The M20's main service station sits in the middle of the Garden of England.
Catering: Chozen Noodle, Costa Coffee, The Garden Square Deli, McDonald's Drive Thru, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme, Costa Drive Thru Shops: WHSmith Amenities: Days Inn, Changing Places, Jackpot £500, Showers Outdoor Space: Small grass area to the side of building Charging Points: GRIDSERVE Electric Highway 50kW CCS, 50kW CHAdeMO & 22kW Type 2; IONITY 350kW CCS Forecourt: Esso, Londis, Costa Express, Dunkin' Donuts, Flatstone Pizza, f'real Milkshakes, Rollover, West Cornwall Pasty Co.
First 2 hours free for all vehicles, after which cars must pay £20 and HGVs, caravans and coaches £35, or £38 to include a £10 food voucher.
Prices are paid using NexusPay or in the shop. The location code is 2062.
The fees are strictly enforced by GroupNexus.
Parking and use of the forecourt is also limited to 30 minutes maximum stay for all vehicles and is strictly enforced by Euro Car Parks.
This information is provided to us by third parties. You should always check with staff on site.
Roadchef Motorways Ltd
Trivia and Design
For some time, Maidstone was the only service area on the M20. The entrance to the service area crosses the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, which was constructed around the same time.
The service area is encompassed by Operation Brock. When there are delays at the Channel Ports, the J8 eastbound on-slip is closed, which means traffic heading towards the coast can leave at Maidstone services, but it cannot rejoin. To rejoin, traffic needs to head back to J7 and turn around, which is a significant detour. This new traffic system was trialled in March 2019, first introduced in October 2019, and has been used again on many occasions since then.
The other odd thing about Maidstone's location is that it's positioned at a junction, but it's still accessible by motorway only, because the exit for Maidstone happens to also be the start of Kent's first motorway.
See also: M20 Service Area Planning
As far back as 1962, there were plans for a large service area at Detling, near M20 J7. This was going to be the M20's main service station.
In 1974 attention turned towards Silverhill (later known as Hollingbourne), which Kent County Council preferred because it would be positioned at a junction, and therefore less environmentally damaging.
Throughout the 1980s, with plans still ongoing, Esso raised an interest in the land. They proposed three different possible layouts all positioned at M20 J8 (known to them as Woodcut Farm).
In June 1986 the Department of Transport confirmed their "M20 policy", which stated that they would be building a service area at Hollingbourne, and developers would be invited to bid for it. A public inquiry took place in 1988 where Esso's three proposals, as well as their objection to the Department of Transport leading the scheme, were all thrown out. The inspector considered building at Allington Quarry at M20 J5, but concluded it would be too expensive to build.
With the Department of Transport looking to save time and money, having won the case, they later decided to award the contract directly to Esso under a new private initiative scheme, on the basis that Esso had demonstrated an interest in the land. Progress was delayed by the fallout from the High Court case over Clacket Lane, which criticised the Department's procedures, and concerns about the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.
Most of the design work for Hollingbourne (eventually opened as "Maidstone services") was all completed in Esso's name. They chose to partner with Roadchef to operate most of the site, who opened it in March 1997. It was arranged with a long foyer, typical of Roadchefs at the time, with one side having a restaurant seating 280 and a coffee stand, and on the other side was Wimpy, a tourist information unit, a shop, and then the toilets.
Esso continued to run the petrol station, until they sold it to MRH, now MFG.
In 2015, a significant extension was planned which would have seen a new SPAR store added to the front of the building, and the layout changed to have the passageway snake through the middle of the dining area as with other Roadchef service areas, but this was scrapped.
In June 2018, the service area trialled a Costa machine which offered 5p vouchers in return for coffee cups and plastic bottles, as part of an initiative to reduce litter in the area.
MFG refurbished the forecourt in autumn 2019. This included the shop rebranding to Londis and the introduction of a number of grab and go options. Four IONITY electric vehicle charging points were also installed.
Work commenced on adding drive thru windows to the McDonald's restaurant in late 2022, with the main car park being reconfigured so that the drive-thru lane runs in front of the main building. The new drive thru opened with a soft launch on 31 January 2023, with the main building also gaining a new entrance and main walkway from the car park.
|Clacket Lane (M25 west, 27 miles)
Thurrock (M25 north, 31 miles)
Shooters Hill (A2 west, 36 miles)
|Services on the M20
|Folkestone (23 miles)
|Clacket Lane (M25 west, 27 miles)
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