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Sandbach services

Facilities | Rating | ReviewsSandbach services
Road:M6 between J16 and J17

Address:RoadChef Motorways Ltd
Sandbach Motorway Services Area
CW11 2FZ
Telephone number:01270 767134
Signposted from the road?Yes
Grid reference:SJ775603
Services type:Two sites located between junctions, connected by a pedestrian footbridge.
Visit Sandbach/Roadchef's official website

Bouncing back from past poor performances, Sandbach has now been upgraded to the point where it's almost unremarkable - if a little too concreted.


Catering: Costa, McDonald's, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme, Typhoo
northbound only: Fresh Food Café
southbound only: Chozen Noodle, Hot Food Co. (seasonal opening)
Shops: Top Gift, WHSmith Main Amenities: Game On, Jackpot £500, Showers, Ecotricity electric vehicle charging point (northbound only), Regus Express (southbound only) Motel: none Forecourt: BP (with: AdBlue Containers), BP Connect, Wild Bean Café

Parking Prices

First two hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £12 and HGVs, caravans and coaches £26, or £30 to include a £10 food voucher.

Prices are paid using PayByPhone - more details or in the shop or restaurant. The location code is 5265 (northbound) and 5266 (southbound).

The fees are strictly enforced by CP Plus.

Trivia and History

Sandbach services.
The services before refurbishment.

In the late '90s, RoadChef had a plan to introduce a Wimpy drive-thru here but this never happened.

In September 2014 the southbound services formed a makeshift drop-off point for donations to the Cheshire Dogs Home near Warrington, after an incident at its sister site sparked a surge in donations which brought the M6 to a standstill.

An Ecotricity charging point is due to be installed here on the southbound side soon.

As part of their plan to focus more on retail, the filling station was sold by Roadchef to BP in August 2017.


The services were one of few infill sites (where the sliproads were laid out before anyone had come forward to build the rest of it) which actually went ahead as planned, although early plans were for a truckstop only. The contract was opened to bids in 1972, as Knutsford needed to expand but Rank refused to do so.

It was described it as a 12 acre site, aimed at commercial traffic. Today it still has a HGV-friendly concrete surface all over.

The southbound side also houses a maintenance compound which was built long before the services. It took up a lot of space, leaving little room for landscaping, causing the services to look tired before it had even opened.

Bids to run the services were received from Ross, Blue Boar, Roadchef, Hanover Grand Ltd and Manor Holdings Ltd, with Roadchef offering the highest rent.


Sandbach services bridge.
The bridge in one of its worst states.

The services were the first in the country to have one large restaurant, instead of several smaller ones. The bridge - which may well pre-date the services - had its distinctive covering added in 1978.

It was also the first services to be built entirely by Roadchef, with Killington Lake being owned by BP. It opened in August 1976.

Fuel was initially sold by BP, Shell, Esso and Mobil.

Survey Results

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

In Spring 2017, Transport Focus calculated a 89% satisfaction score for the northbound services and 84% for the southbound services.

In 2015, VisitEngland rated both sides of the services as 3 stars. In May 2012, the northbound side fell down to 2 stars, but in August 2011 both sides received 3 stars.

In late 2006 the BBC's 'The Money Programme' took a look at the services. Whilst the northbound side was almost acceptable, southbound was dirty and the toilets had several broken locks.

In 2006, Holiday Which? graded the services at 2/5. This isn't bad, considering that there were a handful of 1/5s awarded.

In 2004, Good Housekeeping rated the services as two stars, calling it "mediocre and predictable".

The services were inspected by The AA on 3 and 4 April 2004. These are their results:

Road safety and parking:Good
Outdoor facilities:Very Poor
Access and indoor facilities:Poor
Catering:Very Poor
Shop:Very Good
Communications:Very Poor
Hygiene:Very Poor
Pricing:Very Poor
Final Score:Very Poor

Here the services were chosen as the worst in Europe, with the inspectors saying "You could stop for petrol and perhaps buy some provisions, but we wouldn't recommend taking a break there". The shops and staff were the only good things found: it had poor facilities, litter "everywhere", a dirty restaurant with a poor variety of unappetising food, high prices, dirty showers, the building and its facilities looked poorly maintained, it had no information and it had very little to help the disabled. Even the car park was poorly marked and poorly maintained.

In 1991, a Which? survey recommended the services.

A 1978 government review described the services as "pleasant but disjointed".

In 1977, Egon Ronay rated the services as "poor", but he did say it was "light and airy".


Keele (11 miles)
Crewe (5 miles)
Derby and Burton (A50 east, 43 miles)
Services on the M6 Knutsford (12 miles)
Stafford (South) (M6 southbound, 23 miles)
Norton Canes (41 miles)
Roadchef services Chester (M56 west, 32 miles)

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