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, Costa Express, Krispy Kreme, Costa Drive Thru Shops: WHSmith Amenities: Days Inn, Children's Play Area, 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, Boston's Bakery, Chicago Town Pizza, Costa Express, Fizzee Snowshock, 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.
This information is provided to us by third parties. You should always check with staff on site.
Roadchef Motorways Ltd
- 📞 Telephone number: 01622 631100
- 🗺 Grid reference: TQ825551
- 📌 what3words: ///newsprint.folks.liability
🌍 Operators & Official Websites:
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.
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. Esso continued to run the petrol station, until they sold it to MRH, now MFG.
The main building takes a 'corridor' layout typical of Roadchef's 1990s services, with a dedicated restaurant area (seating 280; now Costa and Chozen Noodle) along the south side.
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 services set up a trial Costa machine which offers 5p vouchers in return for coffee cups and plastic bottles, as part of an initiative to reduce litter in the area.
In autumn 2019, MFG refurbished the forecourt. 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 has started to add drive thru windows to the McDonald's restaurant, so that it can be accessed from the car park. The new drive thru lane will open in January 2023.
|Clacket Lane (M25 west, 27 miles)|
Thurrock (M25 north, 31 miles)
Sun in the Sands (A2 west, 36 miles)
|Services on the M20||Folkestone (23 miles)|
|Clacket Lane (M25 west, 27 miles)||Roadchef services||none|
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