bitz, Waitrose, WHSmith, Travellers
Motel: Days Inn[book rooms]
Forecourt: BP, Costa Express, Wild Bean Café, Air1 AdBlue Containers
First two hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £11 and HGVs, caravans and coaches £22.50, or £25 to include a food voucher.
Prices can be paid in the shop and restaurant, with instructions in each car park. They are strictly enforced by ParkingEye.
Trivia and History
The services were opened by Margaret Thatcher on 6 June 1987 but they had to be rebuilt following a large fire on the 13 August 1998 caused by an unattended frying pan in Julie's Pantry. This makes them both the oldest and, until recently, the newest services on the M25. The temporary building which was used whilst the services were being re-built was then sold in an online auction.
The services' site comprises of several things, including a works unit. The only sensible route between the motorways and the village of South Mimms is to leave at the junction and drive through the services, where there is a link road to the village. This feature is pretty much exclusive to the services, and similarly they are the only service area connected to the national cycle routes.
In 1987 Fortes wanted to host a charity family fun day at the services, but were forced to cancel it following a complaint from the Ministry of Transport.
Subway, Tossed and Harry Ramsden's outlets all opened here in October 2014 replacing the former Eat In outlet. Harry Ramsden's opened on Monday 27 October with Subway opening a day later on Tuesday 28 October and Tossed UK opening a day after Subway on Wednesday 29 October.
The services are off a busy roundabout, however its location presents an even bigger problem for the police. Over time, several illegal activities have been uncovered here, largely due to its location being where two major routes cross, one coming out of London (where South Mimms is the first service area you'd pass) and one heading towards the Channel Ports.
National Cycle Network route 12, also known as the Great North Way, runs from Hadley Wood to Hatfield via the services, and then it continues towards the North East.
In the Public Eye
The services were mentioned in Ian Sinclair's book 'London Orbital', which came to the conclusion that it was dire and in need of a refurbishment, with traffic queueing to leave the site and join the main junction. A few weeks later, he said things had improved. They also starred several times in Sky's 'Brainiac: Science Abuse' and 'EastEnders', and Robbie Williams has sang in the car park.
Roger Green wrote a book on the services titled 'Destination Nowhere: A South Mimms Motorway Service Station Diary'.
Full details: Bignell's Corner
The services are on the site of an old truckstop known as the Beacon Café. They were originally owned by BP who already owned land there, and then leased the site out to Welcome Break.
In May 2012 and August 2011, Visit England rated the services as 4 stars.
Lord Adonis (Secretary of State for Transport) wasn't impressed by the services when he visited in September 2009, as the toilets were closed throughout his visit and there was a lot of confusion.
In 2007 and again in 2008, South Mimms won a five star loo award. In 2006 it received four stars, and in 2005 five stars.
|none nearby on M25|
Toddington (M1 north, 25 miles)
Beaconsfield (M40 north, 28 miles)
Reading (M4 west, 52 miles)
Heston (M4 east, 30 miles)
|Services on the M25||
Thurrock (32 miles)|
Birchanger Green (M11 north, 39 miles)
|none||Services on the A1(M)||Baldock (23 miles)|
|Oxford (M40 north, 50 miles)||Welcome Break services||Birchanger Green (M11 north, 39 miles)|
Views expressed in these comments are those of the individual contributor. They are moderated by Facebook.