Motorway Services Online

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London Gateway services


M1 between J2 and J4

Signposted from the road.



map and directions


Single site located between junctions with access to both sides.

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This is the motorway service area in North London. For a service area near London Gateway Port, see Orsett.

It's sometimes forgotten that London Gateway is the first service area on the M1. The 'gateway' offers a hotel, coach interchange and a final coffee stop before London.


Catering: Burger King, Starbucks, Subway, Krispy Kreme, Starbucks on the Go Shops: Waitrose & Partners, WHSmith Amenities: Ramada, Game Zone, Meeting Room, Showers Outdoor Space: Grass area next to main building Charging Points: GRIDSERVE Electric Highway 50kW CCS, 50kW CHAdeMO & 22kW Type 2 Forecourt: Welcome Break, The Good Bakery, Rollover, Starbucks on the Go, LPG (Calor)

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 £32 (or £35 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.

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

Contact Details

🏢 Address:
Welcome Break
London Gateway Service Area
M 1 Motorway

Trivia and Design

Scratchwood Motor Chef.
The service area with Motor Chef branding, pictured in 1976.

See also: History:London Gateway

The service area has a strange knot of slip roads at its entrance, owing to its unusual history, with sharp bends which can take an unprepared motorist by surprise.

11 miles away, the guns at HMS Belfast are positioned to fire at London Gateway services, to demonstrate the ship's maximum practical reach. When the ship was moored in 1971 the service area chosen as a target in the hope that the quirky decision would prove interesting for years to come. There is even a plaque on the ship confirming the target.

The large, 31-bay coach interchange, with is own entrance to the building, is an unusual feature at a service area. It was used by Shearings for a long while and allowed them to run routes across the country without them needing to waste time picking up in Central London. The interchange is now used by Corbel Coaches.

Welcome Break have held planning permission to build a Starbucks Drive Thru at the front of the main car park adjacent to the main amenity building since July 2018. 32 Tesla Superchargers were also granted planning permission in June 2018, which were due to be installed alongside the Starbucks Drive Thru, but this has since been scaled back to 12 Tesla Superchargers alongside 24 Applegreen Charging chargers in 2023.

Replacement Building

HMS Belfast may be needed, because Welcome Break are now investigating the possibility of demolishing the service area building, and providing a brand new one in a different position. As well as allowing them to replace the 50 year-old building with something easier to maintain and more in keeping with modern demands like drive thrus and takeaways, the replacement would also allow them to rationalise the external area, which is currently spread out to suit high levels of HGVs and wealthy drivers who never really materialised.

The suggestion is that by using the space more efficiently, spare land could be sold for other uses, such as warehouses and offices. Historically motorway service areas couldn't take advantage of their motorway access like that, but new planning regulations are much more relaxed about this, and the land is especially valuable here, seeing as it's an urban area with good access to central London.

As this would be a Welcome Break project rather than part of any bigger picture, any reconstruction is unlikely to affect the tortuous motorway connection; the industrial units are likely to stay; and there will be no new railway connection, no matter how tempting it may sound in theory. The hotel would also remain.

The proposal is only a concept, and any work wouldn't happen for a long time.


noneServices on the M1Toddington (26 miles)
South Mimms (M25 east, 17 miles)
Beaconsfield (M40 north, 25 miles)
Breakspear Way (A414 west, 13 miles)
noneWelcome Break servicesNewport Pagnell (39 miles)
South Mimms (M25 east, 17 miles)
Oxford (M40 north, 51 miles)

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