Motorway Services Online

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Cardiff Gate services

(Gwasanaethau Porth Caerdydd)


M4 at J30
(also accessible to traffic on the A4232)

Signposted from the road.


CF23 8RA

map and directions


Single site located at a junction.

Rating: See the reviews

Cardiff Gate exists to serve the business park it is part of more than anything else. Since it was acquired by Welcome Break, it has become a full service area.


Catering: Burger King, KFC Drive Thru, Starbucks, Krispy Kreme, Starbucks on the Go Shops: Waitrose & Partners, WHSmith Amenities: ibis, Game Zone, Showers Outdoor Space: Grass verge is largest to left of main building; public footpath connections Charging Points: Applegreen Electric 150kW CCS & 100kW CHAdeMO; GRIDSERVE Electric Highway 50kW CCS, 50kW CHAdeMO & 22kW Type 2; Ista 22kW Type 2 Forecourt: Welcome Break, The Good Bakery, Rollover, Starbucks on the Go

Parking Prices

First 2 hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £15 for a further 24 hours and HGVs, caravans and coaches must pay £28 (or £30 to include a £12 meal voucher).

Prices can be paid in the shop, with instructions in each car park. They are strictly enforced by ParkingEye.

The ibis hotel car park is strictly for hotel guests and permit holders only and entry is barrier controlled. Hotel guests are required to provide their vehicle registration number to the hotel reception in order to gain free parking during their stay. These restrictions are strictly enforced by Civil Enforcement Ltd.

This information is provided to us by third parties. You should always check with staff on site.

Contact Details

🏢 Address:
Welcome Break Services
Malthouse Avenue
Cardiff Gate Business Park
South Glamorgan
CF23 8RA

Trivia and History

Cardiff Gate building 2000.jpg
The service area with Little Chef branding, pictured in 2000.

Camera icon

Services opened 2000
Acquired by Cardiff Gate 2002
Sold to Welcome Break 2007

Welsh motorway service areas have always been put forward by the private sector, in theory allowing for more diversity. Cardiff Gate started out exactly like that, even if now it looks like any other service area.

Being part of a business park, it has always had a steady trade of commuters, but with a risk that this could head elsewhere. A Costa and Greggs are now set to open in an unrelated rival development on the opposite side of the road.


See also: M4 Planning Applications

Cardiff Gate services was first applied for in 1988 by a developer called Heron Homes, tied in to the construction of the A4232 and a new employment area. It was then applied for again in 1991, 1992, 1995 (by Brunswick IDL), by them again in 1998, and finally in 1999.

Brunswick's proposal was not connected with the neighbouring business park which opened around the same time, but once it was built, Fletcher Morgan's literature boasted that the adjacent business park and retail park would offer extra trade. As the building was being marketed independently of the main operators, a whole "Cardiff Gate motorway services" logo was drawn up.

It was a 10 acre development with 180 car parking spaces including 15 disabled spaces, 35 HGV spaces and 5 caravan spaces.

The forecourt opened in mid-2000, branded Elf. The main building opened in November 2000, with Granada taking up most of the units. By this stage, the Elf forecourt had already been re-branded Total.

The amenity building had a shell-shape, with a Little Chef on the front-left, followed by a Burger King, and then a spare unit. On the right was a Granada-branded shop, followed by a games arcade, and then the toilet block. The third part of the project saw an IBIS Hotel open to the north of the car park.

Brunswick went into receivership in 2002. The land was then purchased by the business park, who intended to lease out more units to allow the service area to cater for people working nearby as well as motorway users. One of these to open was a takeaway restaurant called Todiís, while Little Chef later added a Coffee Tempo! to their restaurant.

The Little Chef closed in January 2007 following that brand's financial problems.

Welcome Break Era

In July 2007 Welcome Break bought the lease on the main building for £650,000. The move was part of a series of gestures aimed at making the Welcome Break name about more than just long-distance motorway users; in this case they wanted to appeal to the nearby business park.

Welcome Break's brands soon filled the different units: the Little Chef became Eat In and Coffee Primo, the Burger King was largely unchanged, the arcade became WHSmith and the shop became Waitrose. The Eat In restaurant and Coffee Primo both became Starbucks in May 2010. This made it one of the first service areas in the country not to have a full restaurant. A service road next to the building was then utilised to create their first KFC drive thru.

When Total closed all their UK sites in 2012, the lease on the forecourt was sold to Rontec. They sold it to Shell, but unlike all the other Shells that are next door to a Welcome Break, this one was still operated directly by Shell and let on a 25 year lease. Welcome Break purchased the lease in late 2016, but they still don't manage the hotel.

In October 2020 it was announced that Cardiff Gate Business Park's owners Sir Robert McAlpine Enterprises had sold the service area land to Newcore Capital Management for £10,000,000. The site has an annual passing rent of £515,023.

Eight Applegreen Electric chargers were installed here in October 2023.


Magor (16 miles)Services on the M4Cardiff West (8 miles)
Membury (77 miles)
Michaelwood (M5 north, 32 miles)
Gordano (M5 south, 26 miles)
Welcome Break servicesSarn Park (22 miles)

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