Lying close to the Scottish border is a pair of old services, now mostly providing snacks.
Catering: Burger King, Costa, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme, Greggs, West Cornwall Pasty Co
Shops: M&S Simply Food, WHSmith
Main Amenities: Ecotricity Electric Vehicle Charging Point, Lucky Coin, Showers
northbound only: Changing Places, &Play Motel: Travelodge Forecourt: BP, Shop, Costa Express, Air1 AdBlue
northbound only: Greggs
First two hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £15 and HGVs, caravans and motorhomes £24. HGVs can pay £26 to include a £10 food voucher.
Prices are paid using PayByPhone - more details. The location code is 2461 (northbound) and 2462 (southbound).
The fees are strictly enforced by CP Plus.
Moto Hospitality Ltd
Southwaite Motorway Services Area
- Telephone number: 016974 73476
- Grid reference: NY441451
Trivia and History
Southwaite has always been the most northern motorway service area on the M6 (but not in England, Washington takes that title). In 2008 the motorway was extended northwards and gained a new service area, Todhills, but that is only a rest area, meaning that technically Southwaite can still claim its title.
In 1995 the services were sold by the Highways Agency to Granada for an undisclosed sum, except to say it was one of England's most expensive.
During early 2017, the northbound EDC restaurant was removed to make way for a West Cornwall Pasty Co take away and M&S Simply Food store. The West Cornwall Pasty Co opened on 17 March 2017 and the M&S Simply Food store opened on 23 March 2017, joining its southbound counterpart. The southbound EDC then closed in summer 2019. It is currently unknown what the space will be filled by.
Initially, no bids were received for Southwaite. Like the services south of here, the low traffic levels forecast meant developers didn't think there was any money to be made here. 40 years later and despite the competition from Tebay, Moto have spoken of how popular Southwaite is. Even so, as of 2017 most of the catering has been removed.
Owing to the concerns about viability, when Taverna opened the services in 1972 the building was only on the northbound side. Southbound traffic could access it using the footbridge, which was given a roof especially for this purpose.
In 1974, the MSA Board (the regulators at the time), let on that Southwaite was their favourite of all the buildings they would inspect.
The second building was added in 1977 after Granada took it on. Granada also refurbished the northbound restaurant, with both offering self-service catering only, which turned out to be a popular set-up.
In 1977, Egon Ronay rated the services as "poor" Despite it being "well organised, clean and tidy", it was let down by a number of catering issues, such as selling doughnuts which are "like a cannon ball".
Granada wanted to build a caravan park here, with laundry facilities.
Since 1976, the site was home to an English Tourist Board information centre, which held an large range of information for Scotland and England. This closed to make way for the Greggs outlet, with visitors directed to M6 J45 instead.
In 2008 there were plans to build a second motel here, on the northbound side, but it's not clear what brand it would have been as Moto had been looking at brands other than Travelodge.
| Tebay (37 miles)|
Scotch Corner (A66, 61 miles)
|Services on the M6||
Carlisle Truckstop (A689, 11 miles)|
Todhills (13 miles)
Gretna (A74(M), 19 miles)
| Burton-in-Kendal (M6 northbound, 48 miles)|
Lancaster (64 miles)
Scotch Corner (A66, 61 miles)
|Moto services||Todhills (13 miles)|
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. They are moderated by Facebook.
We ask the companies named to check here regularly but can't guarentee they will do so.