Modern services on the M40, Oxford is notable for its landscaping and fountains around the front. It has a good amount of open space at the back, but this is slowly filling with new and trial facilities.
Catering: Burger King, Harry Ramsden's, KFC, PizzaExpress, Starbucks, Subway, Tossed, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme, Yorkshire Tea, Starbucks Drive Thru Shops: Fone Bitz, Little Waitrose & Partners, WHSmith Main Amenities: Ecotricity Electric Vehicle Charging Point, Showers, Tesla Supercharger, Welcome Break Gaming Motel: Ramada Forecourt: BP, Shop, Upper Crust, The Pasty Shop, Krispy Kreme, Millie's Cookies, Rollover, Starbucks on the Go, Air1 AdBlue
First two hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £15 for a further 24 hours and HGVs, caravans and coaches must pay £31 (or £33 to include a £10 meal voucher).
Prices can be paid in the shop, with instructions in each car park. They are strictly enforced by ParkingEye.
- Telephone number: 01865 877000
- Grid reference: SP624047
Trivia and History
The service area under construction.
There is a kennels and farm accessed from within the services. The cul-de-sac they are on leads to an original, isolated section of the A40.
In July 2015, Oxford was one of three sites to gain a Tesla Supercharger, the first three on the motorway network.
Between 1974 and 1991, the M40 ended immediately south of here. The road was deemed too short to have any services, but lay-bys with toilets were provided on the A40 at Forest Hill.
When plans were afoot to extend the M40, building a service area at M40 J8a was quickly ruled out because it was too close to Oxfordshire County Council's favourite site at Cherwell Valley. In addition, the council were adamant that there should only be one motorway service area in their county, so studies only really considered potential sites in Buckinghamshire: at Tetsworth, Stokenchurch and Lewknor.
Attention turned back to M40 J8a because it was decided that building in Buckinghamshire would create too big a gap between services, and that none of the sites were suitable. When the motorway opened in 1990, there was evidence that drivers were using lay-bys along the A418 to take a break.
At this point the government ended its involvement in service station planning, but in 1993 Welcome Break proposed building at the current site, across an abandoned railway line. Meanwhile Wyatt Bros proposed a smaller service area on the opposite side of the junction. Wyatt were keen to point out what they had proposed was "not to create a motorway service area in the familiar sense", an arty phrase that caused confusion, so they then had to clarify that what they had proposed was in fact a typical service area.
At the time, this junction only had sliproads facing the north. The sliproads facing the south were steep and for emergency use only; general traffic wishing to use them had to use the tight junction near Wheatley village instead. Both proposals suggested replacing the emergency sliproads with real ones - the Welcome Break proposal had the entrance lead directly into the services.
Both these plans - and several other plans for the M40 - were rejected, but the Welcome Break proposal was approved after an inquiry. Their original building design took a courtyard design, like Sarn Park crossed with Lymm. One of the final changes saw the removal of a second storey from the new planned building. But unlike its sister site at Hopwood Park, the second storey would have housed only offices.
The entry sliproad was changed to cross the roundabout because of concerns about it conflicting with the turning for the kennels.
The early plans listed the services as 'Wheatley', but this was changed to Oxford upon opening. That change may be related to Welcome Break losing their site at Peartree, which was closer to Oxford than this "Oxford" site. Now Welcome Break own Peartree again, it all looks a bit odd.
Prior to it opening the site was known as Lower Farm, and briefly as Wheatley Triangle.
The service area opened on 19 July 1998 by Anthea Turner and were expected to be the last services to open on the M40, a road which originally held the record for the longest major road that doesn't have any services.
Within a week of the services opening, the fire brigade were called twice: firstly there was a minor petrol leak and a few days later a fire was started deliberately in the toilets. The latter incident happened just two days after Welcome Break lost their nearby South Mimms services in a large fire.
A PizzaExpress restaurant opened here in October 2017, the first of several planned openings. It was built in a new building next to the hotel, which is in a similar style to the building which was built to house Ed's Easy Diner at South Mimms, which is also now a PizzaExpress.
|Beaconsfield (24 miles)||Services on the M40||Cherwell Valley (20 miles)|
|none||Services on the A40||
Peartree (10 miles)|
Didcot (A34 south, 19 miles)
|none||Services on the A418||Thame (6 miles)|
| South Mimms (M25 east, 52 miles)|
London Gateway (M1 south, 49 miles)
|Welcome Break services||Warwick (44 miles)|
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