Motorway Services Online

Trowell services

Facilities | Rating | ReviewsTrowell
Road:M1 between J25 and J26

Address:Moto Hospitality Ltd
Trowell Motorway Services Area
Telephone number:0115 932 0291
Signposted from the road?Yes
Previous operators:Mecca Leisure, Granada
Grid reference:SK492407
Services type:Two sites located between junctions, connected by an internal bridge.
Visit Trowell Northbound/Moto's official website
Visit Trowell Southbound/Moto's official website

Trowell has a history of being slated but Moto have worked hard to brighten it up a bit. The northbound and southbound sites are very different, with northbound having had an extension. The car park is very small and finding spaces can sometimes be difficult.


Catering: Burger King, Costa, Eat & Drink Co., Greggs, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme
southbound only: West Cornwall Pasty Co.
Shops: Fone Bitz, M&S Simply Food, WHSmith, Top Gift Main Amenities: Ecotricity Electric Vehicle Charging Point, Full Hou$e, Lucky Coin, Picnic Tables, Showers, Multi Faith Room Motel: Travelodgebook Forecourt: BP, Shop, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme, Air1 AdBlue
northbound only: Greggs
southbound only: Costa

Parking Prices

First two hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £12.50 and HGVs £20, or £21.50 to include a £9 food voucher.

Prices are paid using PayByPhone - more details. The location code is 2471 (northbound) and 2472 (southbound).

The fees are strictly enforced by CP Plus.

Trivia and History

The extended retail entrance on the southbound side.

In 2016, the redundant units added to the front of the southbound services were used to create one of few indoor West Cornwall Pasty Company units.

As a road safety trial, Mecca trialled a car wash here, but Granada removed it.


Bids to operate the services opened six months late and included entries from Regent Oil, Top Rank and Mecca Leisure. Rank wanted a bridge-design with the views looking away from the motorway, but they offered a very low turnover.

Mecca Leisure's hyper-local approach helped them win but it wasn't unique to Trowell: in fact both Mecca and Rank bid for Hilton Park just a month later, and Farthing Corner earlier.

Like all services, Mecca's grand design and insistence on providing the highest quality meant it was struggling to make any money. Unlike rival firms, they were not willing to cut corners to save cash, and instead on 3 September 1977 they sold the site to Granada, who inherited it in October.


When it opened, operators Mecca Leisure insisted that visitors thought of it not as a service area but as a "village". The site was entirely themed around Robin Hood. This was all removed when Granada took over. Much of the specialised stock had caused Mecca Leisure trouble as they were not approved for sale on motorways at the time.

It provided the usual choice of restaurants in a small, two-storey building. The restaurant was called Marian's Pantry. It had a green and red tinted ceiling, Tudor-style oak furniture and a red and green carpet with a leafy pattern. There was a zig-zag shaped counter on which to sit, as well as ordinary tables with place mats. Artificial trees were used inside, with a real garden outside. The café was a long room with windows all on one side, the other side having the service counter screened by tinted glass.

Hoping to catch a lot of coach trade, originally there would have been decorated and covered walkways from the entrance to the coach park.

Mecca's architecture did not impress inspectors, who said such a rural location did not deserve such an unsympathetic design. The bright cladding around the forecourt was described as particularly distracting. The southbound upper deck actually extends over the sliproads, to take advantage of the limited space.

Sir Owen Williams, who did much of the M1's design work, wanted the services to serve as a farm junction, but was told it couldn't.


Under Granada a new coffee shop was introduced, and the upper level was initially stripped down to provide a more automated experience (with a conveyor belt to place dirty dishes on). It later became office space.

A new southbound dining area was then added to the lower level. That was then extended to provide one of the first mini-shopping malls, and a later a whole new lower level for dining on the northbound side.

Survey Results

Use with care. Outdated surveys have been included for interest only.

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

In 2006, Holiday Which? gave Trowell a rock-bottom 1/5 in their survey. It didn't come last though, Cullompton on the M5 did.

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

A 1978 government review described the services as "spotless and impressive".

In 1977 Egon Ronay made a rare positive comment about the services, describing the food as "almost good on occasion". It was the only place which he said was trying to provide a "comfortable, restful, pleasant restaurant", and appreciated the "extensive" menu. The café was not as good was the waitress service, but was still clean with prompt service.


Donington Park (11 miles)Services on the M1 Tibshelf (14 miles)
Donington Park (11 miles)Moto services Woolley Edge (51 miles)
Doncaster (North) (54 miles)

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