Nothing can make or break a long-distance journey like a service station. It’s the one place out on the road where most people go to refuel, recharge and resupply snacks and beverages to aid you in getting to your destination. When a service station is clean, tidy and affordable it can really lift your spirits. However, if it’s dirty, messy and pricey it can put a real downer on the journey.
Here at Hippo Leasing, we have analysed a total of 12,738 reviews from 110 of the UK’s official service stations to reveal which of them are the cleanest, dirtiest, cheapest and priciest, based on how many times certain keywords are mentioned within the individual reviews.
The UK’s Top Three Cleanest Service Stations
- Lymm Motorway Services ranked as the cleanest in the country
According to our data, we can see that the Motorway Services in Lymm ranked as the cleanest and tidiest service station in the UK. Lymm services, found on the M6 near Manchester, had 243% of reviews containing cleanliness-based keywords, meaning most of their reviews received two or more positive mentions of the service station being “clean”, “neat”, “pleasant” and “tidy” etc.
Reviews for Lymm say it’s “Refreshingly better than a normal services”, and that it is “clean and tidy” with customers feeling like they were “well looked after”.
- Rugby MOTO revealed as second cleanest in the UK
Another M6 service station, Rugby MOTO, also has a high percentage of 233%. Rugby was “Very clean and well organised” according to one visitor, with another noting how “Clean and Modern” it was. In fact, out of 15 reviews, 11 of them mentioned the word “clean”.
- Oxford’s Welcome Break takes third
Oxford’s Welcome Break service station rounded out the top three and was the last of the 200+% club with 206% of reviews mentioning positive keywords, with drivers visiting the M40 station mentioning that the service station was “Pleasant and clean” and “Clean and tidy”, with one visitor going as far as to say it was “Attractive” and that it had a “nice ambience”.
The UK’s Top Three Dirtiest Service Stations
- Hopwood Park has the most negative reviews making it the UK’s dirtiest service station
At the other end of the spectrum, it turns out that the dirtiest service station is the Welcome Break in Hopwood Park. When looking at the reviews, Hopwood Park accumulated the most references to words such as “dirty”, “disgusting”, “filthy”, “grim”, “litter”, etc, per review. In fact, these words were referenced 140% of the time, meaning some of the reviews referenced how dirty the service station was more than once. One reviewer left a particularly strong comment: “Disgusting, filthy rat hole.” Another said: “Disgusting. Filthy.” and “Only outdoor toilets available.”
- Thurrock MOTO is the second dirtiest UK service station
In second place, and with 98% of reviews referencing filth-related keywords, is Thurrock MOTO, which is on the M25 between Junction 30 and 31 near Purfleet. According to the data, Thurrock reviews had a large number of “litter” mentions, with one driver saying: “Litter, old food and rats (were) everywhere”. Another unhappy customer found that “rubbish bins were overflowing” and the ground was “full of cigarette ends”.
- In third place is Barton Park MOTO
On the A1, Junction 56, near Richmond is where you’ll find the third filthiest service station, MOTO Barton Park. Nine in ten (86%) Barton Park reviews mention keywords relating to dirt and filth, including one quite damning review: “the toilets are disgraceful, filthy, would not (let) a child use them at all!
The UK’s Top Three Cheapest Service Stations
- MOTO Barton Park hailed as the cheapest by drivers
We also wanted to look at which service stations around the country were the cheapest/most affordable. The first notable result was that the MOTO at Barton Park, which ranked as the third dirtiest/messiest service station in the country, comes out top for being the most affordable, with 29% of reviews mentioning that the service station was either “Affordable” or “Cheap”. Visitors were happy to find “cheap parking” and that the “coffee to take away was excellent and cheap”.
- Carnforth Truck Heaven ranked as the second cheapest in the UK
Barton Park is followed up by Carnforth’s Truck Heaven, just outside Lancaster and Morecambe on the M6. “Affordable“ and “Cheap” were mentioned in 28% of its reviews. Visitors to the Truck Heaven mentioned that the truckstop was “a cheap, great place to stay on a budget!”
- Third place for Ashford truckstop when it comes to cost
Ashford was just behind fellow truckstop Carnforth (17%), with drivers saying the M49 service station was so good that they’d recommend taking others, too: “Food is great tasting and affordable making it a great place to take your friends and family or just pop in to grab brekkie during a hard day’s work.”
The UK’s Top Three Priciest Service Stations
- Killington Lake Roadchef donned the most expensive service station by visitors
As for the priciest service stations in the country, according to our data, that top spot goes to the Roadchef in Killington Lake, with visitors mentioning words such as “Expensive”, “Pricey” and “Rip Off”, etc in 39% of reviews. Drivers have said that the “filling station was expensive” with coffee also on the steep side. One visitor said: “The most expensive Costa ever!”
Killington Lake is also only an 18-mile drive from Carnforth, too, meaning the most expensive service station is only 20 minutes away from one of the cheapest.
- Kinross MOTO takes second prize for most pricey services
Scotland’s Kinross MOTO also received a high mention rate of 32%, with almost a quart mentioning the word “expensive”. People passing through Kinross weren’t happy with fuel prices, one saying: “RIP OFF, Fuel prices probably the highest anywhere”, with the coffee also being “way too pricey”.
- Scotland has two pricey service stations, with Bothwell in third
The Roadchef in Bothwell was next on the list with 31%, meaning Scotland had two service stations in the top three of pricey service stations. One driver simply left a review saying “Expensive!”, whilst another said they “got a cuppa. Expensive but typical for a motorway services”.
As you can see from some of the results and reviews above, service stations can vary widely when it comes to price and cleanliness. So, before you next venture out on a long-distance trip, make sure to note some of the service stations you’ll likely need to stop at and check the reviews. You could save yourself an unwanted extra sting in the wallet or even just an unpleasant experience. However, plan correctly and you can make your journey a breeze.
Hippo Leasing scraped all the reviews written about the 110 official motorway service stations listed on the MotorwayServices website by utilising a data scraper. By using this tool, we were able to gather over 12,000 reviews.
Once we had all the reviews, we then filtered for 46 keywords relating to cleanliness, dirtiness, cheapness and expensiveness, to find all the service station reviews where those terms were mentioned.
After that, we then ranked the service stations by the number of mentions, divided by the number of reviews, which then gave us a percentage of times certain keywords were used within the reviews.