Motorway Services Online

Thurrock services

Facilities | Rating | ReviewsThurrock
Road:M25 at J30 (southbound) and J31 (northbound)
(also accessible to traffic on the A13, A282, A1090, A1306 and the B186)

Address:Granada Hospitality Ltd
Granada Service Station
Thurrock Motorway Services Area
RM16 3BG
Telephone number:01708 865487
Signposted from the road?As Burger King/Costa/M&S
Previous operators:Granada
Grid reference:TQ578794
Services type:Single site located at a junction.
Visit Thurrock/Moto's official website

An experimental building design which either went very wrong, or very right, depending on how you look at it. Thurrock sits slightly isolated alongside a busy section of the M25 and provides a small offer of facilities.


Catering: Burger King, Costa, Eat & Drink Co., Costa Express, Krispy Kreme Shops: M&S Simply Food, Top Gift, WHSmith Main Amenities: Ecotricity electric vehicle charging point, Full Hou$e, Lucky Coin, NomadPower, Regus Express Workpod, Showers Motel: Travelodgebook Forecourt: Esso (with: LPG), Snack and Shop, Costa Express, AdBlue Containers

Parking Prices

First two hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £15 and HGVs, caravans and motorhomes £30, or £31.50 to include a £10 food voucher.

Prices are paid using PayByPhone - more details. The location code is 2467.

The fees are strictly enforced by CP Plus.

Trivia & Design

The view from the back is understated compared to the front.

Before the services were built, a site was considered to the south of the River Thames.

A 1994 assessment of the services found the turn-in rate to be just 3% (compared to an average of 12%), and this was put down to the long detour from the M25. As the junction has got busier, this continues to be an issue, especially when travelling north. The long detour is made more contentious as there is competition from the nearby Lakeside Retail Park, which may be favoured by those willing to head out of their way.

A 5-mile approach sign for the northbound services is the most advance example of one on the motorway network. It has the subheading "through tunnel" explaining the reason for the early warning. It also allows motorists to exit at either J31 or J30, depending on which lane they use and what the traffic is like.

A couple held their wedding reception at the services after winning a mystery prize from a local radio station. They were treated to several laps of the M25 on a coach.

Refurbishment in November 2006 saw Thurrock gain a WHSmith store as well as a M&S Simply Food outlet. The Regus Express workpod here was installed in December 2014 - the first Moto site to get a workpod rather than a meeting room.

The filling station here is operated by MRH.

Building Design

Detail of the walkway at the front

As time has gone on, it has been suggested motorway service area design became less adventurous or unique. Thurrock bucked that trend. It aimed to take the industrial and urban nature of its surroundings, and the M25, and offer visitors a break in suburbia. When it opened it claimed to be "the world's most advanced" service station.

This was partly achieved with a lake at the back. The entry road is also long and curvy, like a driveway from the chaos of the motorway to the relaxed services. Principles like this were later used by Granada in the acclaimed Stafford (North) and the original Cherwell Valley. Thurrock tried to stand out architecturally too.

Taking advantage of the site having a downwards slope towards the lake, the tall and airy building had its entrance on the first floor. This is reached from two raised walkways running from the parking areas to the door. Inside, the walkway continued with a short length of balcony. Downstairs was the original restaurant and toilets, and at the back is a terrace. Large windows stopped the downstairs being too dark and created an exciting welcome.

As the demand for a restaurant at all services fell, Thurrock's didn't deserve a full ground floor as few were making the trip downstairs to it. It was instead sealed off and is used to store waste. Not the view from the first floor balcony the architects were expecting. Outside, the white cladding which was popular in the 1990s has now gone grey, and the grand walkway looks like any ageing bridge on the motorway network.

Now just the toilets are provided downstairs in their own dark basement, while everything else is crowded on the mezzanine. The obscure hotel entrance half way down the stairs was blocked off and a doorway added to the walkway outside. It was the first service area to be allowed accommodation from opening, hence the decision to build it into lowest floor of the amenity building, which made planning easier.

Amongst other bold ideas, the newly-opened services boasted 'customer clinics'... whatever they were!

Survey Results

In May 2012 and August 2011, Visit England rated the services as 3 stars.

Lord Adonis (Secretary of State for Transport) made little comment on the services when he made a surprise visit in September 2009, saying it had been "greatly enhanced" by the arrival of M&S.

In 2006, Thurrock was graded 3/5 by Holiday Which?

In 2005 and again in 2006, the services won a five star loo award.


South Mimms (34 miles)
Birchanger Green (M11 north, 32 miles)
Services on the M25 road becomes A282
Clacket Lane (M25, 21 miles)
Maidstone (M20, 30 miles)
Medway (M2, 27 miles)
Tollgate (A2 eastbound, 10 miles)
Cobham (A2, 12 miles)
noneServices on the A13 Stanford-le-Hope (7 miles)
Toddington (M1 north, 54 miles)Moto services Medway (M2, 27 miles)
Pease Pottage (M23 south, 43 miles)

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