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Southwaite services

Facilities | Rating | ReviewsSouthwaite services
Road:M6 between J41 and J42

Address:Moto Hospitality Ltd
Southwaite Motorway Services Area
Telephone number:016974 73476
Signposted from the road?Yes
Grid reference:NY441451 (SABRE Maps)
Services type:Two sites located between junctions, connected by a pedestrian footbridge.
Visit Southwaite Northbound/Moto's official website
Visit Southwaite Southbound/Moto's official website

Lying close to the Scottish border is a pair of old services, now mostly providing snacks.


Catering: Burger King, Costa, West Cornwall Pasty Co, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme, Greggs (northbound only), Eat & Drink Co. (southbound only, mornings only) Shops: M&S Simply Food, WHSmith, Top Gift (southbound only) Main Amenities: Ecotricity electric vehicle charging point, Lucky Coin, Showers, Changing Places (northbound only) Motel: Travelodgebook Forecourt: BP, Shop, Costa Express, Air1 AdBlue, Greggs (northbound only)

Parking Prices

First two hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £15 and HGVs, caravans and motorhomes £22. HGVs can pay £23.50 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.

Last updated February 2018.

Trivia and History

Southwaite tourist information centre.
The old tourist information centre.

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.

Early History

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.

Former Plans

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.

Survey Results

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 Outdated surveys have been included for interest only.

In Spring 2017, Transport Focus calculated a 93% satisfaction score for the northbound services and 84% for the southbound services.

In 2015, VisitEngland gave the northbound services 4 stars, and southbound 3.

In May 2012 and August 2011, VisitEngland rated the services as 3 stars.

In 2006, the services were rated at 4/5 by Holiday Which?

Also in 2006 the services won a four star loo award. In 2005 it was five stars.

In 1991, a Which? survey rated the services as "average".

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".


Tebay (37 miles)
Scotch Corner (A66, 61 miles)
Services on the M6 Todhills (13 miles)
Gretna Green (A74(M), 19 miles)
Burton-in-Kendal (M6 northbound, 48 miles)
Lancaster (64 miles)
Scotch Corner (A66, 61 miles)
Moto services Todhills (13 miles)

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