Motorway Services Online

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Leicester Forest East services


M1 between J21 and J21A

Signposted from the road.



map and directions


Single site built upon the motorway.

Rating: See the reviews

An old and crowded service area with all the restaurants on the bridge, packed in between two junctions. Its age is hidden by the many face-lifts it has received. It forms a gateway to The National Forest.


Catering: Burger King, Chopstix Noodle Bar, Harry Ramsden's, KFC, Starbucks, Subway, The Good Breakfast, Krispy Kreme, Starbucks on the Go, Starbucks Drive Thru Shops: Top Gift, Waitrose & Partners, WHSmith Main Amenities: Game Zone, Showers Hotel: Days Innbook Charging Points: GRIDSERVE Electric Highway 50kW CCS, 50kW CHAdeMO & 22kW Type 2 Forecourt: Welcome Break Fuel, The Good Bakery, Chicago Town Pizza, f'real Milkshakes, Rollover, Starbucks on the Go, Air1 AdBlue

Parking Prices

First 2 hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £15 and HGVs, caravans and coaches must pay £29 (or £31 to include a £10 meal voucher).

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

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

Contact Details

🏢 Address:
Welcome Break
Leicester Forest East Motorway Services Area
Hinckley Road
Leicester Forest East

  • 📞 Telephone number: 0116 238 6801
  • 🗺 Grid reference: SK538026

Trivia and Design

Leicester Forest East bridge.
A view of the iconic bridge.

The local press described the services as "Leicestershire's best known landmark".

During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, additional restrictions were placed on activity in Leicester. The official boundary for this was the M1. This meant that half of the service station building was in the boundary, and half of it wasn't. In practice motorway service areas were exempt from most COVID-19 restrictions, but some of the finer details did matter.

In 2009 the service area received media attention after the adjacent hotel was used as overflow digs by Leicester University. On Christmas Eve in 1997, Arthur Smith broadcast his evening Radio 4 show live from the services.

On 1 May 2017, the filling stations were handed over to Welcome Break by previous operator BP Express. They were re-branded to Shell, and rebranded again to Welcome Break fuel in May 2022.

The mouthful of a name that is 'Leicester Forest East' causes some confusion. It is not actually named directly after the city of Leicester, but a suburb explicitly called 'Leicester Forest East'. This was itself named after the former Leicester Forest, and there is a corresponding area further from the M1 which is known as 'Leicester Forest West'.

There is a National Highways works depot by the northbound exit, as with many old service areas.

Tesla Superchargers are due to be installed here soon.

Bridge Design and Ross Foods

See also: History:Leicester Forest East

During the early days of the services, you would have been able to walk along the promenade and terrace alongside the bridge, but these have both closed due to health and safety regulations. At the time it was built the idea of building the services around a bridge was falling out of favour with the government and they weren't too pleased with the plans, but Ross were welcomed to the network in the hope the new name would bring some variety to the motorway.

View the Leicester Forest East restaurant menu (June 1977)


The service area is positioned in a relatively dangerous position, with busy junctions either side. The M1 is already four lanes with no hard shoulder through the services. The Highways Agency wanted to widen the M1 here yet again and they want to expand J21, both of which would require the services to be closed as its position would become too dangerous. This was due to happen in 2010, but was then put back to 2017 before being postponed indefinitely.

In September 2017, it was reported that the service area was a barrier preventing any plans to upgrade the M1, and that the option of moving it to another site had been considered.


Rugby Truckstop (22 miles)
Watford Gap (22 miles)
Warwick (M40 south, 39 miles)
Rugby (M6, 9 miles)
Rothwell Truckstop (A14, 32 miles)
Rothwell (A14 eastbound, 33 miles)
Kettering (A14, 37 miles)
Services on the M1Donington (16 miles)
Leicester (A46, 7 miles)
Newport Pagnell (45 miles)
Warwick (M40 south, 39 miles)
Corley (M6 west, 26 miles)
Rothwell Truckstop (A14, 33 miles)
Welcome Break servicesWoodall (56 miles)
Derby South (A50 west, 21 miles)

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