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Cartgate picnic area


A303 at Cartgate Roundabout
(also accessible to traffic on the A3088)

Signposted from the road? As a tourist attraction


TA14 6RA

map and directions


Single site located at a junction.


Technically this is only a picnic area, but it is officially endorsed in the sense that it's designed and run directly by England's National Highway Authority. It used to offer just parking for a number of vehicles with a wooded picnic area in the centre, but a café and a daytime-only toilet block were later added.

This picnic area shouldn't be confused with the official service area at Cartgate Garage, barely a mile to the west.


Catering: Cartgate Lodge Café Amenities: Toilets Outdoor Space: Large wooded picnic area with plenty of grass space

Parking Prices

Short stay free parking is available for all vehicles.

No overnight parking is available.

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

Contact Details

🏢 Address:
Cartgate Picnic Centre
TA14 6RA

Trivia and History

Tourist Information Centre
The former South Somerset Tourist Information Centre, pictured in 2023.

When the A3088 was built in the 1980s, a roundabout was built at Cartgate which included an additional exit for some-sort of facility. Eventually the Highways Agency built this picnic area there, which makes up for the lack of parking spaces at existing service areas along the A303. It opened around the time that the A303 was upgraded to a dual carriageway in the 1990s.

The Highways Agency (now called National Highways) tended to avoid building places like this because it has little in common with their biggest responsibility that is maintaining motorways. A tourist information centre was added to the site in 2002, operated by South Somerset District Council.

Catering facilities were originally provided in a portable building but this was replaced in 2011 with a log cabin, which gave what was then called Highways England a reliable on-the-ground contact. These catering facilities are now the only parts of the land that National Highways don't own.

While the picnic area is now officially treated like a 'tourist attraction' for regulatory and signage purposes, there is still a pair of A-road green service area-style signs at the entrance. They are almost lost to the trees, and as of 2023 still carry the old Highways Agency logo.

Visit South Somerset's Tourist Information Centre closed in April 2024 after Somerset Council declared a financial emergency in November 2023 and cut funding for the operation of the centre.

There have been several plans to turn the site into a full service area, including a proposal from Margram in 1989 which included a restaurant and hotel in this area, but the address points to a lane to the north. By 2003 this proposal had become one for a BP Truckstop, which would have been positioned next to the picnic area and accessed from it.


Townsend (eastbound, 1 mile)
Podimore (5 miles)
Services on the A303Cartgate Garage (westbound, ½ mile)
Ilminster (10 miles)

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