A busy service area with a large building, located off the busy A14 road.
Please note: There are a lot of roadworks taking place in this area. The exit for Cambridge services has been renumbered from J28 to J24. Pay attention to the signs!
COVID-19 update: These details were updated on 6 November 2020, with changes caused by COVID-19.
Catering: BakeHouse, Chopstix Noodle Bar, Costa, El Mexicana, KFC, McDonald's, Krispy Kreme, Nescafe Alegria Shops: M&S Simply Food, WHSmith Main Amenities: Children's Play Area, Showers Hotel: Ramada Charging Points: Ecotricity, IONITY Forecourt: Shell, Select, deli by Shell, Costa Express, Air1 AdBlue, Car Wash
First 3 hours free for all vehicles, after which you must pay £35 per 24 hour period. Parking tickets can be bought from machines in the car park and can be paid in either GBP or Euros.
🌍 Operators (Official Websites):
Trivia and History
The service area opened on 1 December 2000 and became the biggest and busiest of Extra's first three services. They said that most of the units would become conference facilities and they would not use franchises. Strictly speaking they haven't used franchises, but they've leased units out to firms who do.
The motel here was originally a Days Inn, however it was re-branded and refurbished in July 2015.
Early facilities included a McColl's newsagent. A Ben & Jerry's kiosk was also trialled here for a time.
A Warren's Bakery unit operated by SSP opened here in February 2020 occupying the former Patisserie Valerie unit.
Plan and Motorway Confusion
Full details: A14 Planning Applications
The need for a new service area arose after concerns about HGVs struggling to find places to park, and sometimes behaving inappropriately. This problem was set to become worse with a plan to upgrade the A14 here. After ruling out building at Bar Hill, in 1991 Texaco received planning permission for a new service area here. It would have been a much smaller site set far back from the roundabout, but still with a separate amenity building, likely to be leased to another operator. A 100m development-free zone was established next to the services, to leave room for the planned A14 upgrade.
With confusion about when the A14 was going to be upgraded, whether it would be a motorway or whether it wouldn't happen at all, Texaco didn't go ahead with their plan. In 1996 it looked like the road wasn't going to be upgraded at all, so Extra came up with a plan similar to what was eventually built. The 100m development-free zone continued to be respected. There were a number of concerns that the development would be inappropriate in this area, but planning permission was still granted. It was renewed with a new proposal in 1999.
Cambridge service area built very close to Lolworth services, which was regarded as being fine for cars but too small for HGVs. The presence of Cambridge as a large competitor caused Lolworth to scale right back, and eventually close.
Even More Confusion
When Cambridge services opened, blue signs were mistakenly used, instead of the correct (at the time) green signs. The incorrect signage implies that Cambridge is a motorway service area, when there is no motorway for it to serve. Some listings have referred to it as being at the end of the M11.
In 2016, work started on a new project to upgrade the A14, utilising the protected empty zone. The new road will have a larger junction at Swavesey, marginally increasing the journey time from the road to the services. In 2018, it was announced that Highways England intended to open the new road as a motorway. This would mean that Cambridge services would need to commit to meeting the standards of either an MSA or an MRA. In practice it already provides the required facilities and would just need to commit to doing so in contract.
In October 2019 the plan to open the upgraded road as a motorway was been dropped, meaning Cambridge services can continue as it has done as a regular A-road service area.
Despite that, in April 2020 Cambridge managed to be the only A-road service area included on Highways England's motorway service area list. This continues Cambridge's trend of trying to cross the boundary.
| Fenstanton (A1307 eastbound, 3 miles)|
Brampton Hut (12 miles)
Peterborough (A1(M) north, 24 miles)
|Services on the A14||
Newmarket (19 miles)|
Birchanger Green (M11, 32 miles)
|Peterborough (A1(M) north, 30 miles)||Extra services||none|
Our comments section was refreshed in 2019. Until new comments arrive, you may want to check the archive.
Views expressed in these comments are those of the individual contributor. User accounts are managed by Facebook.
We would like the companies named to check here regularly but we can't force them to do so.