The upgraded A14 has its own large service area that was already built and raring to go.
Catering: Chopstix Noodle Bar, Costa Coffee, El Mexicana, Fresh, KFC, McDonald's, PizzaLuxe, West Cornwall Pasty Co., Costa Express, Krispy Kreme Shops: M&S Simply Food, Top Gift, WHSmith Amenities: Changing Places, Ramada, Multi Faith Room, Quicksilver, Showers Outdoor Space: Limited grass space; Children's Play Area; Picnic Area Charging Points: GRIDSERVE Electric Highway 50kW CCS, 50kW CHAdeMO & 22kW Type 2; IONITY 350kW CCS Forecourt: Shell, Select, Deli by Shell, Costa Express, Car Wash, Free Cash Machine
First 3 hours free for all vehicles, after which charges apply:
Up to 4 hours (including free period): £10. Up to 6 hours: £22. Up to 8 hours: £30. Up to 15 hours: £33. Up to 24 hours: £38. Up to 48 hours: £66. Up to 72 hours: £100. Each additional 24 hours or part: £35. Trailer swaps: £15. No return within the remaining 24 hour period.
Prices are paid at the parking machines in the car park and food court, and can be paid with GBP, EUR, fuel cards or SNAP.
This information is provided to us by third parties. You should always check with staff on site.
Trivia and History
Cambridge services is positioned extremely close to the Meridian line, which crosses the A14 by the eastern slip roads. It's the only current service area to have that unusual distinction.
The service area opened on 1 December 2000 and became the biggest and busiest of Extra's first three developments. They said that most of the units would become conference facilities and they would not use franchises. Strictly speaking they haven't used their own franchises, but they've leased units out to other firms who have them.
Significant changes to the parking layout were made from 2021, aiming to increase capacity and reduce the number of HGVs parking on access roads. This was set to involve creating a lengthy new exit for HGVs, but that aspect of the plan was dropped. During these works, the amenity building was also refurbished including upgrades to the toilets and showers as well as a new children's play area and a new multi faith room.
The project finished in 2023 with attention paid to the landscaping and soft drainage around the site entrance, making the most of the limited space available.
Shell were granted permission to build six IONITY electric vehicle charging bays next to their forecourt in April 2021. These would be in addition to the six already available in the main car park.
Early facilities included a McColl's newsagent, Entrempts restaurant, Malongo Café, Délifrance, a Sleep Inn hotel and a Texaco filling station with a Somerfield store. The filling station was sold and rebranded to Shell in 2008, whilst the hotel traded as Purple Hotel, before being sold to Welcome Break and reopening as a Days Inn. It was then refurbished to become a Ramada in July 2015.
The site has been the host to a number of trials over the years including a Ben & Jerry's kiosk. More recently, Ed's Easy Diner and a Wafflemeister kiosk were both trialled her], but both these units closed in 2019. Wafflemeister was replaced by Sweet Barrels in late 2019. This itself closed in March 2020 following the coronavirus lockdown.
A Warrens Bakery unit operated by SSP opened here in February 2020 occupying their former Patisserie Valerie unit, and PizzaLuxe opened a restaurant here in March 2022, utilising the former Ed's Easy Diner unit. As well as serving breakfast, it includes a made-to-order cocktail menu and full-service bar. SSP later closed the Warren's unit in February 2023, owing to poor trade.
The Regus Express meeting room permanently closed following the coronavirus lockdowns in 2020.
Plan and Motorway Confusion
See also: A14 Planning Applications
Concerns were raised in the late 1980s about HGV drivers struggling to find places to park, and sometimes behaving inappropriately, in this area. This problem was set to become worse with a plan to upgrade the A14 here.
After ruling out building at Bar Hill, in 1991 Texaco received permission to build a new service area here. It would have been a much smaller site set far back from the roundabout, but still with a separate amenity building, likely to be leased to another operator. A 100m development-free zone was established next to the service area to leave room for the planned A14 upgrade.
Amid confusion about when the A14 was going to be upgraded, whether it would be a motorway or whether it wouldn't happen at all, Texaco didn't go ahead with their plan. In 1996 it looked like the road wasn't going to be upgraded at all, so Extra came up with a plan similar to what was eventually built. The 100m development-free zone continued to be respected. There were a number of concerns that the development would be inappropriate in this area, but planning permission was still granted. It was renewed with a new proposal in 1999.
Cambridge service area was built very close to Lolworth services, which was regarded as being fine for cars but too small for HGVs. The presence of Cambridge as a large competitor caused Lolworth to scale right back, and eventually close.
Even More Confusion
When Cambridge services opened, blue signs were mistakenly used, instead of the correct (at the time) green signs. The incorrect signage implied that Cambridge was a motorway service area, when there was no motorway for it to serve. Some listings referred to it being at the end of the M11.
Work started on a new project to upgrade the A14, utilising the protected empty zone, in 2016. The new road has a larger junction at Swavesey, marginally increasing the journey time between the road and the service area. In 2018, it was announced that Highways England intended to open the new road as a motorway. Cambridge committed to meeting the standards required of an MSA, and blue motorway signs for "Cambridge services" were drawn up.
The plan to open the upgraded road as a motorway was dropped in October 2019, meaning Cambridge services would continue as it had as a regular A-road service area.
Despite that, in April 2020 Cambridge managed to be the only A-road service area included on Highways England's short-lived live updates on motorway service areas. It seems Cambridge's efforts to sneak itself into the motorway classification are never going to end.
|Fenstanton (A1307 eastbound, 3 miles)|
Brampton Hut (12 miles)
Peterborough (A1(M) north, 28 miles)
|Services on the A14||Newmarket (19 miles)|
Birchanger Green (M11, 32 miles)
|Peterborough (A1(M) north, 28 miles)||Extra services||none|
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