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Service stations are open with reduced facilities.


Killington Lake services

Location:

M6 southbound between J36 and J37

Signposted from the road.

Postcode:

LA8 0NW

map and directions

Access/Layout:

Single site located between junctions on one side of the motorway.

Rating: See the reviews



Killington Lake takes its name from Killington Reservoir, and on the right day this offers a view which could more than make up for any complaint you may have about your journey. Northbound traffic should use Moto's Burton-in-Kendal.

Facilities

COVID-19 update: These details were updated on 11 July 2020, with changes caused by COVID-19.

Catering: Costa, McDonald's, Costa Express Shops: WHSmith Main Amenities: Showers Hotel: closed Charging Points: Ecotricity Forecourt: BP, Shop, Wild Bean Café, Air1 AdBlue

Parking Prices

First 4 hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £12 and HGVs, caravans and coaches £23, or £25 to include a £10 food voucher.

Prices are paid using PayByPhone - more details or in the shop or restaurant. The location code is 5276.

The fees are strictly enforced by GroupNexus.

Contact Details

🏢 Address:
Road Chef Motorways Ltd
M6
Killington
Kendal
Cumbria
LA8 0NW

🌍 Operators (Official Websites):


Trivia and History

Killington Lake 1971.jpg
Construction work at the old services.

Camera icon

Services opened 1972
Building re-built 1985

A study in 1994 concluded that the M6 here was the quietest motorway in England to have a motorway service area. Even today, it is much calmer than many other English motorway service areas.

The filling station here was refurbished in summer 2018.

Planning

Killington Lake view.
The view from the back of the service area.

Full details: M6 Service Area Planning

When the M6 was built through Cumbria, the Department for Transport were working on the principle that placing service stations in places with good views would get more people to stop. For this reason, services were proposed at Tebay northbound and Killington Lake southbound: two smaller services would have been more popular with the struggling operators than one large one.

Despite this, the initial tender process received no bids at all. As a trial the new tender only required one brand of fuel to be sold, and allowed the service area to be developed in two stages, under a 21-year lease. BP were the only firm to reply, and they won the contract. At the time BP had a joint marketing venture with Shell-Mex, who were sometimes credited as the operator. The two partnered with the brand-new Roadchef to provide the catering.

During planning, the services were only called 'Killington'. A separate plan to extend the reservoir here looked set to block the services proposal, but eventually the two went alongside and Killington Lake gained its distinctive facility. The service area is separated from the motorway by a man-made cutting, the land for which presumably came from the reservoir.

In the 1970s and 1980s, documents referred to a new service area being held in reserve on the M6 at Hutton and Eskrigg. Both of these names take us to places near to Killington Reservoir, which suggests that this was a plan to build a northbound service area here.

Building and Site Design

To take advantage of the views the service area offers, this became one of the first sites where the amenity building was built as far away from the motorway as possible - something which is now similar to the standard practice. The amenity building itself was originally built out of local stone, but it was far too small. It had large windows and had Alpine décor, with a café themed around a mountain hut. An open section of the restaurant was reserved for a future picnic area, which "took full advantage of the site".

The opening documents were signed on 30 March 1972, after the motorway had already opened. In 1977 Egon Ronay rated the services as "poor". He said it was pleasant to sit in, but "really very small", "painfully inadequate", "cramped", and its menu suffered from "such a lack of imagination". A 1978 government review described the services as "cheap, small and scruffy".

The plan was that a second phase would open in 1978. It was decided this would be built under a renegotiated tender, but plans for another southbound service area at Tebay caused the Killington expansion to be postponed. Eventually a new building opened in 1985, creating a building more in standard with Roadchef's design, but adapted to take account of the steep hill and the view to the back.

In 1986, Which? magazine describe it as "the most attractive" service area, calling it "spotless" and "relaxing". The food was still criticised.

The tourist information centre was converted from a workshop in 1997.

Refurbishment

Despite several rearrangements, the quiet Killington has so far escaped any major refurbishments since its reconstruction.

In March 2014, Restbite and The Burger Company were merged to create McDonald's.

In 2019, Roadchef received planning permission for a significant extension, which would expand the amenity building in all directions. A new front lobby would lead past two new retail stores (most likely including Spar), as well as WHSmith and the game arcade. Costa would be moved to create a larger seating area, with large windows overlooking the reservoir.

Alternatives

Previous:Next:
Burton-in-Kendal (M6 northbound, 13 miles)
Carnforth truckstop (15 miles)
Lancaster (26 miles)
Services on the M6 Tebay (11 miles)
none nearby Roadchef services none nearby

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