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Motorway services are still open for snacks, fuel and toilets - more details.


Killington Lake services

Location:

M6 southbound between J36 and J37

Signposted from the road.

Postcode:

LA8 0NW

map and directions

Access/Layout:

Single site located between junctions on one side of the motorway.

Rating: See the reviews



Killington Lake takes its name from Killington Reservoir, and on the right day this offers a view which could more than make up for any complaint you may have about your journey. Northbound traffic should use Moto's Burton-in-Kendal.

Facilities

Catering: Costa, McDonald's, The Phat Pasty Co., Costa Express, Krispy Kreme Shops: WHSmith Main Amenities: Jackpot £500, Showers, Randox Health Covid-19 Test Dropbox Hotel: Days Innbook Charging Points: GRIDSERVE Electric Highway 50kW CCS & CHAdeMO Forecourt: BP, Shop, Wild Bean Café, Air1 AdBlue

Parking Prices

First 2 hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £13 and HGVs, caravans and coaches £24, or £26 to include a £10 food voucher.

Prices are paid using PayByPhone or in the shop. The location code is 5276.

The fees are strictly enforced by GroupNexus.

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

Contact Details

🏢 Address:
Road Chef Motorways Ltd
M6
Killington
Kendal
Cumbria
LA8 0NW

🌍 Operators (Official Websites):


Trivia and History

Killington Lake 1971.jpg
The forecourt upon opening, with the original building just visible behind the shelter.

Camera icon

Services opened 1972
Building re-built 1985

A study in 1994 concluded that the M6 here was the quietest motorway in England to have a motorway service area. Even today, it is much calmer than many other English motorway service areas.

Planning

Killington Lake view.
The view from the back of the service area.

See also: M6 Service Area Planning

When the M6 was built through Cumbria, the Ministry of Transport were working on the principle that placing service stations in places with good views would get more people to stop. For this reason, services were proposed at Tebay northbound and Killington Lake southbound: two smaller services would have been more popular with the struggling operators than one large one.

Despite this, the initial tender process received no bids at all. As a trial the new tender only required one brand of fuel to be sold, and allowed the service area to be developed in two stages, under a 21-year lease. BP were the only firm to reply, and they won the contract. At the time BP had a joint marketing venture with Shell-Mex, who were sometimes credited as the operator. The two partnered with the brand-new Roadchef to provide the catering.

During planning, the service area was only called 'Killington'. A separate plan to extend the reservoir here looked set to block the services proposal, but eventually the two went alongside and Killington Lake gained its distinctive facility. The service area is separated from the motorway by a man-made cutting, the land for which presumably came from the reservoir.

In the 1970s and 1980s, documents referred to a new service area being held in reserve on the M6 at Hutton and Eskrigg. Both of these names take us to places near to Killington Reservoir, which suggests that this was a plan to build a northbound service area here.

Building and Site Design

To take advantage of the views the service area offers, this became one of the first sites where the amenity building was built as far away from the motorway as possible - something which is now similar to the standard practice. The amenity building itself was originally built out of local stone, but it was far too small. It had large windows and had Alpine décor, with a café themed around a mountain hut. An open section of the restaurant was reserved for a future picnic area, which "took full advantage of the site".

The opening documents were signed on 30 March 1972, after the motorway had already opened. Howard V Lobb & Partners designed a small building which was positioned close to the forecourt (near where the hotel is today), overlooking the lake, with a walkway back to the car park.

Egon Ronay rated the building as "poor" in his 1977 visit. He said it was pleasant to sit in, but "really very small", "painfully inadequate", "cramped", and its menu suffered from "such a lack of imagination". A 1978 government review described the services as "cheap, small and scruffy".

The plan had always been that a second phase would open in 1978. It was decided this would be built under a renegotiated tender, but plans for another southbound service area at Tebay caused the Killington expansion to be postponed.

Eventually a new building opened in 1985, and this one was more in keeping with Roadchef's usual architecture, but adapted with large windows at the back to take advantage of the view. It was still relatively small, with a shop at the front-left, toilets at the front-right, and a single cafeteria at the back. The old building was demolished.

In 1986, Which? magazine describe it as "the most attractive" service area, calling it "spotless" and "relaxing". The food was still criticised.

The hotel was built in around 1994, and a tourist information centre was converted from a workshop in 1997.

Refurbishment

Despite several rearrangements, the quiet Killington has so far escaped any major refurbishments since its reconstruction.

In March 2014, Restbite and The Burger Company were merged to create McDonald's. This and the adjacent Costa now make up the entirety of the food options at this service area.

The filling station here was refurbished in summer 2018.

In June 2019, Roadchef were granted planning permission to significantly expand the amenity building in all directions. A new front lobby would lead past two new retail stores (most likely including SPAR), as well as WHSmith and the game arcade. Costa would be moved to create a larger seating area, with large windows overlooking the reservoir.

Sebastiano'swebsite intend to add one of their catering trailers to the car park here in March 2022.

Alternatives

Previous:Next:
Burton-in-Kendal (M6 northbound, 13 miles)
Carnforth truckstop (15 miles)
Lancaster (26 miles)
Services on the M6Tebay (11 miles)
none nearbyRoadchef servicesnone nearby

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